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Giving Birth in Cars: The Reality of Rural America’s Maternal Health Crisis

maternal healthcare struggles

Implications of the lack of quality maternal healthcare in the United States are well documented. Pre-term birth rates are rising, maternal mental health is suffering, and maternal mortality remains high, especially in women of color. Women living in rural areas are hit even harder by these implications, as indicated by a new March of Dimes report on maternity care deserts. Let’s explore just how much living in a rural area matters when it comes to maternal health, and how we can work to improve maternity care in underserved rural areas. Maternity Care Deserts in Rural Texas Counties Maternity care deserts make up 36% of all US counties, according a 2022 March of Dimes report. These maternity care deserts contribute to the US having the highest maternal mortality rate ...

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Clinical Trials Bring Researchers Closer to Long COVID Treatments

long covid

Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks after COVID-19 infection. But some people, including many Latinos, develop long COVID. Long COVID remains an unresolved threat to the health of Latinos and all people. While health experts don’t yet fully understand long COVID symptoms and risk factors, progress is being made regarding treatment. Let’s learn more about how researchers are working to find the most effective therapies for long COVID through research studies and clinical trials. Relieving the Burden of Long COVID Symptoms The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the RECOVER research study in 2021 to learn why some people experience long COVID or develop new or returning symptoms after COVID-19 infection. Now, based on ...

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DIY Testing Kits for HPV Could Help Reduce Cancer Disparities Among Latinas

DIY HPV testing

Latinas suffer a high burden of cervical cancer, which is often caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). In fact, Latinas have the second-highest rate of dying from cervical cancer after Black women, according to the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Cervical cancer screening – commonly referred to as a Pap smear – can help reduce this disease burden. However, Latinas and other women of color face numerous barriers to cervical cancer screening, such as lack of health insurance and fear of cervical exams, which can be uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. Enter University of North Carolina researchers Jennifer S. Smith and Noel T. Brewer. The duo are part of the research team behind the My Body, My Test 3 clinical trial, which explored the ...

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Latino Adults More Likely Than Others to Skip Medication Due to Cost

skip medications due to cost

Times are financially tough for many families, especially low-income Latinos. To save money, many people are cutting costs on non-essentials, like eating out, entertainment, and more. But some people are cutting costs on items that are normally considered essential, like prescription medications, according to a recent US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report. Let’s explore what adults are most likely to skip taking medications to save money, the consequences of this behavior, and how leaders are working to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Groups Most Affected by Drug Costs Unfortunately, groups most likely to skip medication to save money are those who are already vulnerable to health disparities, according to the CDC report. These groups ...

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Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos: 2022 Conference Proceedings

latino family advancing the science of cancer in latinos

In the next few years, Latinos face a 142% rise in cancer rates. Latinos also experience cancer differently—from genetics to healthcare access to survivorship. That’s why Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, partnered with the Mays Cancer Center to create the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos (ASCL) biennial conference. Read the proceedings from the 2018 and 2020 ASCL Conferences. The 2022 ASCL Conference on Feb. 23-25, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas, welcomed over 250 prominent researchers, physicians, healthcare professionals, patient advocates, and students from across the globe to address cancer health disparities among Latinos. Conference sponsors included major supporters Genentech ...

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Childhood Cancer Survival Rates Lower on Texas-Mexico Border; SDoH-Focused Cancer Research Needed

childhood cancer leukemia

Cancer survival disparities are well documented in adults living along the US-Mexico border, but it is unknown whether these disparities similarly affect children with leukemia, the most common cancer in children and teens. A Baylor College of Medicine study in the journal Cancer helps bridge this knowledge gap. Let’s explore the findings of the study, what these findings mean for Latino children and families living along the Texas-Mexico border, and how to address cancer disparities in the Latino population. Study Findings on Leukemia in South Texas Baylor College of Medicine researchers examined the survival rates of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of pediatric leukemia, in children living along the Texas-Mexico border. The study included 6,002 Texas ...

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Report: Children Worry More Than You Think

child full of worry

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, global conflicts, and an inflated economy, families have been going through a lot lately. Children are no exception. The US is facing an “urgent public health issue” among youth, and it’s not the typical stomach bug or cough usually associated with children – it’s their mental health. In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re highlighting the reasons elementary and middle school-age children worry, how often they worry, and their coping mechanisms, according to a recent report by Nemours KidsHealth. We’ll also touch on what parents can do to help their children through worrisome times. Why Do Children Worry? Of the 504 children between ages 9 and 13 who responded to the Nemours survey, worries centered around school ...

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Why Forest Bathing Should Be on Your To-Do List

forest bathing couple

Research shows that access to nature can improve health outcomes. But walking on trails, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities aren’t equitably accessible for everyone, such as the elderly and low-income communities. A new study suggests that forest bathing can help people over 65 maximize the mental health benefits of spending time in nature – without the added challenge of physical activity. Here’s why forest bathing should become part of your spring routine! What is Forest Bathing? The Japanese term shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing," refers to spending time in nature while focusing on what you hear, taste, and smell. The idea is to be fully present with whatever sensations you feel. “Everybody has their own experience. The forest knows what you need,” ...

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Study: Latinos Are Underrepresented in Racial Equity News

Latinos in racial equity news

Latinos face a variety of inequities that contribute to poor health, including disproportionate rates of police brutality, housing instability, and financial hardship. These inequities are rooted in racially biased systems and structures that foster the unequal treatment of Latinos and other people of color. News institutions play a powerful role in shaping conversations around racial/ethnic equity, but a new study by the Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) in collaboration with UnidosUS shows that Latinos are underrepresented in news coverage on this topic. Let’s explore the implications of Latinos being underrepresented in racial/ethnic equity news, and how to best showcase the contributions, challenges, and needs of Latinos among policymakers, racial equity advocates, and ...

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