Health News Roundup

The lack of diversity among genetic counselors, a car mechanic addressing the shortage of black doctors, and more in this week’s roundup


Genetic counselors of color tackle racial, ethnic disparities in health care
Erika Stallings, NPR, July 27
As a black woman, Altovise Ewing is also a rarity in her profession. Genetic counselors work with patients to decide when genetic testing is appropriate, interpret any test results and counsel patients on the ways hereditary diseases might impact them or their families. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of genetic counselors is expected to grow by 29% between 2016 and 2026, compared with 7% average growth rate for all occupations. However, despite the field’s rapid growth, the number of African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans working as genetic counselors has remained low.

New data shows more black, Latino children live in poverty than whites 
Kelan Lyons, The Connecticut Mirror, July 30
Despite improvements in teen birth rates and child health insurance rates, more Connecticut children are living in single parent families and households that pay more than 30% of their income for housing, according to the 2019 Kids Count Data Book, an annual report on children’s wellbeing throughout the country. The state’s high ranking— number eight overall — masks significant racial and ethnic disparities. Poverty rates of white children stayed relatively stable, between 4% and 6%, between 2005 and 2017, while those for black and Latino children fluctuated between 20% and 34%. The data also shows that one in five black children, and one in five Latino youth, live in concentrated poverty, compared to one in 100 white children.


Car mechanic shifts gears, becomes a doctor at age 47 and helps address shortage of black doctors
Michael K. McIntyre,, July 28
Carl Allamby became an expert diagnostician after spending his childhood ducking his head under the hoods of Chevys and Fords with the older guys in his East Cleveland neighborhood. The car mechanic is now a people mechanic at Cleveland Clinic Akron General hospital, where he recently started as a resident. He’s done more than rebuild his own career: He has narrowed, by one, the huge gap in black doctors in this country, particularly black male doctors.

Children of color’s health can be affected by racism. Here’s what doctors can do to help 
Sasha-Ann Simons, WAMU Radio, July 31
A new policy by the American Academy of Pediatrics focuses on the role of racism in child and adolescent development and health care. Researchers explored why disparities in health outcomes correlate to a patient’s race, and examine how early the pattern begins.When it comes to children’s health, it’s up to pediatricians and other child health professionals to counsel families of all races on the effects of exposure to racism as victims, bystanders, and perpetrators.