Health News Roundup

Children of color receive worse health care, and more in this week’s roundup

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Kids of color get worse health care across the board in the US, research finds
Maria Godoy, NPR, Jan. 18
Researchers found widespread inequities while looking at the quality of care children receive across a wide spectrum of pediatric specialties. They found that children of color face longer wait times for care at the emergency room, and they are less likely to get diagnosed and treated for a developmental disability. They are also less likely than their white peers to get painkillers for a broken arm or leg, for appendicitis or for migraines. Researchers said there are many causes of the inequities, but they are ultimately rooted in structural racism.

Rising suicide rate among Hispanics worries community leaders
Andy Miller and Molly Castle Work, KFF Health News, Jan. 22
The suicide rate for Hispanic people in the United States has increased significantly over the past decade. It’s a problem seen in both urban and rural communities across the country. Mental health experts said there are many social and economic pressures on minority groups. For Hispanics, cultural and systemic obstacles may also be a factor. Community leaders and researchers also said the pandemic hit young Hispanics particularly hard. Language and bias can also be significant barriers.

CT’s maternal health care issues go beyond access, officials say
Katy Golvala, The Connecticut Mirror, Jan. 24
In Connecticut, barriers to maternal health include substance use disorder, hospital service cuts, and inaccurate information that prevents eligible pregnant women from getting Medicaid coverage. At a roundtable discussion on maternal health care, advocates and leaders discussed challenges and solutions. While the maternal mortality rate is on the rise across the country, it does not impact everyone equally. “We recognize that there are extreme disparities amongst women of color here in our state related to their birthing experiences,” said Tiffany Donelson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “In particular, Black women are 2.6 times more likely to die following having a child as opposed to a white woman here in our state.”

DEI attacks pose threats to medical training, care
Danielle McLean, USA Today, Jan. 25
Over the past two decades, medical schools and residency programs have added diversity, equity and inclusion training to help counter biases and racism contributing to disparate health outcomes for certain populations. However, in recent years several states have passed laws to restrict DEI education in public higher education. Some doctors and scholars fear the new anti-DEI laws could not only stall progress made in providing better care for patients from diverse backgrounds but also make care for those populations worse.

Cervical cancer is preventable, yet rising number of women in poor regions are getting it
Eduardo Cuevas, USA Today, Jan. 25
Screening, early detection, and a vaccine have all contributed to making cervical cancer preventable. However, a new study found that women in low-income areas of the U.S. are experiencing an increase in diagnosis and death from cervical cancer. The study found that white women in low-income areas saw the greatest increase in late-stage cervical cancer, Black women had the greatest increase in cervical mortality in low-income counties and Hispanic women in poor areas had the highest rate of cervical cancer. “In the U.S., where we have all of these tools, it’s really, undeniably, about access,” said Jane Montealegre, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.