Health News Roundup

Calculating your life expectancy based on where you live, diversity in teachers makes a difference for minority students, and more

health equity

Interactive data tool: Does where you live affect how long you live?
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
A ZIP code is 5 numbers meant to deliver mail to people—not indicate how long they live. Unfortunately, significant gaps in life expectancy persist across many United States cities and towns. The latest data reveals differences down to the census tract level, even for residents just a few miles or blocks apart. Explore how life expectancy in America compares with life expectancy in your area, and resources to help everyone have the opportunity to live a longer, healthier life.

health care system

A rural town banded together to open a hospital. Its foe? A larger hospital.
Jack Healy, The New York Times, September 5
Not long after Beau Braden moved to southwest Florida to open a medical clinic, injured strangers started showing up at his house. This rural stretch of Collier County had fewer hospital beds per person than Afghanistan. So when he proposed starting a 25-bed rural hospital to serve the 50,000 people who live in the farming town, people rallied to the idea. Those plans were quickly derailed by a larger hospital in Naples, saying that the small, rural hospital would siphon away patients and revenue.


Does teacher diversity matter in student learning
Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times, September 10
Students returning to school have been greeted by teachers who, more likely than not, are white women. That means many students will be taught by teachers who are a different gender than they are, and a different skin color. The homogeneity of teachers is probably one of the contributors, the research suggests, to the stubborn gender and race gaps in student achievement: Overall, girls outperform boys, and white students outperform those who are black and Hispanic.

from the foundation

More than just a viral story
Connecticut Health Foundation, September 5
The stories are heartwarming: A Detroit man who walked 21 miles roundtrip each day to get to his factory job was able to get a new car – and an apartment – after strangers who learned about him through news stories donated thousands of dollars. A college employee’s boss donated paid time off so she could stay home with her newborn baby. But what about people who don’t have the benefit of such generous colleagues, or media attention that generates a groundswell of donations from strangers? Trying to address the root causes behind these kinds of situations, instead of helping one person at a time, is part of what we in the policy world refer to as “systems change.”