News on health, wellness and health care

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Up to 1800 residents living in an apartment complex in Fresno have been without heat or hot water after several gas leaks were discovered. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports how long these residents could be without basic necessities.

Tenants at the Summerset Village Apartments have been without natural gas for 12 days. They can’t cook, they don’t have hot water, and the heaters don’t work. The majority are Southeast Asian refugees with many elderly and young residents.

If there’s one word that epitomizes the state of health care today, it’s change. Nowhere is that more clear than in the San Joaquin Valley’s hospital landscape, where longtime friends have turned into bitter rivals.

But what’s behind the shifting alliances that have divided much of the Fresno health care market in recent years? The answer could be one word, networks.

Earlier this year, Craig Wagoner the CEO of Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center made an announcement that might have puzzled a lot of people.


The Central Valley has some of the highest rates of obesity in California, especially among Latinos. Health officials say this puts Latinas at a greater risk of developing and dying from breast cancer. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on a new project hoping to tackle this issue.

The UC Merced project hopes to learn how to better communicate healthy eating messages to young Latinas with the goal of reducing their risk of breast cancer.

Diana Aguilera

Working outside in the heat is something many people in the Central Valley have to do on a daily basis. The hot weather is a concern especially for those who work in the valley’s fields. From 2000 to 2012 nearly 7,000 people were hospitalized in California for heat related illnesses and around 600 died. California now has the toughest workplace regulations when it comes to heat but there’s still a problem- accurately measuring internal body temperature.

It’s a typical Sunday in the town of Mendota, west of Fresno. Here, in the cantaloupe capital of the world, the majority of residents are farmworkers. As they unwind from working all day the Westside pool hall starts filling up. 

City councilmember Joseph Riofrio owns the pool hall. This place serves as a distraction and entertainment for many men farmworkers, who are often far away from family. But Riofrio says the isolation some people feel opens the door for another type of business.

Diana Aguilera

Today state health officials arrived in Fresno for a four day meeting to tackle what local leaders are calling a chlamydia epidemic.

In a rare occasion, the state department of public health sent a team of experts to Fresno. They’re meeting with local health providers in hopes of reducing the alarming rates of chlamydia, especially in teens and young adults.

“Fresno County is a hot spot for chlamydia and for reproductive and sexual health in general,” says Heidi Bauer, a doctor with the Department of Public Health.

Cultiva La Salud

A local group is putting pressure on Fresno Unified School District to unlock school gates after hours and on weekends. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, they say every child no matter what zip code they live in should have a place to play.

The Fresno-based organization Cultiva La Salud, which means “cultivate health” is asking the district to keep school gates unlocked in south Fresno. They say in an area with high rates of obesity and lack of green spaces, kids need a place where they can play and be physically active after hours.

Community Hospitals / UCSF Fresno

One of Fresno’s largest hospitals is expanding its partnership with a Bay Area health care giant, with the possibility of building a new facility in the future.

Community Medical Centers of Fresno and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in Oakland and San Francisco say the partnership will expand pediatric care at Community’s downtown Fresno campus, including plans for a new pediatric ICU and inpatient surgery services.

Community Regional Medical Center’s CEO Craig Wagoner says the partnership could lead to even more services in the future.


California health officials are noticing a big jump in babies born with congenital syphilis and the Central Valley is at the top of the list. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, state and county health leaders met in Fresno Wednesday to discuss the alarming trend.

Cases of congenital syphilis in California jumped from 30 in 2012 to 100 in 2014. Babies who contract the disease from their mothers during pregnancy can face lifelong health problems and even death.

Fresno’s Planned Parenthood clinics are the latest target in a series of controversial videos about the clinics and their practices. A former employee claims she was pressured to collect fetal body parts without the mother’s consent.

“It really wore me down. The environment is morbid. You can feel it,”

That’s Holly O’Donnell a phlebotomist who says she used to work at Planned Parenthood clinics in Fresno.

The video is the sixth released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress.