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Here's more coverage of the California budget cuts and their impact on health care, along with some new ideas for stories.

The general media consensus is that the state's Republicans won big in forcing major cuts in health and welfare programs, while Democrats are spinning their victory in saving the CalWORKS welfare program and the popular Healthy Families children's health insurance program from being eliminated outright.

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A federal court of appeals recently upheld a lower court's 2006 decision that found the tobacco industry guilty of racketeering and fraud. The House of Representatives has already voted to give the F.D.A. powers to regulate tobacco products, and the Senate is considering a similar vote. It's time for universities such as the University of California to wake up and cut their research ties with Big Tobacco, which has long used university research results to defraud the public.

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Winnie O. Willis is a California Endowment board member and professor emeritus of public health at SDSU's Graduate School of Public Health, with a specialization in maternal and child health services, development and evaluation. From 1994 to 2000, she was director of SDSU's Institute for Public Health, an organization working to bridge the gap between academics and practice in the public health arena. Prior to joining the GSPH faculty in 1984, she was an assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

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Roberta Lee, M. D., is the vice chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine for the Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel's Continuum Center for Health and Healing in New York City. Previously, she served a seven-year stint as the medical director. In addition, she has a clinical practice in internal and integrative medicine. For the last five years, she has traveled regularly to Micronesia as the ethnomedical specialist in an interdisciplinary team of biologists, ethnobotanists, ecologists and conservationists. Her focus has been the traditional uses of kava.

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Mike Buono is a professor of exercise and nutritional sciences at SDSU. A systemic human physiologist, Buono uses exercise and environmental perturbations to explain physiological control systems in humans. Over the past 20 years, he has published more than 60 papers in the American Journal of Physiology, European Journal of Physiology, Journal of Applied Physiology, Journal of Thermal Biology, Physical Therapy and other journals. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in animal physiology in 1982.

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John Golenski is executive director of the George Mark Children's House, a children's respite and end-of-life care facility in San Leandro, Calif., for children with life-limiting or terminal illnesses. All care is informed by the principles of palliative care. Additional support services are available to all family members, and services are provided regardless of a family's ability to pay. Golenski joined the George Mark Children's House after a long career in clinical services, health care ethics and health policy. From 1978 to 1979, he was executive director of the Shanti Project.

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Jack Cheevers is the communications director for Region 9 of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency responsible for administering Medicare, Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance (SCHIP), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and several other health-related programs. Cheevers oversees communications in Region 9, which covers California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Trust territories.

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Adela de la Torre, director and professor of the Chicana/o Studies Program, studies health care access and finance issues that affect the Latino community as well as border health issues. From 1996 to 2002, De la Torre was director of the Mexican American Studies and Research Center at the University of Arizona, where she developed and directed the Border Academy, a summer institute that explored issues unique to the U.S.-Mexico border. An economist, De la Torre is the author of "Sana, Sana: Mexican Americans and Health" and "Moving from the Margins: A Chicana's View of Public Policy."

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As the fastest growing ethnic population in the United States, Latinos have a major impact on the health care system. Nearly one in three Americans will be Latino by 2050, according to an August 2008 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Latino population is expected to nearly triple from 46.7 million in 2008 to 132.8 million in 2050. As a percentage of the overall U.S. population, Latinos will more than double from 15 to 30 percent.

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Native Americans experience higher disease rates than other Americans for problems ranging from diabetes and heart ailments to mental illness and suicides, which contribute to their lower life expectancy. Get tips from a veteran journalist for covering these health issues.

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More than 100 anti-transgender rights bills were introduced in state legislatures this year. Many focus on children and teens. Join us for our next Health Matters webinar, where we'll explore the health and well-being of transgender youth as states such as Arkansas and Tennessee seek to limit their rights. Our expert panel will share the latest research, seed story ideas and offer reporting advice. Sign-up here!

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States?  Apply now for one of our positions. 

The best journalism these days wraps compelling narratives around scrupulous data analysis. Apply now for our 2021 Data Fellowship to learn the skills necessary to use big data to inform your reporting on health and social welfare issues. Learn more in this webinar on Aug. 3.

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