Hillary Meeks

Marketing Communications Specialist

I am a Marketing Communications Specialist at Stomwers Machinery Corporation.

Previously, I was the features, health and business reporter for the Visalia Times-Delta, which is in the rural agricultural center of California in Tulare County. Prior to that I was as an education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald in Killeen, Texas, and the features editor at the Marshall News Messenger in Marshall, Texas.


<p>To encourage more doctors to work in underserved areas, state Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, proposed a bill for the Steven M. Thompson Medical School Scholarship Program to help students pay for medical school. The bill, Assembly Bill 589, has a condition: The students contractually commit to work their first three years after residency in an underserved area.</p>

<p>My two articles (I was originally writing three, but ended up with two lengthy articles) for the Fellowship were definitely acquired through an illuminating process.</p><p>Over and over I encountered heads of medical institutions in the area who gave me their polished spin on why there weren't enough physicians in the area and why our huge Medi-Cal population wasn't being served. The two are intertwined as not having enough doctors/resources for the privately insured means that the physicians who DO live here will flock to the patients who pay. Which are not Medi-Cal patients.</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>San Francisco is taking the fun out of McDonald's treats after the county's board of supervisors decided to ban toys in happy meals. It's a move that assumes the toys are the reason kids are eating Happy Meals, which I don't believe is true.</p>

<p>Most of the time, when we are talking about television and other media influencing body image, we are talking about the pretty, skinny women. In this case, a controversy was started by a new television show on CBS called "Mike and Molly," about an overweight (I don't have their BMI stats, but they could very well be obese) couple who met at their Overeaters Anonymous group.</p>

<p>When my 2-year-old son has to see a doctor for his eyes or ears, I plan to take at least a half a day off work, if not a full day. Between the hours-long wait in the overcrowded specialists’ offices and the time it takes to travel to another county, our time is eaten away because these doctors are so few and far between in the San Joaquin Valley. That’s the mantra of Tulare County and health care. There aren’t enough doctors to go around, specialist or otherwise.