Op-Ed

Stressed And Overworked Female Doctor Wearing Scrubs Sitting On Floor In Hospital Corridor

Opinion: COVID-19 is Affecting Doctors’ Relationships

In normal times, medical training is challenging and stressful. The amount of time away from loved ones can bring giants to their knees. Add in the fears and uncertainties of a pandemic, I’m amazed that anyone, and any relationships, are surviving.

My heart goes out to the families, such as many of my patients at Harbor-UCLA, who are struggling to make ends meet, while also navigating all of their responsibilities and relationships, during the pandemic.

Denzel Tongue outside of a building that reads "State of California."

Opinion: How Systemic Racism Shows Up in California—And Why We Must End It

Growing up in Oakland, I quickly saw first-hand how racism resigns people of color, and Black Americans in particular, to shorter, sicker lives.

Data shows that African Americans in Alameda County live roughly seven years fewer than the county average.

If we act now, we can radically reshape our society in a positive way. Reducing the impact of and ultimately ending systemic racism has to be at the top of the list.

Black mother embraces little preschool daughter sitting on couch together at home.

Opinion: We Need a Safety Net for Children Experiencing Toxic Stress

COVID-19 is decimating our outdated safety net, and the vital links between families and their local economic, health and social supports.

The pandemic has made “underlying conditions” the new code phrase for the social and health inequities disproportionately impacting black and brown communities.

Shelter-in-place policies are compounding the isolation, stress, misinformation and trauma that are common to many communities of color.

A crowd of people wearing face masks in Los Angeles during COVID-19 face masks in Los Angeles

Opinion: The Pandemic Is Exposing How Fragile My Patients’ Lives Are

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on millions of Californians. This is especially true among low-income families, including my patients at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Most of our families barely get by in the best of times. How will they fare during a viral-induced economic downturn? The pandemic is exposing how fragile their lives are.

Opinion: Society Designed the Systems That Created COVID-19 Inequalities — We Can Redesign Them

Why is COVID-19 disproportionately taking the lives of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and low-income workers?

Community conditions too often undermine health and wellbeing for low-income people and people of color. To achieve a more equitable future, we need to change the policies that unevenly distribute health-promoting resources.

Opinion: Central Valley Residents, We Must Act Now to Save Lives

As chief medical officer of the largest public health plan in the Central Valley, serving 335,000 Medi-Cal patients, I am very worried about our vulnerable members.

We have to act now to flatten the infection curve and save lives, including those of our health care professionals. This is particularly crucial in this part of California. In the Central Valley, we have been battling a severe, long-time shortage of doctors and nurses.

Opinion: As Schools Close, California Must Protect Access to Mental Health Care

There are some steps counties and states can—and should—take now to mitigate the collateral damage of school closures. We must protect the social and emotional health of our children.

Counties run local safety nets, and if they do not act swiftly and agressively, children will suffer.

We predict that social isolation practices and fear will exacerbate mental health conditions and challenges.

Opinion: CalRx Is Not a Magic Bullet—and Must Include Communities of Color

Gov. Gavin Newsom has outlined innovative reforms to curb drug prices, including CalRx, a California-owned, generic drug label.

But CalRx is not a magic bullet. Magic bullets and general solutions often overlook the impacts on communities of color.

If CalRx does not intentionally build a path of access for low-income folks and communities of color, it will just be creating cheaper, but still unattainable, prescription drugs.

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