Health News Roundup

How neighborhoods can influence cancer mortality and more in this week’s roundup

linking care with community

‘If I lived on the North Side’: Neighborhood segregation may matter more than race in breast cancer survival rates
Darcel Rockett, The Chicago Tribune, July 9
In 2008, South Shore resident Cheryl King found a lump in her right breast. When she told a health professional at a South Side facility, he dismissed it, saying many African-Americans have lumps in their breasts. In the three months it took to get appointments and tests with other professionals to verify it was cancer, it had grown into a stage 2 tumor.

Why Boston Medical Center is investing in housing
Simón Rios, WBUR, June 27
Waldeck, a subsidized housing complex in Dorchester, represents one of nine investments for Boston Medical Center — a total of $6.5 million the hospital has designated for housing in some of Boston’s poorest areas. Advocates say BMC’s investment is part of a burgeoning shift among health care leaders to view housing as a key “social determinant of health.” Now, a handful of area hospitals are starting to put their money into housing.

health reform

Drug prices keep rising despite efforts to address problem
Ana Radelat, The Connecticut Mirror, July 9
While the cost of prescription drugs has been increasing, leaving people with diabetes, heart problems and other common chronic diseases unable to buy the medicine they need, some states have taken steps toward making prescription drugs more affordable this year. Under a new Connecticut law, drug companies will have to justify increases when a drug’s price jumps more than 20 percent in one year, or 50 percent over three years, to the Office of Health Strategy.

mental health

A simple emergency room intervention can help cut suicide risk
Rhitu Chatterjee, NPR, July 11
Many people who attempt suicide end up in an emergency room for immediate treatment. But few of those suicide survivors get the follow-up care they need at a time when they are especially likely to attempt suicide again. A study shows that a simple intervention conducted by staff in emergency departments can reduce the risk of future attempts.

Opinion: To improve minority mental health, research must put patients first
Dr. Elena Rios and Dr. Doris Browne, The Hill, July 7
There is a need to urgently address the stigma associated with mental illness, still taboo in minority communities. We need to invest more in research specifically focused on improving minority mental health care and outcomes. This includes ensuring that relevant clinical trials are accessible to our communities, which isn’t always the case.