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The Rise of Screening for Social Determinants of Health


SDoH screening

Did you know that your Zip code is more important than your genetic code in predicting how long you will live? That’s right – where you live can have a big impact on your health. In fact, our health is influenced by a variety of non-medical factors, such as the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and age. These conditions are known as social determinants of health (SDoH). Addressing SDoH is key to improving health for Latinos and all people. Numerous studies suggest that SDoH accounts for between 30-55% of health outcomes and SDoH influences individual health behaviors, which account for another 30% of health outcomes. Fortunately, healthcare systems are placing more emphasis on screening patients for SDoH. This means that when patients come to medical ...

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New Year, Same Concerns: Why Racism is Still a Public Health Crisis in 2023


racism

As we begin a new year, it’s important to take a step back and appreciate our achievements. But it’s also critical to recognize our shortcomings – especially in public health, which affects everyone. Here’s your reminder why racism is still a public health crisis in 2023, and how you can help support the health of all people. What is Racism? Racism is the discrimination or prejudice of others based on their race or ethnic group. Racism has existed for thousands of years globally and is deeply rooted in our nation’s history. Populations of color, such as Blacks and Latinos, often experience racism. Racism against others can happen directly, such as denying someone a job because of their race, or indirectly, such as through structural policies that perpetuate ...

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Why Don’t Latinos Enroll in Clinical Trials?


Latinos hesitant to join clinical trials

Clinical trials are the most safe, rigorous way of testing for new and more effective disease treatments. Although Latinos comprise 18.9% of the US population, they make up just 10% of participants in clinical trials run by the National Cancer Institute and 4% of drug trials run by the FDA. This massive underrepresentation of Latinos in clinical trials makes it hard for researchers to develop new treatments for this group, which suffers a heavy burden of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. Further, diseases present differently in Latinos than White populations – who traditionally make up most clinical trial participants. For example, Latinos on average present symptoms of Alzheimer’s approximately seven years earlier than other racial and ethnic groups, and are ...

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Celebrating National Latino/a Physician’s Day 2022!


Physician Day

Latinos make up almost 19% of the total US population, but account for only 6% of US physicians. This lack of Latino representation in medicine negatively affects Latino patient health. For example, Latinos may be less likely to get the care they need due to physician implicit bias and language and cultural barriers. Studies also show that a lack of diversity in healthcare workers contributes to heath inequities, such as higher rates of maternal health issues in Latinas and worse health outcomes for Latino cancer patients, compared to their white counterparts. To boost diversity, Drs. Michael Galvez and Cesar Padilla are leading the effort to celebrate Oct. 1, 2022, as National Latino/a Physician’s Day. “We need more Latino and Latinas in medicine that are able to take ...

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New Study Sheds Light on Maternal Health Issues and Need for Diversity Among Nurses


Nurse diversity

Nurses are lifelines for mothers-to-be, helping recognize complications early during labor and delivery. Maternal health for Latinas could improve even further with a more diverse nurse workforce, according to a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers found that Latinas who gave birth in states with the highest proportion of minority nurses experienced a 31% reduced risk of severe adverse maternal health outcomes, including eclampsia, blood transfusion, hysterectomy, or intensive care unit admission. Why might this be? Researchers believe that if the nurse workforce more closely resembled the diversity of patients, there could be a reduction in provider implicit bias, or subconscious preferences for white patients over those of color. “A ...

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More Cities Are Banning Smoking in Apartment Units


no smoking in apartments in riverside and vallejo california multifamily secondhand smoke

Two more cities have prohibited smoking inside apartment units. On April 26, 2022, Riverside, Calif., city leaders preliminarily approved a ban on smoking in multifamily-housing rental complexes, including individual apartment homes and attached balconies and patios. Latino tenants helped drive the measure. On May 10, 2022, Vallejo, Calif., city leaders banned smoking in multi-unit residences. Bans like these—to reduce exposure to harmful secondhand smoke among apartment and condo tenants—are on the rise. "Upon adoption, Riverside would join at least 167 California cities and counties that have enacted ordinances to restrict smoking in multifamily housing complexes, said Karina Funez, advocacy policy manager for the American Lung Association in California, which has been ...

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New Orleans Bans Soft Drinks on Kids Menus in Restaurants


New Orleans Bans Soft Drinks on Kid’s Menus in Restaurants

Next year in New Orleans, kids won’t be able to order a Coke off the kids menu in restaurants. On Jan. 6, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will require restaurants to serve water, milk, or fruit juice with kids meals, according to New Orleans Public Radio. While the ordinance faced some pushback from the soft drink beverage industry, advocates believe this new rule will make a difference in preventing childhood obesity. What Does the Ordinance Say about Soft Drinks on Kids Menus? The city health department pitched the ordinance to remove soft drinks and make healthier options as the default beverages on kids menus. New Orleans City Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen put it to a vote. “This is really about helping our young people to stay healthy, ...

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How Can We Measure Transportation Insecurity?


transportation insecurity

Inadequate transportation can hurt a person’s social, economic, and health outcomes. But planners and policymakers have not had a good tool to measure transportation insecurity—a condition in which one is unable to regularly move from place to place in a safe or timely manner due to the absence of the material, economic, or social resources needed for transportation. So, in 2018, researchers from University of Michigan and others created a tool to explore transportation security modeled after the Food Security Index and based on interviews with families living in poverty. They call it the Transportation Security Index. In 2021, they validated the 16-question index using a nationally representative sample. “We hope [the Transportation Security Index 16] will be adopted ...

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