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Imperial Valley

Picture of Megan Burks

In 1965, the deinstitutionalization of mental health treatment charted a path toward overcrowded prisons and a shortage of mental health treatment facilities. Today, Imperial County in California is dealing with both of those consequences.

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At the Cancer Resource Center of the Desert in San Diego's Imperial Valley, navigators help people come to grips with the complex and life-altering realities of cancer. Patients receive guidance on everything from talking with insurance companies and managing finances to coping with treatment.

Picture of Robert Fulton

Imperial County is a rural farming community tucked into the southeast corner of the state along the border with Mexico. According to the 2008 Imperial County Health Status report, the incidence rate of cancer in there has been consistently lower than state-wide rates.

Picture of Ruxandra Guidi

The landfill in Salton City will go from being an 8-acre municipal site, to a 320-acre private one. But contamination from trash juice isn't the real concern: it's the threat of increased diesel truck traffic. There is a long-running scientific link between traffic air pollution and health problems.

Picture of Elizabeth Varin

Elizabeth Varin wrote this story for the Imperial Valley Press as a 2011-12 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow.

Picture of Elizabeth Varin

Elizabeth Varin wrote this story for The Imperial Valley Press as a 2011-12 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow.

Picture of Ruxandra Guidi

Just two hours east from my home in urban San Diego, the Anza-Borrego mountains give way to open skies and desert, followed by miles upon miles of bright green crop land. The semi-rural Imperial County is home to almost 200,000 people, most of them Latino, spread out over 4,000 square miles into small but tight-knit communities. Life here is strikingly different from the bustle of the coastal cities; one of the reasons why I love reporting in this part of Southern California.

Picture of Elizabeth Varin

Theoretically, Imperial Valley should be one of the healthiest areas of the nation if you look at food production. With a more than $1 billion agriculture industry growing almost anything under the sun, including artichokes, bamboo shoots, citrus, hay, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and more than 100 other types of crops, residents should have a nearly unlimited supply of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, leading to a health community.

Picture of Julia  Scott

This week, several newspapers across California published my investigative series focusing on the threats posed by nitrates in groundwater. The full stories with accompanying sidebar can be read here, along with multimedia resources that include video, photo slideshows, and a three-part series on nitrates by KQED Radio.

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