Health Equity Project

Catie Talarski / WNPR

Last week, we recorded our second “Health Equity Forum” in collaboration with the Connecticut Health Foundation. In our first of these town halls, we began with these sobering statistics: In Connecticut, pregnant black women are 2x more likely to deliver a smaller baby early, black men are 2x more likely to die of prostate cancer than white men, with overall life expectancy for black men significantly shorter than for their white peers.

Arielle Levin-Becker

Joycelyn Elders is a doctor and a public health administrator and advocate. She was appointed the first African American surgeon general during the Clinton administration -- and then fired from her post  for some frank comments around sex and AIDS prevention. 

Oaktree b / Wikimedia Commons

New Haven is now the largest city in Connecticut to offer residents a Prescription Discount Card. Mayor John DeStefano introduced the benefit for city residents yesterday. (Click here for a list of all participating towns and cities.)

All across Connecticut, you can see billboards and TV ads, hear radio spots and get pamphlets about how to get insurance under the new health care law starting Oct. 1.

But the state is also using less traditional, and more expensive, ways to get the word out.

Hey Paul Studios, Creative Commons

Connecticut’s governor has talked openly about his developmental struggles. He's also one in five people who has dyslexia. It’s a developmental reading disorder that causes difficulties with spelling, reading and writing.

Dyslexia is something that keeps Malloy from being able to read and write as well as he’d like to this day, but it also drives him.  

Mark Pazniokas/CT Mirror, Chion Wolf/WNPR, Kris Krüg/PopTech

Earlier this year, Governor Dannel Malloy named Edith Prague the Commissioner of the state’s Department on Aging.

The 87-year-old previously served as state representative, state senator and was even the commissioner of aging once before under Governor Lowell Weicker.

We sat down with Edith Prague to talk about her new job, her political career, and one job she doesn’t want.

"I wouldn’t go to Washington if my life depended on it," said Prague.

Homer Bell was 54 years old when he killed himself in April in a very public way — he laid down his head in front of a stopped bus in his hometown of Hartford, Conn. It was the last act in a life filled with struggle, as Bell and his family endured his schizophrenia.

At a time when there are calls to strengthen the mental health system, Bell's story shows how hard coping with mental illness can be.

Each year, children across the country have a hard time caring for their teeth. A new study says that the problem is made worse because kids can't get in to see a dentist. The report comes from the Pew Children's Dental Campaign and makes two big observations.

Asians and the "Model Minority" Myth

Apr 22, 2013

Asian Americans have been dealing with the "model minority" myth for decades. And it's playing a role in high suicide rates. The idea of Asians as a model minority dates back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Scholars began publishing articles that argued against themes of social reform.

Chion Wolf

A few weeks ago, the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP released a report showing significant health, economic, and educational disparities between White and minority populations....so significant that they’re calling it a modern day “urban apartheid.”

Flickr The Commons

Studies show that poor oral health can make young people suffer in ways adults would never tolerate. "For some kids, they are scared forever. I know people who will not talk. They will not open their mouth. They will cover their mouth," said Dr. Tryfon Beazoglou, who recently co-authored a report with Joanna Douglass, also from the University of Connecticut's School of Dental Medicine. "Often many of these children have had pain for so long that they act out in other ways and it's picked up as behavioral problems in the class room," Douglass said.

The Air We Breathe

Jan 14, 2013
The Environmental Blog on Flickr Creative Commons

The air we breathe is usually not something we can see.  Today, in Beijing, that is not the case. Activist Zhou Rong of Greenpeace tells NPR, "In the last three days, the air pollution is beyond index. It's the worst since we have readings starting from last year." But just because this blanket of smog highlight’s China’s less-than-stellar air quality, that doesn’t mean we’ve got the problem solved here at home.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

A study of Hartford pre-school students shows that many of the city's young are obese by the time they are four or five years old. The study by UConn's Center for Public Health and Health Policy shows that Hartford has roughly the same rates of preschool obesity as other U.S. cities. Seventeen percent of the children measured classified as overweight; 20 percent of them qualified as obese. Both rates, though, are significantly higher than national averages.

A new state law was just passed that will eventually give non-nurses the ability to give medications to poor and disabled patients living at home. The governor's bill lets trained home care aides -- who cost about half what nurses do -- administer medications. 

With legal and political battles over the Affordable Care Act all but settled, it now appears that the health care overhaul law is here to stay. The goal of the law is to promise insurance coverage for more Americans and, if it works, increase access to care.

Chion Wolf

The "patient-centered medical home" is a fairly new way of talking about what medical care used to be. The idea is that a patient has a primary care doctor who does more than just see them when they’re sick, but actually knows them, has all their records at hand, can suggest specialists, and most importantly, work with the patient on keeping him or herself healthy.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Hartford public health officials say they are concerned with new data on Hepatitis C in the city. The numbers show ten to 20 cases a month of people newly-diagnosed with a chronic form of the disease. The city is using computer mapping to help it better target, test, and treat its residents. 

State officials say a recent Medicaid expansion is over enrolled and costs too much money, so it's asking the federal government for permission to ramp the program down a bit. That move is being met with objections.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has promised to move more than 5,000 poor and disabled patients out of nursing homes in five years.  But he says there's an obstacle -- a state law that says only nurses can give medications to people in the Medicaid system living at home. The governor's plan has faced some opposition in the legislature.

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