News on health, wellness and health care


A new study suggests that the Central Valley’s extreme heat is linked with increasing levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports.

A group of scientists say that in recent decades, heat waves in the Central Valley are more severe due to higher humidity and warmer night temperatures.

Roberto Mera with the Union of Concerned Scientists led the study.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The California Department of Public Health is investigating a case of human plague after a child was hospitalized following a visit to Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest.

The child from Los Angeles County stayed at Crane Flat Campground in Yosemite in mid- July. The child, whose identity has not been released, was the only one ill among family members. State health officials said Thursday that the child is recovering.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Thousands of farmworkers travel all over the Central Valley on a daily basis to pick crops under some very hot weather. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports farmers now have to comply with new regulations to avoid heat illness and deaths among workers.

Farmer Joe Del Bosque, owner of Del Bosque Farms, knows what it’s like to work in the valley’s hot temperatures. He’s been doing it his whole life.

“I grew up with this kind of work by the time I was 10, 11-years-old I was actually picking melons,” Del Bosque says.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

A new app is making it easier for people in California to receive STD testing within the comfort of their own home. FM89’s Diana Aguilera explains how it works.

Android and iPhone users can now download the app called Planned Parenthood Direct. For a cost of $149, users will receive a kit in the mail that tests for both chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Linda Williams with Planned Parenthood says this app makes it easier for people to get tested without feeling judged.

A new report from Fresno State's Central Valley Health Policy Institute highlights the high incidence of infant mortality in the African-American Community. According to study data, African-American babies in Fresno are three times more likely to die when compared with white infants. Recently on Valley Edition we spoke with Lauren N. Lessard, PhD MPH, a research scientist at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute about the study, and why the numbers have grown in recent years. 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A new study from the UCLA Health Policy Institute indicates that the access gap between Medi-Cal recipients and those with private, employer-sponsored coverage continues to grow. And those with Medi-Cal benefits in the Central Valley do even worse, facing even greater challenges in finding and retaining a doctor than those with the same benefits in wealthier parts of the state. 


  African-American infants in Fresno County are three times more likely to die within their first year than white infants, largely because of premature birth, low birth weight or birth defects.

The alarming rates of African-American infants dying in their first year in the county are prompting public health officials to dig deeper.

“Over the last few years ever since 2008 Fresno has experienced a dramatic growth in infant mortality rates particularly for African-American women,” says Dr. John Capitman, executive director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute.


Fresno County continues to be plagued with high teen pregnancy rates and even higher STD rates in some cases among the worst in the state. With that in mind  local health leaders are urging one Valley school district to bring back sex education to the classrooms. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports even former students are speaking up.

Antonio Jauregui, 18, says his freshman year at Fresno’s Duncan Polytechnical High School was all about growing up. It’s also when he had his first romantic relationship and that left him turning to the classroom for information about sex.

Valley Fever Cases Down Since Drought Began

Jul 14, 2015
Craig Kohlruss / Just One Breath - Reporting On Health Collaborative / The Fresno Bee

California health experts are surprised that the incidence of Valley Fever has gone down during the drought. The fungal infection is commonly spread in arid, dusty conditions. But, even though the state is drier, the number of cases continues to drop. Capital Public Radio's Lesley McClurg has the story.

Valley Fever peaked in 2011 with more than 5,000 cases in California. Last year there were fewer than half that. Dr. James Watt is the Chief of the Division of Communicable Diseases for the California Department of Public Health.

California HealthCare Foundation

Medi-Cal recipients in California continue to face big challenges when it comes to actually accessing care, especially in the Central Valley. That's the conclusion of a new report by researchers at the UCLA Center For Health Policy Research and the California HealthCare Foundation. 

The study looked at survey data from across the state for both Medi-Cal enrollees and those with private insurance provided through their employers. 

Shana Alex Charles is one of the study's authors.