Health News Roundup

CT’s new approach to pregnancy outcomes gap, a tool that measures states’ health opportunities and more in this week’s roundup

Health equity

Strategic outreach bridging racial gap in pregnancy-related health outcomes
Elizabeth Heubeck, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, August 7
Babies born to black women are more than twice as likely to die in the first year of life than babies born to white women, and black women are 243 percent more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. These statistics aren’t new. What’s new is how some professionals throughout Connecticut—from psychiatric researchers to community activists to medical doctors and progressive health centers—are reframing the way racial disparities are addressed: by re-examining their root causes and coming up with new solutions.

This tool measures how far states and the US are from meeting health and well-being goals
Brian D. Smedley, Dennis P. Andrulis, Steven H. Woolf, Health Affairs Blog, August 7
The HOPE Initiative measures 28 indicators of opportunity, including not only population health status, but also the social, economic, and environmental factors that shape health and well-being. Too often, inequity is couched in the language of “deficits” and “disparities” The HOPE Initiative instead is asset-oriented. For instance, it measures income, not poverty, and tracks employment, not unemployment. The goal is to reframe conversations, moving from descriptive data about health disparities to actionable strategies to improve opportunity and equity.


Medicaid expansion making diabetes meds more accessible to poor, study shows
Pauline Bartolone, Kaiser Health News, August 6
Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. “In the long run, preventing diabetic complications not only saves lives, but it improves public health and saves public money,” said Dr. Michael Bush, an endocrinologist in Beverly Hills, Calif., and president of the California chapter of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

Linking care and community

Changing behaviors, targeting services key to improving health in poor neighborhoods
JoAnne Viviano, The Columbus Dispatch, August 5
The Columbus Public Health’s 2018 farmers-market is one of the ways the health department seeks to close a gap between residents who have access to fresh, nutritious foods and those who do not. The effort fits into a relatively new “health equity” approach in public health that seeks to reduce a long list of health-related disparities based on gender, race or ethnicity, income, education, disability, ZIP code and other factors.