Opinion

Opinion: Online Learning Doesn’t Work for Low-Income Students Like Me. Here’s How We Can Do Better

Our educational system was unequal even before the pandemic. Those inequalities were exacerbated when students transitioned to learning from home.

Black, Latinx and Native American students suffered the most. Not only did they suddenly find themselves isolated from their schools and peers, but their families were disproportionately impacted by job losses, unequal access to health care and vulnerability to COVID-19.

Opinion: California Must Step Up to Address Racism as a Public Health Crisis

In California, 34 jurisdictions have declared racism a public health crisis. Governor Newsom, unfortunately, has failed to do so at the state level, just as he failed to support broader investments supported by the legislature to advance health equity last year.

His inaction seems to be rooted in two issues: failure to prioritize racial equity and conflating investments in health care with investments in prevention and public health.

Analysis: It’s Time for Housing Justice for Our Black Communities

My family’s history is deeply shaped by our nation’s history of discriminatory housing policies.

I’ve written about my grandfather’s story and about how redlining affected my family. But I never fully explored how this legacy continues to impact the housing situation of my family and many others. The legacy of redlining and housing discrimination has exacerbated California’s already devastating housing crisis for the Black community.

Analysis: The Vaccine Is a Health Equity Issue for Kids Like My Son

The COVID vaccine for children is safe and effective, and it’s the best way to protect not only children but also the larger community.

Was I concerned about the risks of the vaccine? No. COVID is a far greater threat to my son, who has to go to the ICU when exposed to the kind of germs that give healthy kids the sniffles. The vaccination also benefits my healthy daughter, who won’t have her schooling interrupted by quarantines.

Opinion: LGBTQ Youth Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis Too

Approximately 9.5 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 living in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ. Even before the pandemic, these kids were 4 times more likely than heterosexual youth to attempt suicide.

Those numbers have risen; LGBTQ youth are now 5 times more likely to attempt self-harm. As a psychiatrist who works extensively with LGBTQ youth, and as someone who identifies as a gay man, I am advocating for this particular group, as I have witnessed their struggles.

Opinion: Governor’s Veto Widens Health Disparities

Even as Governor Newsom’s administration is working to help Californians access care more easily through technology, it is preventing providers from connecting virtually to better meet the needs of Medi-Cal patients.

Gavin Newsom’s veto of SB 365 means doctors serving people insured under Medi-Cal won’t be reimbursed if they consult with a specialist online or over the phone to provide their patients better care.

Analysis: How Schools Can Ensure an Equitable Recovery from COVID

While California has one of the lowest COVID-19 transmission rates in the nation and a high vaccination rate, the reopening of schools has proven rocky.

To better understand how the reopening effort is playing out on the ground, I spoke with educators from Oakland Unified School District and Los Angeles Unified School District — two public-school districts that primarily serve students of color.

Opinion: Federal Legislation Can Advance Oral Health Equity and Racial Justice

High costs, lack of clarity over which benefits are covered and limited providers, especially ones that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, have forced historically excluded communities to delay or completely forgo oral health care.

Delayed care often leads to excruciating pain only a costly emergency room visit can fix, leaving people with thousands of dollars of medical debt.

Opinion: Doctors Are Infrastructure

Report findings predict that by 2034, there will be a shortage of 124,000 doctors, with much of the shortage occurring in the field of primary care.

With COVID-19 exposing immense inequity throughout our health care infrastructure, it is imperative that our lawmakers take action now, not only by thinking about reducing shortages but reducing them in the right way that ensures quality access for all.

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