Health

News on health, wellness and health care

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

We continue our coverage this week of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Last week we heard from Anthony Wright of Health Access California about his concerns with the so-called American Health Care Act, and this week we’re speaking with someone who had a hand in crafting the new plan.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Today, Bakersfield College kicks off a new event to address health problems in the San Joaquin Valley--its first-ever public health “hackathon.”

Over 100 people from across Central California have signed up for the hackathon, which aims to use technology to address public health challenges like chronic disease, food insecurity and environmental health. Nurse and public health student Elizabeth Patterson says her project idea involves helping young adults mentor each other about sexually transmitted diseases.

Public Policy Institute of California

A new analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California maps child poverty across California, and estimates Valley children would be much worse off without social safety net programs.

 

Sean Work / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

Assemblymember Rudy Salas says California needs to do more to track valley fever cases, and fund research into the disease. Last month he introduced legislation that in Sacramento that would provide $2 million in funding for the disease, which is especially prevalent in the San Joaquin Valley. Salas spoke to Valley Public Radio this week about the bill and it's path forward at the capitol. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The GOP-backed health care law that’s currently in the U.S. House of Representatives is one of the biggest topics of national debate. But what would the American Health Care Act mean for people here in the San Joaquin Valley? Over the next few weeks on our program we will hear a variety of perspectives on the proposed law, from both supporters and opponents.

Twice as many stores in the Central Valley sell flavored cigarettes and alcohol than sell fresh fruits and vegetables. That's the finding of a new state health survey. 

The Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community survey, released Wednesday, found that it’s far easier to find tobacco or alcohol than it is to find fresh food, especially in low-income neighborhoods. 

Fresno-based pediatrician Dr. Razia Sheik says in Fresno County, for example, just 39% of stores carried fresh fruits and vegetables.

ESY Kern

There are a lot of efforts to bring health foods into school and the elementary school curriculum. One of the most interesting examples can be found in Bakersfield at Buena Vista Elementary School, home to something called an "edible schoolyard." A joint project of the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District and the Grimm Family Foundation, the Edible Schoolyard Kern program also has expanded to sites in Arvin and Shafter.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

It’s springtime in the valley, which, for many of us, means it’s time to clear the weeds out of our backyards. The same goes for growers, but the landscape of industrial weedkillers is changing. A California judge recently ruled that the main ingredient of the popular herbicide RoundUp must be labeled as a carcinogen. Now, another popular herbicide is facing some scrutiny over its health impacts as well.

Weeds kill crops. Kurt Hembree says that’s because they’re pernicious moochers.

Sara Hamilton / California Agriculture http://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.2016a0025

A new study says a Fresno-area summer camp may help children at risk for obesity adopt healthier lifestyles.

According to the study, families who participated in the Healthy Lifestyle and Fitness Camp in Fresno consumed more fruits and vegetables at home, and their children measured steady weight loss.

This was compared to kids who participated in non-nutrition themed summer camps. The study was published in the journal California Agriculture.

Fresno State / http://www.fresnostate.edu/president/investiture/images/castro-photos09.jpg

Fresno State President Joseph Castro says he wants to see any new effort to build a public medical school in the San Joaquin Valley be a collaboration between the UC and CSU systems.

Last month, Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula introduced a bill in Sacramento that would authorize a new medical school at Fresno State. But the state’s master plan for higher education calls for medical schools to be the domain only of the University of California.

Assemblyman Seeks Valley Fever Funding, Overhaul Of Reporting Guidelines

Feb 21, 2017
Courtesy KABC Los Angeles / Center For Health Journalism Collaborative

Responding to a surge in cases and inconsistent reporting practices, Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) introduced legislation Tuesday that would allocate millions of dollars to valley fever vaccine research and streamline information sharing.

Assembly Bill 1279 would bring $2 million to an already-established state fund for valley fever vaccine research and create guidelines for how local, state and federal agencies report cases.

3D Imaging Could Answer Fundamental Questions About Valley Fever

Feb 21, 2017
TGEN

A Phoenix-based laboratory is capturing detailed images of the fungus that causes valley fever, hoping to better understand how it works.

The research could shed light on why the disease spreads at higher rates for Americans of African, Filipino and Mexican descent than others, said Bridget Barker, an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University and the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN).

Juan Solis Lives A Life In The Shadows, His Health Destroyed By Valley Fever

Feb 21, 2017
Casey Christie / The Bakersfield Californian

When Juan Solis shuffles out of his dark bedroom, he’s careful not to get too close to the windows.

He makes sure he only walks his dogs at night.

If he must go out during the day, he lathers on sunscreen, makes sure his legs and arms are covered, even during the peak of summer in Bakersfield’s blistering heat. And he never forgets his sunhat.

State Water Resources Control Board

The state has released new data on California’s drinking water--and they reveal almost 300 public water systems are out of compliance with state standards.

The data and an interactive map are part of the state water board’s new Human Right to Water Portal. They reveal 292 non-compliant water systems across the state. Violations include unsafe levels of arsenic, nitrates, and other contaminants, as well as non-compliant treatment techniques. 

KMC / Kern County

Much of the focus on the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been on the newly insured people who stand to lose their coverage. But there could be consequences that reach far beyond just people’s health care and impact nearly every taxpayer in the Central Valley. Repealing the law without a replacement has some county lawmakers worried.

Republicans in Washington D.C. are busy figuring out their way forward on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

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