Opinion

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.

Opinion: Why This Teacher Supports Bill to Improve Teen Mental Health

I have spent the past 30 years of my life as an educator in California, and I know firsthand that California teachers and schools are not currently prepared, staffed, or resourced to respond to California’s growing youth mental health crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted our collective mental wellbeing, whether from dealing with the fear of contracting COVID-19 to its related impacts like home isolation, family job loss, tech challenges, or loss of a loved one.

Analysis: Want a Mostly Normal School Year? Get Kids to Wear Masks!

We made the decision to send our son back to in-person school last year despite his vulnerability to infection because our district came up with a reasonable, safe plan to make it possible: Every student had to wear a mask.

Just as we were gearing up for a mostly safe year back at school, the Clovis Unified school board decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and create unnecessary confusion over which mask policies would be enforced, despite clear state guidance.

Analysis: It’s Time to End the Racially Unjust Medical Debt Crisis

It’s the kind of case attorney Helen Tran deals with all too often. An Asian-American small business owner came into her office at Neighborhood Legal Services in Los Angeles begging for help with a surprise, five-figure medical bill.

The woman had health insurance. Yet, due to a mix-up caused by misinformation from her insurer, she’d received two chemotherapy treatments from an out-of-network provider that she had believed was in network. This simple mistake ended up devastating her financially.

Opinion: Investing in ‘Public Health, Health Equity and Racial Justice’ Is the Key to Pandemic Recovery

Community-based organizations have been a critical anchor in historically marginalized neighborhoods. They work tirelessly on the frontlines with public health departments to get important, timely information out to the community.

Now that the 2021-22 state budget has recently received approval, it’s imperative that Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature understand the importance of investing in public health.

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