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Angelo Solis, a homeless alcoholic, racked up nearly $1 million in medical charges over three years. His case represents the immense health care costs associated with homelessness. Sarah Arnquist offers advice on how to report on this important topic.

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Did a federal task force ignore evidence that more frequent mammograms save lives? Answers and more in our Daily Briefing.

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As the list of patients in need of organ transplants continues to grow, Vietnamese communities in Southern California are urged to consider becoming organ donors.

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In Del Norte County, groups such as the Children's Health Collaborative seek funding in a push to provide more nutritious meals at high schools and encourage students to make healthier food decisions.

 

 

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When I was selected to be part of The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship program back in June 2010, I had three story ideas I wanted to develop for my fellowship projects. They involved three major health problems affecting the Latino community in the United States: health disparities of Latino women, diabetes and obesity among Mexican immigrants and Latinos affected by HIV/AIDS.
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Soaring rates for obesity, diabetes and hypertension are fueling a serious gap between the need for kidney transplants and the availability of those organs, impacting Latinos and other Los Angeles patients who are in renal failure.

Picture of Frank Sotomayor

Soaring rates for obesity, diabetes and hypertension are fueling a serious gap between the need for kidney transplants and the availability of those organs, impacting Latinos and other Los Angeles patients who are in renal failure.

Picture of Frank Sotomayor

This piece focused on Los Angeles’ ethnic communities: How they are key to increasing organ donations and, on the other side, how they benefit from these life-saving procedures. I wanted to establish a human connection right away — to show how a donated organ can help an individual who is very ill, almost to the point of dying. Through my reporting, I’ve also learned that donation helps the donor family by providing consolation for the loss. As a number of donor families have told me: “My loved one lives on, helping another person to stay alive.” With the help of OneLegacy, the organ donation agency for the L.A. area, I made contact with a donor’s parents and the recipient of a donated kidney that brought him back to health. That gave me my lead. Then, I described how OneLegacy is working to raise awareness about organ donation in the area’s three primary ethnic communities: Latino, Asian and African American. Together, these groups make up more than 60% of the population served by OneLegacy in Southern California. With the help of OPTN media specialists, I determined that these groups also make up about the same proportion of organ donors and organ recipients. The piece was posted on LA Beez, an online collaboration of ethnic media outlets. It was a pleasure to work with editor Jerry Sullivan and website specialist Kevin Chan.

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For many Mexican immigrants living in New York, working multiple jobs leaves little time for regular exercise. In addition, a heavy reliance on public transportation and a lack of rural areas means that physical activity is virtually nonexistent. Health experts cite this sedentary lifestyle as an emerging gateway to diabetes, especially among immigrants.

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With limited access to affordable fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods, Mexicans living in New York are frequenting fast food restaurants instead of farmers' markets. The result is a spike in obesity and diabetes among this immigrant group.

 

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