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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 USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series "Dying for Care," who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Sign-up here!

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