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Nearly half a million Texans live in substandard conditions in colonias -- 2,300 unincorporated and isolated border towns with limited access to potable water, sewer systems, electricity, sanitary housing or health care. Emily Ramshaw reports on their health conditions.

 

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Rob McConnell is professor of preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and deputy director of the Children's Environmental Health Center. He has researched the effects of air pollution on the development and exacerbation of asthma and is the principal investigator for the Children's Health Study, a large prospective cohort study to investigate these relationships. His work includes the study of associations between ozone and traffic emissions with the development of asthma.

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On Thursday, Bay Area News Group (Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, etc.) hosted a live online chat with Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General, and Rich Hamburg, deputy director of Trust for America's Health. Health reporter Sandy Kleffman and I (the science reporter for the chain) moderated it.  

Both men responded to questions posted by participants on how Congressional health reform legislation offers an unprecedented amount of funds for disease prevention, and funds for novel programs to improve health by improving neighborhoods. It's archived at: 

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While reporting for a four-part series on the wide gap in life expectancies and disease rates between people in nearby neighborhoods – due to drastically different conditions and social status – I expected to find that health care reform legislation would do little to address this issue. The reform legislation, after all, is primarily about health care insurance. But I was surprised to find that, for the first time, Congressional legislation contains at least $3.4 billion to focus on improving health disparities.

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Loel S. Solomon is Kaiser Permanente's vice president for community health. Previously, he served as national director of community health initiatives and evaluation at Kaiser Permanente's Community Benefits Program, a philanthropic venture that sought to improve the health of communities through partnerships, education, sharing clinical expertise, research, grants and services to vulnerable populations.

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Lance Toma is executive director of the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, a sexual health and HIV services organization based in San Francisco that delivers local, statewide and national programming with a staff fluent in 20 languages. Toma is a trained psychotherapist and has worked extensively with adolescents and young adults. Previously, he served as director of the Horizons Youth Services Program for gay and lesbian youth in Chicago.

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Ms. Eileen Kunz is the director for policy and government relations for On Lok Inc. On Lok is a comprehensive health plan that provides long-term care for eligible seniors living in San Francisco and Fremont. The program offers full medical care and support services with the goal of helping seniors live at home and in the community for as long as possible.

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David C. Warner is the Wilbur J. Cohen Fellow in Health and Social Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He also is a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. His major teaching and research interests are in economics, health policy and health finance. He formerly taught at Wayne State University and Yale University and was deputy director of the Office of Program Analysis of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

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Join us for a conversation on the latest COVID thread with Dr. Céline Gounder, a leading infectious disease expert, epidemiologist, medical analyst and host of the COVID podcast “Epidemic.” We'll discuss the emerging research, clarify what we know and don’t, and help attendees think through where the pandemic takes us from here. Sign-up here!

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