Health News Roundup

Dying while black: This week’s top stories about health and disparities

health equity
Dying while black: Perpetual gaps exist in health care for African-Americans
Yolonda Wilson, The Conversation, February 5
It is well documented that African-Americans experience excess mortality. However, even if disparities in the mortality rate for African-Americans were rectified tomorrow, the fact remains that we will all eventually die. And how we die matters. Studies also show that at the end of their lives, black patients do not receive the same comfort care, including pain management and eye contact and touch, from physicians that white patients do.

Read & Listen: Immigrants are wary of using assistance programs as feds weigh policy change
Colleen Shaddox, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, February 6
When immigrant families bring their children to the Yale Children’s Hispanic Clinic, it’s just not about check-ups and vaccinations. Clinicians help them deal with everything from teething to nutrition to finding a place to live. But these days when front-line clinicians encourage families to use the many services offered through federal public programs, parents have questions—and misgivings. A proposed change in immigration law is making immigrants in Connecticut and nationally wary of utilizing federal programs that cover health, food and housing assistance.

How Canada’s racial data gaps can be hazardous to your health
Tavia Grant and Denise Balkissoon, The Global and Mail, February 6
If Olga Lambert, a black woman, lived in the United States, and not Canada, she’d be recognized as having a higher risk of developing aggressive breast cancer. American research shows that black women are more likely to develop the disease earlier than white women and more likely to die from it. These facts are partly why the American College of Radiology urges black women in the United States to have their breast-cancer risk assessed by the age of 30. That’s a full 15 years earlier than Ms. Lambert began having mammograms. A scarcity of data by ethnicity means Canadian guidelines don’t consider that black women such as her have a potentially elevated risk.
linking care and community
Rachel Cernansky, US News, February 6
Jean Sisneros was at the doctor for a regular blood sugar and diabetes check when someone new came into the room and asked her a series of questions. Sisneros hadn’t thought of herself as depressed, but as she answered the case worker’s queries, the pieces suddenly came together. The clinic that treated Sisneros caught her mental health symptoms because its staffers use a screening tool designed to identify aspects of patients’ lives that often aren’t discussed during routine doctor visits, but which can greatly influence their health.
from the foundation
A new report and accompanying policy brief from CHDI and the Connecticut Health Foundation make the case for redesigning pediatric primary care to play a broader role in the health and well-being of families and their children and outline the principles to guide payment reform to support new services. The report proposes that in addition to providing guidance on development, well-child visits, and medical care when children are sick, as they do now, pediatric primary care providers would also expand their practices to include family support services and connect families to community services.