Health News Roundup

Connecting low-income patients to specialists, a day in the life of a community health worker, and more

health equity
Why do South Asians have such high rates of heart disease?
Anahad O’Connor, The New York Times, February 12
Heart disease is the leading killer of adults nationwide, and South Asians, the second fastest-growing ethnic group in America, have a higher death rate from the disease than any other ethnic group. People of South Asian descent, which includes countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives, have four times the risk of heart disease compared to the general population, and they develop the disease up to a decade earlier.

Cancer death racial gap narrows, but still higher for blacks

The Associated Press, The Washington Post, February 14
For a long time, blacks have died of cancer at higher rates than other Americans. But a new report says the gap is narrowing. Nearly 30 years ago, black men had a 47 percent higher cancer death rate than white men. Now it’s 19 percent higher. Black women had a 19 percent greater cancer death rate. Now it’s 13 percent greater.
Dan Haar, CT Post, February 16
A new Connecticut medical start-up, Community eConsult Network, aims to radically change the way specialists see patients — by creating a platform and a network for primary-care docs to send patient cases, complete with records, histories and photos, to cardiologists, dermatologists, orthopedists and other specialists electronically. The e-consult model arose naturally from an urgent problem: It’s not easy for people on Medicaid or without insurance at all, to get appointments with specialists. And it’s not easy for working poor patients, perhaps without a car, to take a day off and somehow navigate their way to a medical specialty office far from home.
Amy Harmon, The New York Times, February 18
Fewer than 1 percent of doctorates in math are awarded to African-Americans. Edray Goins, who earned one of them, found the upper reaches of the math world a challenging place.
from the foundation
Community health workers are frontline public health outreach workers who have a strong connection to the communities they serve, with an in-depth understanding of their experiences, culture, language, or needs. They go by many names and do many different jobs. To find out a little more about what it means to be a community health worker, meet Carmen and follow her through her day.