Welcome to our media digest for the week of July 1, 2016! Below you’ll find summaries of news coverage on the issues of preventing violence, trauma, nutrition, health equity, mental health, and more. The views expressed in these articles do not reflect those of Prevention Institute.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-3 to strike down two provisions of a Texas anti-abortion law—covering admitting privileges and surgical center requirements—as unconstitutional, placing an “undue burden” on women seeking out the procedure. As reported previously by Rewire, before the implementation of HB 2, there were approximately 41 facilities providing abortion services in the state, and 22 of those facilities had either closed or stopped providing abortion services by the end of 2013, the year much of the law took effect. However, the Court’s decision is just the first step to restoring access to reproductive health care in the state: Most of the state’s clinics that have been forced to close will not be able to immediately reopen, if they reopen at all. Many other states have similar laws on the books that are not automatically overturned by the Supreme Court’s decision, but this decision could serve as precedent in ongoing and future legal challenges. Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision, Planned Parenthood announced this week that it will file legal challenges against abortion restrictions in eight states. “We’ve reached a tipping point,” said Helene Krasnoff, senior director of public policy litigation and law at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “These laws are unjust, dangerous and they're unconstitutional.”
Watch actor Jesse Williams, known for his role on Grey’s Anatomy, give a powerful, resonant speech on racism and racial equality (and a whole lot more) after receiving the BET’s humanitarian award, noting “If you have a critique for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”
President Obama commemorated the Stonewall Uprising last week by naming the Stonewall National Monument as the “newest addition to America’s national park system,” the United States’ first national monument to LGBTQ rights. Tuesday marked the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which is widely considered the start of the modern-day movement for LGBT rights. This piece in The Conversation argues that hate crimes against LGBTQ people are a public health Issue, noting, “…hate and discrimination can become internalized and a source of chronic stress, which in turn is a risk factor for depression…LGBTQ populations do experience higher rates of psychological distress and depression. In addition, chronic stress can disrupt normal biological functioning. This in turn can make people more susceptible to infection.” The public health professors who authored the piece have launched a campaign on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #wechallengehate. On the one-year anniversary of marriage equality, this article for KXAN takes a more critical look at the challenges that remain in the fight for LGBTQ acceptance, particularly in Texas, which is one of 28 states that still doesn’t include gays and lesbians in its nondiscrimination law. And on Thursday, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military is ending.
Nineteen states have passed laws blocking local governments from raising the minimum wage above the state level. Some laws, such as Colorado’s, enacted in 1999, have been in place for a long time. However, 11 out of the 19 laws have been enacted since 2013...These laws range geographically from coast to coast, but 13 out of the 19 preemption laws were signed into law by a Republican governor. On top of this, 15 states have banned localities from establishing paid sick leave requirements, including 14 of the states that have also blocked higher minimum wage laws at the local level.
This Red Cross poster showing only kids of color doing 'dangerous' things in a community pool – while white kids are portrayed exhibiting “good” behavior – has come under criticism for racism and overlooking disparities in drowning deaths and the racialized history of public swimming pools.
Vox uses social math and gripping visuals to impress the severity of the gun violence epidemic in America. Using data from the Gun Violence Archive, police reports, and local press releases, the article relays that "someone was shot every 17 minutes during the sit-in (88 people in all)." (via BMSG) Think Progress reviews numerous studies and find that gun control legislation passed on the state level, even in the wake of mass shootings, is actually more likely to loosen restrictions and increase access to assault weapons than to advance gun control.
In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that reckless domestic assaults can be considered misdemeanor crimes and that people with DV misdemeanors on their records can be barred by federal law from buying or owning a gun for life.
NFL announced it will give $10 million in funding to Raliance to prevent sexual violence. Raliance is a partnership between the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
Health Systems Transformation
U.S. residents in 2012 spent about $30.2 billion on complementary approaches to health care, according to a federal study released last week. Examples of "complementary" approaches include products such as chiropractor visits, meditation and yoga. Daniel Fabricant, executive director and CEO of the National Products Association, said, "People are fed up with the type of care they get from primary physicians that is covered by insurance" and "[a]cross the board ... are looking for ways to stay healthy on their own."
As California Healthline reports, in Alameda County, a major effort is underway to reduce ER visits. The partnership includes four Sutter Health hospitals and two Alameda Health System hospitals. Since the program began on March 31, Alta Bates and Highland Hospitals have discovered they shared more than 2,000 patients, and over a third of them made six or more ER visits in the past year. Hospitals that want to avoid having their payments reduced by federal penalties for readmissions have a strong incentive to collaborate in order to avoid unnecessary ER visits by Medicare patients. But what sets Alameda County’s effort apart is that it also plans to include community health clinics and other social service organizations, so they too will receive alerts from the hospitals when their patients seek emergency care.
U.S. residents' out-of-pocket costs for hospitalizations increased by nearly 40 percent between 2009 and 2013, according to a new study in JAMA. Patients' average out-of-pocket hospitalization costs rose 6.5 percent annually, increasing from $738 to $1,013 over the course of the study.
Civil Eats profiles Los Angeles Unified School District’s Good Food Purchasing policy, which directs tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds spent on school food to “support five overarching values: local economies, environmental sustainability, fair labor practices, animal welfare, and healthy food.”
Virginia became the ninth state to ban smoking in cars if children age eight or younger are passengers.
An excise tax on sugary drinks is moving to the November ballot in Boulder, Colorado. The measure is projected to raise $3 million/year, with revenues flowing to healthy food and activity programs. San Francisco’s November tax ballot measure also moved ahead this week.
The Nation’s Health launched a multimedia series on the social determinants of health.
In a statement published this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, two dozen researchers urged schools and communities to ensure access to playgrounds, parks and bike lanes as a means of improving children’s health and performance at school.
Volkswagen will pay up to $14.7 billion in the US alone to compensate car owners and settle lawsuits over rigged software that concealed high pollution output. That includes $4.7 billion in fines to the EPA and CA Air Resources Board.
A Health Affairs blog finds that efforts to reduce stigma around mental health by framing it as biologically based/hard-wired have had the unintended consequence of promoting the perception that mental health problems cannot be prevented or mitigated: "Stigma reduction programs may be crowding out space in the conversation for prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral health problems. The idea that mental illness is biologically based, “hard-wired,” genetic, suggests there may be nothing we can do to prevent it. However, prevention is possible." Citing Alexander Leighton's book My Name is Legion on mental illness and the community, they suggest that we may not fully appreciate the extent to which community factors and stresses can influence our mental health. They advocate for a more upstream approach that addresses these community factors along with stigma and better integration of mental and physical health care.
Jill Richardson writes about her experience with depression, noting the "Catch 22" that anxiety and depression make it hard to reach out for help. She also writes about the difficulty of finding quality, affordable care and the lack of a safety net for many: "If you have a family who can support you and help you, great. But a lot of folks with mental illness get here because our families were dysfunctional in the first place."
A study published in the June issue of Health Affairs found that, as of 2010, veterans who served from the 1990s through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were more likely to have used VA mental health services and received VA disability compensation than veterans of previous service eras.
Nearly 70 media organizations in the Bay Area are currently producing articles detailing the challenges of homelessness. Access all reporting projects here. California Sunday magazine examined homelessness among SF young people, 48 percent of whom identify as LGBTQ, many LGBTQ and people of color. Mother Jones reported on health conditions facing homeless adults: “Sixty-six percent of the country's chronically homeless people—those who have a disabling condition and who've been homeless for a year or more (or four times in three years)—are living on the streets. Chronically homeless adults have high rates of mental illness, substance use, and incarceration. They tend to be sicker than both housed people and other homeless people. And they're less likely to use primary or specialty care to address their medical needs. Many make up the group of "super-utilizers": patients who rack up huge medical costs from recurring yet preventable ER and hospital visits. According to one estimate from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, more than 80 percent of all homeless people have at least one chronic health condition. More than half have a mental illness. They are frequently the victims of violent crimes, and they're more susceptible to traumatic injuries like assault and robbery.” The City of San Francisco is launching a new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing this week.
In the midst of California’s ongoing drought, oil companies having been selling farmers’ toxic wastewater from oil and gas operations to irrigate their fields and food crops. Irrigation wastewater that was tested found high levels of benzene and other cancer-causing chemicals.
The State of the Nation’s Housing Report came out, finding – for example – that Los Angeles needs 382,000 additional housing units to meet current demand among extremely low-income residents, many of whom are currently homeless.
Governor Brown signed the 2016-2017 state budget. The budget increases spending per student in K-12 schools to $10,643/year, $3,600 more than allocated per student in 2011-2012. The state also repeals the Maximum Family Grant (more info in last week’s digest), and commits to spending $3.6 billion in state and federal funds on affordable housing and addressing homelessness. The budget included funding for two programs Strategic Alliance/ENACT Day participants have advocated for:
Oakland is considering outlawing false advertising by crisis pregnancy centers. "Crisis pregnancy centers put their ideological agenda ahead of women's health," says Oakland Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington. "They target what they call 'abortion-minded women' with deceptive advertising, implying they offer abortion services or referrals."
The Oakland City Council voted unanimously this week to ban the transport and storage of coal within city limits, in an effort to block a developer’s plan to ship coal from the Port of Oakland.