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This weekend was the second session of the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship conferences in Los Angeles, and the event provided some fascinating and newsy morsels. Here's a round-up of what some of the speakers had to say (Check out more detailed blog items here as well.).

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As the 2010 Census gets underway, journalists need a more sophisticated understanding of people over 65 to report on them accurately, says Steven Wallace, a University of California-Los Angeles public health researcher.

"There is no 'The Elderly,'" he told California Endowment Health Journalism Fellows at a Los Angeles seminar on Sunday. "The elderly are a complex mixture of individuals. It's important to realize there are different groups and profile the diversity within them."

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Watts

In "LaVonna's World," people in South Los Angeles are able to buy healthy, fresh food at reasonable prices in grocery stores near their homes. They're able to see a specialist when they need to and get the health insurance they need. They don't suffer disproportionately from diseases like diabetes and asthma.

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Maywood, Calif., has created a "culture of participation" to help solve its pollution problems, particularly contaminated water.

 

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California sends out about three billion dollars a year to the disabled and elderly so they can buy food and afford housing. But in the second part of our series, Senior Insecurity, Capital Public Radio found there's little oversight of this program.

Even though Supplemental Security Income - or SSI - is California's second most expensive health and human services program, the state doesn't track whether it's enough to live on or how people spend their money.

 

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National Health Journalism Fellows today toured Watts and came away with a more nuanced understanding of the health and socioeconomic issues facing this economically stressed but still hopeful Los Angeles community. At the Watts Labor Community Action Committee Center in the heart of Watts, Fellows learned about health disparities and HIV/AIDS among blacks from public health officials, policy experts, community leaders and journalists.

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From the opening keynote of this week's National Health Journalism Fellowship seminar, prevention and health beyond just health care have been common themes. Today's afternoon panelists gave examples of programs that take simple, novel approaches to integrating physical activity into people's daily lives.

Take a Walk

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The medical examiner called Dr. Bernard N. Bass with some bad news: one of his
patients had been found dead. Bass refused to sign the death certificate.

Picture of William Heisel

UPDATE: The Associated Press reported Monday afternoon that Dr. Conrad Murray gave Jackson propofol to help him sleep, and the dose proved to be lethal. Today, police and federal drug enforcement officials are reportedly searching Murray's Las Vegas home.

It is the most anticipated autopsy in modern history.

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