Health News Roundup

A cancer center leader tries to build trust, and more in this week’s roundup

The trust-builder: a cancer center director’s try-it-all strategy for breaking the barriers between research and Black patients 
Angus Chen, STAT, Aug. 3
Since becoming director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, Robert Winn has been visiting neighborhoods his hospital serves, seeking to overhaul the way his academic medical institution interacts with marginalized communities. What Winn learns from listening to people on these visits has transformed into an array of projects that he spends both workdays and free time on. It’s an approach that health equity experts called both unusual and likely to make a lasting impact in health disparities.

From low pay to workplace culture, obstacles litter the path to diversity in EMS
Akila Muthukumar, STAT, Aug. 1 
Many advances in emergency medical services were pioneered by an ambulance service staffed mostly by Black men in Pittsburgh in the 1960s and 1970s. Yet the field is now predominantly white. That has consequences: Studies show that when the race of EMS crews doesn’t match the population they serve, inequities in care proliferate – strokes are overlooked in Black women, and Black children are less likely to receive pain medications for long bone fractures. There are now efforts underway to diversify the field.

The U.S. could stop one cause of heat wave deaths tomorrow 
Rebecca Leber, Vox, Aug. 3
Nearly 100 million Americans faced dangerous heat over the past few weeks. Yet very few live in places that guarantee access to cooling. In most of the country, air conditioning is still treated as a luxury, not as a public health necessity that saves lives. By contrast, the vast majority of states have policies that forbid power shutoffs during a winter freeze, and most states require heating for multifamily homes. But policy governing cooling in the summers is a patchwork that lets the most vulnerable slip through the cracks.

In rural America, COVID hits Black and Hispanic people hardest
Benjamin Mueller, The New York Times, July 28
The coronavirus pandemic walloped rural America last year, precipitating a surge of deaths among white residents as the virus inflamed longstanding health deficits there. But across the small towns and farmlands, new research has found, COVID killed Black and Hispanic people at considerably higher rates than it did their white neighbors.