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As part of the Center for Health Journalism Fellowship, journalists work with a senior fellow to develop a special project. Recent projects have examined health disparities by ZIP code in the San Francisco Bay Area, anxiety disorders and depression in the Hispanic immigrant community in Washington state, and the importance of foreign-born doctors to health care in rural communities.
When extremely expensive new hepatitis C medications arrived on the market more than two years ago, private health insurers limited access to the very sickest. Now, two new analyses say that approach is shortsighted and counterproductive.
“We were really struck by the fact that people were incredibly acute in their need,” a disability rights attorney said after touring Sonoma County's main jail. “Higher than we’ve seen in units that are licensed designated hospital units. Something was wrong here.”
With American Indians and Alaska Natives qualifying for federal nutrition assistance programs at higher rates, several tribes are trying to improve food access while providing an economic stimulus for their communities. That can mean new grocery stores, or lower taxes on produce.
The FDA finally took action on a long-delayed petition Thursday, allowing folic acid to be added to corn-masa flour to potentially prevent birth defects. The vitamin has been added to other grains for years.
What looks like a straightforward framework to protect California’s budget from escalating drug costs has policy experts perplexed, and potential allies on the sidelines.
Despite recent cost-cutting measures, California’s spending on pharmaceuticals has gone up, and so has the number of pricey drugs it is covering. It’s not clear state agencies have the means to balance drug cost pressures with the best interests of patients, taxpayers and public health.
Gary and Beverly Trotter were asked by family services to foster their two grandsons in December. They were supposed to receive about $800 a month. Almost four months later, they’re still waiting for that money.
California’s jails were built to hold inmates for relatively short sentences — usually just a few months. But now local law enforcement is grappling with how to hold offenders for long periods of time, which is having an impact on mentally ill inmates.
In rural California, the state says the solutions to domestic violence require a cultural shift, that entire communities must take responsibility for ending violence against women. Now, new programs on the ancestral lands of the Yurok Tribe are trying to do that.
Domestic violence breeds shame and fear, which often keeps the abused from seeking help. Shame and fear also feed family and social dysfunction, and violence can become a normal part of life, a curse that gets passed down from generation to generation.

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