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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rise in telehealth has tremendous potential to improve the health of those who have historically lacked access to medical care. Those living medically underserved areas can use telehealth to more easily connect to specialists and manage conditions from home.
But this rapid deployment of technology has not fully accounted for the needs of Black and indigenous Californians, or other people of color, including those with limited English proficiency or disabilities.
Due to systemic inequities, children and teens of color are affected more often when it comes to mental health crises, with Latinos ages 10 through 19 representing nearly 40 percent of the total deaths by suicide among Californians in this age range in 2017.
The simple truth is that California does not have a sustainable, long-term plan to support children and teenager’s mental well-being. We cannot continue to cobble together a broken system that perpetuates inequity. Here are some recommendations.