Health News Roundup

Teens of color pay the price for mental health workforce shortages, and more in this week’s roundup

‘Disruptive,’ or Depressed? Psychiatrists Reach Out to Teens of Color
Matt Richtel, The New York Times, Dec. 13
The shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists is most acute in low-income communities of color, according to a recent study, which concluded that “decisive action is urgently needed.” The lack of specialized and long-term care has contributed to poor teens of color being underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. A misdiagnosis can lead to the wrong care, improper medication, school detention or misperception by a justice system that is inclined to view adolescents labeled hostile as inherently threatening.

Racist doctors and organ thieves: Why so many Black people distrust the health care system
Joanne Kenen and Elaine Batchlor, Politico, Dec. 18
There is broad distrust in the Black community toward medical professionals. In October 2020, a poll found 70 percent of Black Americans believe people seeking care are treated unfairly based on race or ethnicity. Yet blaming suspicions and distrust on long-ago atrocities such as the Tuskegee experiment lets the current health care system — still rife with inequities and injustices — off the hook.

The uncounted: People of color are dying at much higher rates than what COVID data suggests
Betsy Ladyzhets, MuckRock’s Documenting COVID-19 project; Shaena Montanari, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting; and Rachel Monahan, Willamette Week, Dec. 28
The true toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on many communities of color is worse than previously known. If someone dies at home, if they have symptoms not typically associated with the disease or if they die when local health systems are overwhelmed, their death certificate might say “heart disease” or “natural causes” when COVID-19 is at fault. New research shows such inaccuracies are more likely for Americans who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native.

Racism leads to troubled sleep — and it’s putting Black Americans’ heart health at risk
Katherine Harmon Courage, STAT, Dec. 20
On average, Black adults in the U.S. get poorer sleep than white adults — often for reasons outside of their control. A growing number of experts argue that in order to address such racial disparities, health professionals need to start discussing sleep within the complex tapestry of a person’s life and surroundings. The implications of these sleep disparities are far-reaching: Habitually poor sleep increases the risk for heart disease.

From CT Health: How lawmakers can advance health equity in 2023
With the 2023 legislative session underway, many people in Connecticut are considering ways to improve health and eliminate disparities in health outcomes. This briefing identifies three key issue areas where lawmakers can make progress.