Health & Medicine

Mind, Body, Spirit, Government Funds: Is IHS Failing Native Americans?

Native American communities have significantly higher rates of suicide, overdoses, and alcohol poisoning than the general population. For health care providers in these communities, mental health care poses a unique set of challenges. And this has only been exacerbated by COVID-19.  

Hospices Have Become Big Business for Private Equity Firms

Hospice care, once provided primarily by nonprofit agencies, has seen a remarkable shift over the past decade, with more than two-thirds of hospices nationwide now operating as for-profit entities. The ability to turn a quick profit in caring for people in their last days of life is attracting a new breed of hospice owners: private equity firms.  

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Period Products

During the national tampon shortage earlier this summer, people who menstruate worried about where to find period products. As tampons come back to shelves, that worry has subsided; but few consumers are worried about what is in these products. They should be.  

Is the NCAA Doing Enough to Protect Mental Health?

When the University of North Carolina (UNC) took the court during the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship final last April, it represented an accomplishment for both the Tar Heels, whose tournament hopes looked bleak for much of the season, and senior guard Rechon “Leaky” Black, who had been dealing with significant anxiety.    

To Stem Monkeypox Spread, Health Departments Tap Into Networks of Most at Risk

On July 23, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. It was a contentious decision, with the WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, making the final call and overruling the WHO’s emergency committee.   

Post-Pandemic Life: Out With the New, in With the Old

Is It “Post-Pandemic” Yet?

  A new offers a glimpse of what the country looks like as COVID-19 settles into American life. Not surprisingly, Americans are keen to hang on to some pandemic innovations — hello, remote work and curbside pickup! — and ditch other changes such as virtual cocktail parties and telehealth visits.   

Gun Safety ‘Wrapped in a Mental Health Bill’: Health Provisions in the New Law

The gun safety law forged through tense bipartisan talks in the Senate last month has been heralded as the first federal legislation in 30 years to combat rising gun violence. But what often falls below the radar is the new law’s focus on improving mental health services.  

Does the Flu Shot Protect Against Alzheimer’s?

For the past three decades, researchers have searched for treatments to prevent or slow the spread of Alzheimer’s disease. While there is still no cure, researchers may have found a treatment in an unexpected form — the influenza vaccine.

Unlikely Senate Alliance Fights to Make Hearing Aids More Affordable

In this era of hyperpartisanship, it is noteworthy any time a Democrat and a Republican are working together — especially if they are as far apart ideologically as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). But this unlikely duo has been teaming up for years to make hearing aids more accessible for the millions of Americans who need them.   

The Week in COVID: Amidst the Chaos

Here we are, halfway through 2022, and already well past our capacity for bad news. COVID-19 has been with us for over two and a half years, and in that time it has claimed in the US alone. Still, every day, we learn more about how we can combat the virus through science and protect each other with cooperation and compassion.   

‘My Body, My Choice’: How Vaccine Foes Co-opted the Abortion Rallying Cry

LOS ANGELES — In the shadow of L.A.’s art deco City Hall, musicians jammed onstage, kids got their faces painted, and families picnicked on lawn chairs. Amid the festivity, people waved flags, sported T-shirts, and sold buttons — all emblazoned with a familiar slogan: “My Body, My Choice.”  

Feds Want a Policy That Would Let Hospitals Off the Hook for COVID-Era Lapses

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is responding to the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic to hide from the public a rating that lets consumers compare hospitals’ safety records and to waive approximately $350 million in financial penalties for

Despite EPA’s Partial Ban, Advocates Say More Action Is Needed on Asbestos

Anti-asbestos activists say the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) victory lap over their ban of one type of asbestos is premature and that legislation is needed to completely ban the harmful substance once and for all.    Earlier this week, the EPA moved to ban the ongoing use of the only known type of raw asbestos that is currently imported into the United States, nearly 50 years after the first regulation on asbestos products was implemented. 

Vitamin D Deficiency in African Americans May Worsen COVID-19

Andi Fielder was prescribed high doses of vitamin D to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis in 2017. She became an advocate for vitamin D when she learned that as an African American she was predisposed to vitamin D deficiency. “I’m a big vitamin D advocate,” the 37-year-old Coloradan said. “It’s a big problem with Black people in the US, because we don’t have enough sun.”

We All Have a Role to Play in Hygiene Theater

–PERSPECTIVE–   I smile and say “Good morning, Jose,” to my super as I walk out my front door. But Jose can’t really hear me through the hazmat suit he has been wearing for weeks. The co-op board of my building in Queens, NY, sends us emails every time someone in the building tests positive for COVID-19. We’ve gotten three this week.   

This Week in Pandemic: Variations on a Theme in COVID Major

There was something chillingly surreal about watching Nathan Chen dance across the ice to in figure skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics, then as soon as he stepped off the rink.

The View From COVID Country: Is the Pandemic Creating Further Racial Tensions?

As the coronavirus continues to surprise us with new variants, many folks are flummoxed by mandates and protocols that are vague, confusing, and changing daily. In this series, our correspondents around the country report on their region’s messaging and management of the latest stage of the pandemic.    – PERSPECTIVE –  

The View From COVID Country: Masks, Mandates, and Protests in CA

– OPINION –   In late December, our kids’ school in Newport Beach, CA, sent out an email encouraging families to self-test for COVID-19 before classes resumed. According to emails we received from the school, more than a dozen kids stayed home that first week of January, and the numbers continued to rise in the second and third week. With Zoom lessons mostly eliminated, a COVID-19 infection now means double the work for a child to catch up with their classmates.

Will Anti-Vaxxers Merge With More Violent Groups to Destabilize the US?

   — OPINION —   Last week to an upcoming rally in Washington protesting the mandate requiring vaccinations for participating in activities with the vaccinated, in schools, bars and restaurants, public transit, and so forth. 

Vaccine Skeptics to March on Washington — With a Dangerous & Confusing Message

  -REPORTED ANALYSIS-   On January 23, vaccine skeptics and mask resisters, influenced in part by podcaster Joe Rogan, will gather in Washington, DC, not far from where hordes attacked the Capitol a year ago.   

The View From COVID Country: Rationing Tests and Waiting for Answers

As the coronavirus continues to surprise us with new variants, many folks are flummoxed by mandates and protocols that are vague, confusing, and changing daily. In this series, our correspondents around the country report on their region’s messaging and management of the latest stage of the pandemic.  – OPINION –  

The Naked Truth About Republican Sen. Ron Johnson

Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson invokes a higher authority to explain his opposition to vaccines. “Why do we think we can create something better than God in terms of combating disease?” he asks.

This Week in Pandemic: It’s All Greek to Us

On November 20, The New York Times entertained the tantalizing thought of an , remarking on “the summer’s Delta surge in the rearview mirror.” Unfortunately, the coronavirus didn’t get the memo.

Midwives Deliver More Than Babies With Roe v. Wade on the Line

As the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, pro-choice hearts sank. One of the most significant challenges to Roe v. Wade in years, the case centers around a gestational age ban, meaning it would outlaw abortion after 15 weeks. Why 15? It seems to be a random number, independent of fetal viability, which is generally set at 24 weeks.

“Another One Bites the Dust”*

At least five conservative, anti-vaccination radio hosts have died of COVID-19 since July. *The most recent was Bob Enyart, who in the ‘90s enjoyed reading aloud the names of those who died of AIDS while playing the Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust.”

Asian Americans Aren’t a Monolith, but COVID-19 Data Treats Them All the Same

As the pandemic began engulfing New York City last year, a 24-hour-a-day convenience store called Punjab Grocery & Halal Meat stood out on Coney Island Avenue as a pillar of the “Little Pakistan” neighborhood of Brooklyn. Run by two Pakistani brothers, Ahmed and Mustafa Razvi, the store stocking essential Pakistani and Indian goods and groceries stayed open around the clock, until suddenly it began closing from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. as COVID-19 hit home and left the store short-staffed.

Other Bad Stuff Your Mask Keeps Out

Hospitals are bursting at the seams with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. Many will die and be transferred to refrigerated trucks discreetly waiting outside. More COVID-19 patients will instantly fill the vacated beds.    Then along comes a hurricane, or flood, or fire, that sends more victims to the hospital.    Adding to this hellish stew comes a power blackout, and you wonder if the hospitals’ backup generators will continue to keep lifesaving equipment working. What if they run out of fuel?  

What’s the Deal With: Booster Shots

With the first round of COVID-19 vaccine rollouts still ongoing, and of Americans yet to receive the first dose of any vaccine, a new question has gained traction: Will everyone need booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine? 

This Week in Pandemic: Masks, Mandates, and Multiple Realities

With the CDC’s recent change in masking guidelines and its director, Rochelle Walensky, making rounds on networks talking about the deadliness of the Delta variant, states around the US have taken to updating or reinstating their mask mandates. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), for example, is attempting to reverse a law he signed months ago against mask mandates in schools.   

COVID-19 Around the World: Vaccine Successes and Missteps

In May, our correspondents on select countries’ responses to COVID-19 outbreaks, their differing vaccine production and rollout protocols, and the impact on citizens. Here are further updates on the state of some of these global efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.     

South Africa

What’s the Deal With: “Gain-of-Function” Research

Welcome to the inaugural column of “What’s the Deal With…?” In this occasional series, we’ll look at current topics everyone’s talking about but many of us don’t fully understand. Scientists, politicians, educators — pretty much every “expert” speaks in jargon. Not to worry — we’re here to guide you through the forest to help you better understand the issues facing us today and be better armed to make your own decisions.

To Mask or Not to Mask: A Beginner’s Guide

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement last month that fully vaccinated individuals can forgo masks and social distancing rules, a growing number of Americans are now plagued with the seemingly impossible question: How can I go mask-free without people mistaking me for an ?