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Against the backdrop of today's televised health care summit in Washington, D.C., a Los Angeles gathering is discussing health in their communities from a decidedly different angle.

"When people think of health, they frequently think of medicine," said Michelle Levander, director of The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, which convened the event. "But we encourage you think of health  from a different standpoint, from the perspective of broader community well being."

Picture of Kelley Weiss

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. 

 

Picture of Kelley Weiss

California sends out about three billion dollars a year to the disabled and elderly so they can buy food and afford housing. But in the second part of our series, Senior Insecurity, Capital Public Radio found there's little oversight of this program.

Even though Supplemental Security Income - or SSI - is California's second most expensive health and human services program, the state doesn't track whether it's enough to live on or how people spend their money.

 

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

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 William Heisel

Most reporters never have the misfortune of being sued for libel. If they are, there are broad free speech protections in court precedent, especially in California, that make it unlikely a plaintiff will win, unless a reporter has been truly reckless.

Picture of William Heisel

When the Journal of Reproductive Medicine published a study that purported to prove that intercessory prayer can heal people, there were many reasons to be doubtful, regardless of one's religious beliefs.

Picture of Scott Shafer

Throughout California, county health departments are dealing with anxious residents. The situation varies county by county, with some local officials complaining they're not being treated fairly by the state health department. First host Scott Shafer checks in with county health directors in Imperial, Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties, and then asks Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, about the discrepancies between counties

Picture of William Heisel

Evan George graduated with a history degree from Occidental College. His mentor was legendary Los Angeles Times writer Bob Sipchen, who got George interested in journalism. George spent some time at the late, lamented LA Alternative and the Los Angeles Downtown News before joining the legal news team at the Los Angeles Daily Journal two years ago.

Picture of Shuka Kalantari

Serving Skid Row: Evans Clark used to count himself among the thousands of homeless people addicted to drugs and living on the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles. Now recovered, Clark still finds himself on the streets of Skid Row every day. But now, he's there to help.

Click here to launch the audio slideshow: http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R907232000/b

Web Extra: Saved by Homeless Health Care Los Angeles

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As public health officials like to say, "COVID-19 isn't done with us." And journalists know that we're not done with COVID-19. Apply now for five days of stimulating discussions on the pandemic's disproportionate impact on people of color -- plus reporting and engagement grants of $2k-$10k and five months of mentoring while you work on an ambitious project.

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States? The USC Center for Health Journalism seeks an enterprising and experienced journalism leader for our new position of “Manager of Projects.” 

 

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