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Picture of Mary Otto

If you want to know how tough someone’s life has been, look inside his mouth. Teeth are made of the hardest substance in the human body. But poverty, neglect and disease can crack them, break them, ruin them. The patients at the SOME dental clinic on O Street NW have been through a lot. Their teeth tell the story.

Picture of Kelley Atherton

While funding for California's welfare programs has seen a steady decline over the past few decades, the state's financial crisis may mean even more severe cutbacks. Many who depend on these programs may face homelessness and illness as a result.

Picture of Kelley Atherton

Del Norte County has a serious problem with tooth decay. In fact, the problem is spread across California — a recent study found that two-thirds of the state’s children have some form of tooth decay. Kelley Atherton finds out why.

Picture of Kimber Solana

Joel Aguilar has never been a gang member, but has three bullets in him nonetheless. The east Salinas teenager is largely paralyzed: He can move his neck, raise both his arms a few inches and move one wrist — the physical toll of a "gang-related" shooting that nearly killed him two years ago. Kimber Solana examines the psychological impact of gang violence on both victims and the community.

Picture of Hillary Meeks

Tulare County, a poor, semi-rural county in California's Central Valley, has a one-third of its population on Medi-Cal — California's version of Medicaid. This is more than any other county in the state, yet the resources to care for the Medi-Cal population are few.

Picture of Mark Taylor

This story is Part 14 of a 15-part series that examines health care needs in Gary, Ind.

When Shantray Hooks, of Gary, lost her job as a restaurant cook in August, she didn’t know how she would pay for doctor visits.

“I had no health insurance and I couldn’t afford to pay a doctor,” said Hooks, 29, who was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago.

A doctor referred her to the Community Health Net of Gary, a federally qualified community health center that provides comprehensive primary care health services and charges on a sliding fee scale for services.

Picture of Daniela  Velazquez

At 364 pounds, Dawn Walton found her breaking point, literally, when she sat down for a meet and greet at her son's kindergarten class. "I felt the chair start to break beneath me," Walton, 35, said. "I knew it would kill him if I broke that chair." She made a bargain with God that day: If the seat didn't break, she'd change her lifestyle for good.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Why are doctors asking patients to sign a contract before prescribing painkillers? Answers and more in our Daily Briefing.

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