Op-Ed

Opinion: It’s Time to Fulfill Our Promise to Teachers, Students and Parents

I recently introduced Senate Bill 387 to help teachers and school-based staff receive training on how to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis.

Although teachers and school-based staff are not trained mental health professionals, they are in a unique position to support youth who need help. By equipping teachers with the training needed to recognize the signs of someone experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge, we’ll help ensure students don’t slip through the cracks.

Opinion: Bill to Strengthen Paid Family Leave is Good Medicine 

Paid Family Leave and State Disability Insurance are supposed to prevent low-income Californians from falling into poverty or homelessness when they need to take time off work.

But the program is largely an empty promise for these patients because the benefits replace only 60 percent of income. Two of my patients are among the many Californians caught in this trap.

Opinion: Most Vulnerable Foster Youth Left Behind in State Budget

At the California Alliance, we hear story after story of foster youth housed in county welfare offices and hotels because there are not enough placements for them in the child welfare system.

It horrifies us to think that these youth, many of whom were abused or severely neglected, are now having to live in unofficial shelters while they wait to be placed with a foster family.

Opinion: We Need More Mental Health Resources to Tackle Childhood Anxiety

In 2013, my son Ram spontaneously developed a condition called selective mutism, a childhood anxiety disorder. After three months of searching, I finally found a therapist familiar with the condition. My husband and I felt so relieved — until we found out she doesn’t take insurance.

It turns out, this scenario is common. Health insurance — whether private or through California’s Medi-Cal program — doesn’t pay what many psychologists request for their services.

Opinion: The Gun Violence That Doesn’t Make the News

I’m a pediatric intern at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a safety-net hospital in Los Angeles County. When I decided to go into pediatrics, I pictured helping children and their families with broken bones, asthma and ear infections, as well as some chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

I never imagined how often I would take care of children trying to heal from the physical and mental trauma of being shot.

Opinion: How the Workforce Shortage Is Affecting Patient Care

COVID-19’s overall effects on unemployment has received a lot of attention. But there hasn’t been enough focus on the devastation of the health care workforce.

More than 3,600 frontline health care workers died in the United States due to COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic. Few new workers are available to fill those positions.

Opinion: How Texting Could Help Californians Access Health Care and Food Banks

The unequal impacts of COVID-19 and the ongoing crisis of police violence in communities of color have exacerbated mistrust and disconnection between these communities and the health care system. This makes achieving patient-centered care a challenge.

Studies show that brief messages and two-way communication via text builds people’s trust and engagement in health care and educational settings.

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