Health News Roundup

Black engineers work to fix long-ignored bias in oxygen readings, and more in this week’s roundup

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‘A poster child’ for diversity in science: Black engineers work to fix long-ignored bias in oxygen readings
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, Aug. 19
Kimani Toussaint was concerned when he learned that the pulse oximeters that physicians heavily rely on to treat and monitor COVID-19 patients didn’t work as well on darker-skinned patients. Black engineers like Toussaint are seeking solutions to change that.

Pain in children is often ignored. For children of color, it’s even worse. 
Rachel Rabkin Peachman, The New York Times, Aug. 16
A recent study found that children who were Black, Asian, Hispanic, or who preferred to speak in a language other than English were less likely than white children to receive strong intravenous pain-relieving medications, despite reporting similar pain levels. These findings add to a growing conversation about the way people of color are treated in medical settings.

Through community-based care, doula SeQuoia Kemp advocates for radical change
Martha Swann-Quinn, NPR, Aug. 21
SeQuoia Kemp has been providing support during and after pregnancy for more than a decade. The highly disproportionate rates of maternal mortality make doula care and maternal advocacy especially important. Kemp’s work seeks to change the narrative beyond Black people merely surviving pregnancy to supporting families to feel empowered through the birthing experience.

Grassroots work leads to vaccination success in Georgia refugee community
Alander Rocha, Kaiser Health News, Aug. 22
Refugees have been disproportionately affected by COVID: Those newly resettled may experience living situations or employment conditions that increase their risk of contracting the virus, or they may face significant hurdles to immunization. Community health workers and grassroots organizations in Clarkston, Georgia have been crucial in educating people about the COVID vaccine, and organizers say their efforts have largely succeeded.

‘People count on it’: In Boston, a mobile clinic meets health needs in the neighborhood
Edward Chen, STAT, Aug. 22
For years, mobile health clinics have popped up across the country to reach millions of people who might not otherwise have access to medical care. The work of mobile clinics grew all the more important during the pandemic, when health care saw widespread disruptions. By building relationships within communities, mobile clinics act as a point of contact to help people navigate the complexities of the health care system.