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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.

Bell County in southeastern Kentucky currently has the eighth worst prescription drug death rate in the nation. Victims are citizens of every economic level, and the effects are hurting innocent people.

This story is part of a series that examines prescription drug abuse in Kentucky.

As drug-related deaths continue to rise, state funding for patient outreach is on the decline. This story is part of a series that examines prescription drug abuse in Kentucky.

From greener school lunches to required nutritional information printed on fast-food menus, it's clear that state and federal governments are urging Americans to take control of their health -- starting with food. This is part four in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

 

In an effort to promote healthier eating habits among students, Merced County school officials are eliminating foods high in fat from school meal offerings and replacing them with fruits, vegetables and other nutritious alternatives. This is part three in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Candy bars, Pop-Tarts and french fries were always on the menu in Ruth Sanchez's daily diet.

For years, the 17-year-old consistently made poor eating choices. "Fast food is what I would eat the most," she recalled.

Ruth, a former Merced Scholars Charter School student, said the two main reasons she turned to fast food were because it was affordable and easy to get.

"You are on the run, and you are going to get something from the $1 menu," she explained. "It's quick and it's the cheapest."

Not only did Ruth, who weighs 183 pounds, make the wrong choices when it came to eating, she also didn't live an active life.

That's no longer the case. She has made a dramatic change in her habits.

This is part two in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Low prices, availability and aggressive targeted marketing are all factors that ensure children and teenagers are eating more fast food than ever before. The Network for a Healthy California is pushing for outdoor advertising that encourages healthier choices. This is part one in a four-part series.

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Despite being for-profit institutions, Sierra Vista and Twin Cities Community Hospital lead the way in providing care to those less fortunate in the region.

A San Luis Obispo doctor's prescription for weight loss has proven effective, but are weight loss drugs safe? Experts caution against the potential risks and downsides.

After nearly a decade of deficit, French Hospital Medical Center is finally on the financial mend. Back on its feet, the center is making ambitious expansion plans for its future.

Records show that the financial troubles that forced the closure of Mee Memorial Hospital began as early as a year prior. Despite ambitions to deliver adequate patient care, the hospital's money problems continued to worsen.

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Want to improve your data journalism skills?  Apply now for the 2018 Data Fellowship -- four all-expenses-paid days of training on data acquisition, analysis and visualization, plus a $2,000-$4,000  reporting grant and six months of expert mentoring.  Dates:  October 17-20. Deadline: August 27 for California journalists, Sept. 7 for journalists from other states

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