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Alameda County Public Health Department

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On Sunday, a four-part series a year in the making runs in the Bay Area News Group. As the science reporter for the chain, I teamed with health reporter Sandy Kleffman to report and write this series.

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Bay Area News Group will begin a four part series on health inequities Sunday that will feature ZIP code maps revealing wide disparities in life expectancy, asthma hospitalizations, heart diease and cancer rates.

The project, by reporters Sandy Kleffman and Suzanne Bohan, found striking health differences among ZIP codes just a few miles apart.

Even middle-class neighborhoods are affected, the analysis reveals. Middle-class areas have longer life expectancies than the poorest neighborhoods, but fall years short of life expectancies in the wealthiest areas.

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Over $1 billion in services are poured into the 13 poorest neighborhoods of Alameda County each year. It is what Anthony Iton calls "services overkill."

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Jo Kerner has had a rich and varied career in the dental field over the past 40 years. Trained as a dental hygienist at the University of California, Berkeley and the UCSF School of Dentistry, she practiced clinical dental hygiene for 25 years before earning a master's degree in values from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She then became an assistant clinical professor in the dental school at UCSF, followed by employment with Aetna Dental Care of California as a manager and chief operating officer of California dental plans.

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