The San Joaquin Valley lacks doctors. For every 100,000 residents, the Valley has 48 primary care physicians—25 percent less than the state average of 64—and an even lower share of specialists. The supply is also short for nurse practitioners and providers who accept Medi-Cal and plans through the Affordable Care Act.
Simultaneously, the Valley has an outsized need for doctors. Home to concentrated poverty and some of the most polluted air in the country, the Valley’s four million residents suffer from elevated rates of asthma and obesity compared to the rest of the state. Life expectancies for poor and affluent residents can vary by as much as 20 years.
On June 1, 2017 Valley Public Radio held a panel discussion featuring local health leaders about this issue, as part of the Be Public Live series of community forums. Moderated by FM89's Kerry Klein, the panel discussed the problem, their perspectives on what caused it and the efforts that may help mitigate it.
- Michael Peterson, Associate Dean and Chief of Medicine at UCSF Fresno
- Jason Bailey, Deputy Chief of Operations-Workforce Development at Clinica Sierra Vista
- Sanjay Srivatsa, cardiologist at the Heart, Artery and Vein Center of Fresno
This event is part of a reporting project produced as part of the California Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of the Center for Health Journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.