Opinion

Small black boy receiving asthma treatment while doctor is vising him at home due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Opinion: California Must Take Action on Chronic Disease Among Children of Color

The upward trend in childhood chronic disease in California is threatening the health of the next generation, and racial disparities in those diseases are stark evidence of the deep impact that racism has on health.

A groundbreaking Senate bill could help the state begin to change course by prioritizing and investing in prevention of childhood chronic illnesses and creating actionable steps for implementation.

Analysis: Why California Should Expand Health Coverage to Undocumented Seniors

While President Barack Obama’s 2010 health reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, greatly expanded insurance access, it excluded undocumented immigrants across the country. This likely contributed to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on undocumented Californians. Health equity and immigrant rights advocates have been urging California leaders to broaden health coverage for nearly a decade.

Two women wearing protective masks walking at crosswalk on 16th Street in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Opinion: COVID-19 Shows Us Why California Must Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis

Long-standing racist policies and practices have determined where and how Californians live, work, receive health care, attend schools and more. For Black Californians, Latinx Californians, and other Californians of color these racist policies block opportunities to be healthy.

When the pandemic started, it became abundantly clear that the virus was disproportionately harming communities of color, who are at increased risk of severe illness due to long-standing inequities.

An illustration of Arlene Campa, founder of Art Hour, with fellow students.

Opinion: Arts Education Is a Student Right, Especially During a Pandemic

Arts education has the power to emotionally and academically rebuild students — and the world around us.

I come from an immigrant community, where people routinely shift between English and Spanish in everyday conversation. As the student ambassador to a statewide organization, Create CA, I’m working to ensure every student has access to a full arts education, as promised by California’s Education Code.

A nurse gives a COVID-19 vaccination at The Forum in Los Angeles in January.

Opinion: After COVID-19, Here’s How We Can Make Sure Everyone Can Heal

We are going to need a “healing surge” that will match our vaccine surge — and health equity must guide how we allocate those resources.

We have learned the lesson in this crisis that public health is critical to our individual health — we all do better when we protect those who are most vulnerable. We also understand that mental health is not just an individual condition but a collective challenge in communities that were already stressed by racist policing, economic inequality and deportation threats.

Sad teenager

Opinion: I’m a Doctor. The Kids I’m Seeing Need to Be Back in School

With the ongoing closures of schools, playgrounds, sports and other extracurriculars, children are missing out on large pieces of their development.

I’m seeing a spike in children with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations in my practice. The current state of children’s mental health is concerning not only for the near future, but also for the long-term effects it may have on this generation and society as a whole.

Analysis: We Can Build an Equitable Health Workforce. Here’s How

California’s leaders must build a diverse and culturally competent health workforce. This starts with making investments in the communities that are most vulnerable and medically underserved.

Policymakers should work to expand health career pipeline programs for underrepresented students. Programs such as Health Career Connection have driven talented students of color into health care and public health careers for years. Full disclosure: I’m an alum.

Dr. Adam Dougherty receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Sutter Medical Center.

Opinion: Vaccines Are Coming. What Can We Do Until Then?

I felt relief as I received my shot. After months of relentless pandemic care on the front line, we have finally received a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19 that will help California return to some normalcy over the coming months.

I trust these vaccines and urge the community to listen to the advice of health experts. When we receive the vaccine, we don’t just do it for ourselves, we do it to protect our loved ones and others who are at higher risk. Getting vaccinated is an act of compassion that will help us to save lives and stop the spread.

Opinion: Communities of Color Are Supposed to Be Getting State Money to Reduce Pollution. Where Is It?

In recent years, CalEPA has more explicitly acknowledged how environmental pollution disproportionately impacts Californians of color. But we are still waiting for decisive action to fix it.

When California passed Senate bill 535 in 2012, it mandated that 25 percent of the proceeds generated from the resulting cap-and-trade program go to projects that benefit communities most impacted by pollution.

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