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L.A.

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The Clean Trucks program and other innovations at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach have significantly reduced the diesel emissions around the ports, meaning important public health ramifications for the surrounding communities who are at higher risk of respiratory disease, cardiac disease and  cancer because of the particulate matter and smog caused by diesel emissions.

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The focus of today's conference, Improving Health Literacy in Los Angeles, was on ways in which medical providers can improve the community's understanding of health concerns and health care.

We are “focusing on expanding health literacy in L.A. and the western region,” said Ellen Iverson, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the USC Keck School of Medicine, who introduced the conference panelists.

Picture of Jessica Ogilvie

For journalists, the topic of health care disparities — particularly in Los Angeles — is a familiar concept. Exploring the discrepencies in care between various socioeconimic and ethnic groups often leads down a road of dismal statistics and frustrating realities. 

But what happens if we refocus our gaze away from the patients and onto the providers?

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As one of the largest, most expansive cities in the country, Los Angeles faces huge challenges in getting out health-related messages that resonate with the city's myriad cultures. Lack of health literacy, or having trouble understanding either the benefits or the details of modern, often Western medicine, has ripple effects, including patients being less likely to seek preventive care and more likely to use hospital emergency rooms for routine medical care. 

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Mike Tharp is the executive editor of the Merced Sun-Star. He attended the Mar. 2010 seminar for the California Health Journalism Fellows as the editor of Fellow Danielle Gaines, where he met the subject of this column, Dr. Edward Newton, chair of Emergency Medicine at the Los Angeles County USC Hospital.

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Watts

In "LaVonna's World," people in South Los Angeles are able to buy healthy, fresh food at reasonable prices in grocery stores near their homes. They're able to see a specialist when they need to and get the health insurance they need. They don't suffer disproportionately from diseases like diabetes and asthma.

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California’s second most expensive health and human services program, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, was designed to help the elderly and disabled afford basic necessities. But for many older Californians it's not meeting that goal.

In the first of our two-part series, Senior Insecurity, we’ll look at how the deepest state budget cuts to SSI in a decade have impacted older disabled Californians. A growing number of them can’t afford enough food or are living on the streets. 

 

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The shimmering blue lights of the Terminal Island Bridge, rising above the Port of Los Angeles, belie the intense pollution that emanates from the nation’s largest port and compromises the health of nearby communities.  

Picture of Angilee Shah

The National Health Journalism Fellows will take a tour of the varied landscapes of Downtown Los Angeles this afternoon. Their guides, Sandra McNeill, Executive Director of the Figueroa Corridor Community Land Trust, and Roberto Bustillo, a tenant organizer for Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), say that the much lauded revitalization projects are exacerbating problems faced by long-time tenants in the area.

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Dr. Elaine E. Batchlor is chief medical officer of L.A. Care Health Plan, a nonprofit, community-accountable health maintenance organization (HMO) that serves more than 750,000 Los Angeles County residents who participate in the Medi-Cal and Healthy Families programs. L.A. Care also administers the Healthy Kids program, which is offered by L.A. Care Health Plan and is sponsored by First 5 L.A. and the Children's Health Initiative of Greater Los Angeles. L.A. Care is the nation's largest public health plan and also one of California's largest health plans. Before Batchlor came to the L.A.

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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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