Health News Roundup

Climate change is fueling health disparities, and more in this week’s roundup

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Climate change is increasing cardiac events. It’s also fueling health disparities
Sujata Srinivasan, Connecticut Public Radio, Nov. 8
As Americans face more extreme heat due to climate change, cardiovascular deaths are expected to increase. The risk is especially severe for Black adults, who researchers project will be far more likely to die from heat-induced heart events. New research from the American Heart Association highlights the unequal impacts of extreme heat on cardiac deaths in certain populations. “It’s just astonishing how this latest study shows how it’s going to disproportionately affect Black populations further,” said Dr. Brooks Walsh of Bridgeport Hospital. Walsh said emergency room doctors are already seeing an increase in trauma and asthma cases as a result of extreme heat.

Health disparities drive everything from school absenteeism to loneliness, say experts
Anika Nayak, STAT News, Nov. 9
Systemic inequities have harmed the health of marginalized communities for generations. That includes housing policies that continue to disproportionately impact Black communities. “Housing is health care. Safe, affordable housing is paramount to keeping people healthy,” said Kimberly Driggins, the executive director of the Washington Housing Conservancy. The organization is also working with bilingual community health workers to address the pandemic of loneliness. School absenteeism is also driven by underlying health disparities. In Washington D.C. a pediatric health system has teamed up with a school district to address that issue.

Lung cancer survival rates rise, but low screening rates leave many people at risk
Yuki Noguchi and Carmel Wroth, NPR, Nov. 14
Survival rates for lung cancer are improving, especially among historically marginalized communities of color, according to a new survey from the American Lung Association. Among people of color, the survival rate increased by 17% in just two years. While disparities still exist, experts at the American Lung Association hope the improvements can continue and be replicated across other racial disparities in health care. The report also noted geographic disparities in lung cancer survival rates. Lung cancer is still the deadliest cancer in the U.S.

Underdiagnosed and undertreated, young Black males with ADHD get left behind
Claire Sibonney, KFF Health News, Nov. 9
It’s long been known that Black children are underdiagnosed for ADHD compared with white peers. A Penn State report published this year found that the odds Black students got diagnosed with the neurological condition were 40% lower than for white students. The odds for young Black males are even worse. Experts point to several reasons why, including teachers who are racially biased or have lower expectations of Black students and don’t recognize an underlying disability. Untreated, children with ADHD face much greater health risks.

Boston’s plan to offer doula services is taking shape
Steph Solis, Axios, Nov. 14
Boston could soon become one of the only cities in the U.S. to offer doula services for expecting parents. Health officials have started to build the new doula services team with a goal of starting internal training in the spring. Black mothers and babies face mortality rates twice as high as white mothers and babies. Health experts believe doula services can help reduce those disparities.