Health News Roundup

In non-election news…this week’s roundup

Is the food bank system contributing to health disparities?
Theresa Sullivan Barger, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, November 2
The nation’s food bank system, created to provide emergency food assistance, fills a chronic need. Still, it may be perpetuating obesity among those facing hunger, concludes a new report by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Directors of food banks hesitate to request that donors confine their contributions to healthy foods for fear of alienating them but there is a growing concern about the harm that unhealthy foods are doing to an already marginalized population.

After a breast cancer diagnosis, many Black women face delays in care
Priyanka Runwal, STAT, November 5
Tamiko Byrd was only 43 when she was told she had stage 4 breast cancer. The diagnosis shook her to her core. So did the prospect of navigating cancer treatment. “I wondered, how can I afford this?” said Byrd, who is Black. “How am I going to take care of my young children? Am I going to live?” She missed a year of medical appointments until she was eligible for Medicaid. Now cancer-free, her experience mirrors the challenges many Black women face after a breast cancer diagnosis in the U.S.

A new Hippocratic oath asks doctors to fight racial injustice and misinformation
Sarah Boden, NPR, November 4
First-year medical students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine participated in an exercise to craft a new Hippocratic oath as a part of their orientation. This year’s incoming class is starting their careers during a global pandemic and a national civil rights movement and those experiences framed the basis for their modernized oath. The earliest known version of the Hippocratic oath dates back to the fifth century B.C. Many iterations exist, and in many U.S. medical schools it’s become customary for incoming medical students to write and even recite their own versions; many of the variants include language that prohibits discrimination or bias in the practice of medicine.

First person: That little girl was a future state senator, and I ignored her
Marcia Biederman, The Connecticut Mirror, November 4
Marcia Biederman reminisces about her childhood growing up in Bridgeport in the 1960s and discusses the white privilege she experienced in contrast to her Black classmate and now state senator, Marilyn Moore.

Protecting your birth: A guide for Black mothers
Erica Chidi and Erica P. Cahill, M.D., The New York Times, October 22
The data is heartbreakingly clear: Black women in America have more than a three times higher risk of death related to pregnancy and childbirth than their white peers. This is regardless of factors like higher education and financial means, and for women over 30, the risk is as much as five times higher. The New York Times prepared a guide to help Black women feel safer and more informed about their prenatal and postpartum care, and to provide a modern framework for medical providers to actively address their own racism when caring for their patients.

From the foundation: Open enrollment through Access Health CT is here. Help spread the word.
Download our messaging toolkit and shareable graphics.