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Kern County

Picture of Harold Pierce
Researchers say a new test for valley fever can return nearly 100 percent accurate results in under two hours. It’s a breakthrough for the orphan disease.
Picture of Harold Pierce
For a reporter who found signs of hopelessness in one Kern County community after another, childhood trauma turned out to be the unifying theme, handed down from one generation to the next.
Picture of Harold Pierce
Stress is a powerful force. It can help us survive, but in some cases, lead to a lifetime of medical issues. A kid can only endure so many stressful traumatic experiences before it impacts his health.
Picture of Kerry Klein
A new California law has allowed pharmacists to play a more integral role in managing patients alongside other providers — which could be good news for patients struggling to access doctors. But one major obstacle still stands in the way.
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The California legislature approved a bill Wednesday that would require the state public health department to develop public outreach programs for valley fever, an insidious respiratory disease endemic to Kern County. It next heads to the governor.
Picture of Harold Pierce
So much of Luton’s childhood and adolescence seemed normal to her at the time. Her father mishandling her mother. Her brother coming after her with a metal poker. Her boyfriend with the meth addiction. All normal. It’s a wonder how she didn’t become a statistic herself.
Picture of Harold Pierce
State senators will vote this week on a bill that would enhance valley fever reporting guidelines and mandate public outreach. The aim: to raise public awareness of valley fever, an insidious respiratory disease endemic to the southwestern United States.
Picture of Kerry Klein
This reporting was undertaken as part of a project with the USC Center for Health Journalism’s California Fellowship. ...
Picture of Harold Pierce
Experts in social behavior and public health weigh in on raising the public's valley fever awareness: create a simple, memorable message, turn that message into a social movement, and reach out regularly to find out if awareness has increased.
Picture of Harold Pierce
In some of Kern County’s poorest, majority-white communities, people are dying four to 17 years before those in other parts of Bakersfield, Calif. Life expectancies are on par with less-developed countries like Iraq and Kazakhstan.

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The nation’s overdose epidemic has entered a devastating new phase. Drugs laced with fentanyl and even more poisonous synthetics have flooded the streets, as the crisis spreads well beyond the rural, largely white communities that initially drew attention. The death rate is escalating twice as fast among Black people than among white people. This webinar will give journalists deep insights, fresh story ideas and practical tips for covering an epidemic that killed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. last year. Sign-up here!

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