Op-Ed

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.

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.

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.

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.

Opinion: Newsom Plan Responds to Crisis, Supports Vulnerable Youth

While the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our oldest Californians is well known, the pandemic also has caused widespread emotional suffering among California’s children and youth.

Out of this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom has demonstrated visionary leadership in making a historic $4.4 billion investment to transform the state’s behavioral health system for youth.

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