Opinion

Opinion: What California Must Do for Kids’ Mental Health

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.

My Grandparents’ Redlining Story Shows Why We Must Do Better

I share this part of my grandfather’s story to illustrate the real and lasting impacts of institutional racism: The same policies that cultivated wealth for White people in the United States prohibited the accumulation of wealth for Black people.

Today, as we face the impact of COVID-19 and the racial inequities it is revealing, our leaders have an opportunity to do better. Now is an opportune time to create equitable policies.

African American father gave piggyback ride to his little daughter and having a good time together walking around the neighborhood while wearing mask during social distancing and new normal

Opinion: During a Pandemic, We Can’t Lose This Avenue to Health Equity

How can anyone think about taking away health coverage and critical consumer protections at all, let alone during a pandemic?

California fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, which allowed it to expand Medicaid and create Covered California, our state’s health insurance marketplace. As a result, our uninsured rate fell a whopping 53 percent between 2010 and 2015. Over the last 10 years, we have made tremendous gains in California and across the country. Now is not the time to go backward.

Depressed kid during epidemic quarantine

Analysis: Is the Pandemic an Adverse Childhood Experience?

When I started my pediatric training, I expected to see kids with “typical” complaints, such as asthma attacks, ear infections, lacerations or maybe a COVID-19 case. Instead our emergency department was flooded with children and teens who suffered from anxiety, suicide attempts, and suspected physical or sexual abuse.

At least 10 times a day, the best care for my patients was for them to see a psychiatrist or a social worker.

Opinion: Health and Equity Are On the Ballot With Prop. 15

Health outcomes, including how long people live and their quality of life, are powerfully influenced by community conditions like the availability of parks and open space, high-quality schools, healthy food, affordable housing, and clean air and water. In fact, what happens in the community environment has a greater impact on health than what happens in the doctor’s office.

Prop. 15 would channel a large amount of money into schools and local services that can improve community conditions.

Friendly female doctor stroke head of cute child

Opinion: California, Here’s How to Protect Essential Workers

COVID-19 is exposing a hard truth about our communities: If the low-wage workers cannot obtain decent health care, everyone else is at risk.

That’s because many of the lowest-income Californians hold essential jobs in retail and other services where they regularly interact with the public. The UC Berkeley Labor Center estimates that up to half or more of California’s workers are considered essential. And California’s health care safety net that serves many of these workers will soon become more frayed.

Opinion: As Doctors, We Prescribe Voting For Better Health

We are physicians and leaders of the largest federally qualified community health center in the nation, located in East Los Angeles. The communities we serve are disproportionately experiencing the worst health outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These deaths are unacceptable. We believe it is our duty as health care leaders to educate and inform our patients on the importance of registering to vote, more so in this election than ever.

Opinion: Our Research Shows How to Right the Injustices of COVID-19

We examined health data from New York City and Los Angeles and found troubling patterns. In both cities, Latinx and Black residents were twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white residents, and residents in high-poverty areas had the highest infections and death rates.

Economic recovery will not be possible without an infusion of support to help right the injustices that already vulnerable populations are grappling with under the devastation caused by COVID-19.

Opinion: Methane Leaks in the Central Valley May Be Worsening COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 is now on track to become one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States in 2020. And people with underlying conditions like respiratory diseases are at increased risk for severe illness and death.

This is bad news by any standard, but terrible news if you happen to live in an area such as California’s San Joaquin Valley where the pre-COVID death rate due to chronic lower respiratory disease is 12 times higher than that of the rest of the state.

A mother grocery shops with her child in San Francisco, pre-pandemic. Photo by Kirkikis/iStock.

Opinion: One Thing We All Agree On

If there is one issue most Americans would agree on right now, it’s that we should protect our youngest children from hunger during the Covid-19 crisis. And yet the closure of child care facilities in California and across the country means hundreds of thousands of infants and young children may not be getting the free meals they regularly depend on.

As the pandemic continues, the government needs to take stronger action to ensure that our youngest children aren’t going hungry.

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