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Health News Roundup

Declaring racism a public health crisis, and more in this week’s roundup

CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Dan Vergano, BuzzFeed News, August 5
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates around 577,000 people, 9% of New Yorkers, have been physically threatened or abused by the police. Overall, 29%, roughly 1.9 million people, report being stopped, frisked, or questioned by the police. Those people have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, drug abuse, and mental illness, warns the department, which is starting a new public health campaign focused on educating health care workers about chronic health conditions linked to these patients.
RACE
Mattie Quinn, Governing, August 2019
It’s become commonplace for government leaders to consider a community’s social factors – such as poverty, housing, the quality of its schools and its racial breakdown – in efforts to make lasting improvements in health equity. But this spring, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, leaders went a step further, approving what is believed to be a first-in-the-nation local government resolution declaring racism itself a public health crisis.
HEALTH CARE POLICY
Shannon Dooling, WBUR, August 1 
Massachusetts has thousands of highly skilled medical providers who aren’t working at the level at which they’ve been trained. For many, that’s because they were educated in other countries, and they’re having a tough time affording – among other challenges – the path to a license here. A new commission, however, will address barriers to certification, including cost and language. In the process, the state hopes to expand medical services in rural and under-served areas.
CONNECTICUT
Maya Moore, The Connecticut Mirror, August 7
Connecticut recently launched an online tool intended to help consumers, businesses and health care providers navigate the state’s vast system of hospitals and providers. The free tool will allow users to compare the quality and cost of medical care at 19 of the state’s health care organizations. The website has two key elements: a quality scorecard, that is operational now, and a cost estimator that is set to be released in late September.
LINKING CARE AND COMMUNITY
Liora Engel-Smith, North Carolina Health News, August 6
A four-county program promoting wellness and preventing obesity through changing people’s surroundings is eyeing expansion to other parts of North Carolina. A CDC grant-funded program, Health Matters, is responsible for dozens of initiatives to create environments that promote physical activity, healthy eating and recreation, with the goal of eventually decreasing obesity rates. The program laid the groundwork for many local changes and has fostered opportunities for counties to learn from one another.