News - Part 3

Contextualizing Gun Violence: Suicide by Mass Murder in Newtown, CT

As part of a rising epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S., the horrific slaughter of children in Newtown, CT has rapidly turned into a political opening to advance long-standing gun-control legislation. At the same time, it has reinvigorated the age-old debate over whether guns kill people or people kill people. In reality, research on the social determinants of health would suggest that this is a false choice: the ease of accessing guns in the U.S. generates greater opportunities for gun violence. Likewise, mentally deranged individuals, choose to act out their pathologies through violent acts of aggression (i.e., if guns were less available, perhaps they would still find a way to make good on their nefarious intentions).

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day #NBHAAD

February 7th is the thirteenth commemoration and observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD).  NBHAAD is a nationwide effort to mobilize Black communities to get educated, get tested, get involved and get treated around HIV/AIDS, as it continues to devastate Black communities. HIV infection and AIDS diagnoses remain a persistent threat to the health and well-being of Black communities, locally, regionally and nationally.

The Obama Victory: A Continued Mandate for Health Care Reform?

President Obama’s surprisingly wide margin of victory and the gain of several democratic seats in the Senate was an important win for national health reform, women’s reproductive health, and for economic policies that buffer the social determinants of health. Most recently, Obama can add Florida to the count of states that chose him over Romney. But does this sweeping victory constitute an endorsement of Obama’s policies, or does it simply reflect changing demographics as many pundits have suggested in their election post-mortems? To attribute votes for Obama from minority voters to identity politics alone is overly simplistic because it confounds descriptive representation with substantive representation. Obama lost among seniors, white men and white married women voters. Apparently, Romney/Ryan’s threats to privatize Medicare did not dissuade elders from voting against their own interest.

Housing and Planning for a Healthy Public

Where you live has a profound impact on health outcomes; and Connecticut has some of the nation’s most compelling racial and ethnic inequities when it comes to health outcomes.  Designing, planning and developing healthy, affordable homes in neighborhoods of opportunity can dramatically improve health outcomes and promote health equity – all while boosting the local economy. But improving the built environment requires strategic collaborations between local public health departments, town planners, municipal leaders and other town officials, state policymakers and agencies, developers and builders, and citizens. As such, The Connecticut Association of Directors of Health (CADH) released a policy brief called Housing and Planning for a Healthy Public: Land use, Design and Development to Promote Health Equity.

Health Disparities, No Laughing Matter #hjctforum

In a time when the politics of the day seems more polarized than ever on the issues that affect us all, humor can be used to connect people with different points of views. Health Justice CT is proud to host “Health Disparities, No Laughing Matter,” a light hearted dialogue of a serious subject.  The event will take place on Monday, May 21st, 6:00pm, at The Grove, located on 71 Orange Street in New Haven. Jay Finch, featured columnist for the Hartford Courant and Journalism professor at Southern Connecticut State University, writes about world events, politics, race, religion, and law enforcement – pretty serious stuff. However, something of Jay’s that really caught our attention was a hilarious article he wrote about getting a Colonoscopy.

Health Spending Doesn’t Equal Better Health

How is this for counter-intuitive? The best way to improve health in our country is to have the government spend less on it. In some ways I agree with my fellow contributor, Ashley Fox, when she points to the importance of social determinants of health (although I disagree on economic inequality as I pointed out here). Here is my hypothesis. If you believe in the social determinants of health, you should want the government to spend less on healthcare. The simplest way to understand social determinants of health is this equation: healthcare ≠ health.

Why Health Insurance Isn’t Broccoli, It’s Mega Millions

At the same time as millions of people raced to buy Mega Millions tickets in the hopes of striking it big last week, the Supreme Court was taking a gamble with the lives of millions of Americans in their deliberation over the constitutionality of the individual mandate that is the cornerstone of Obama’s signature health reform law. The coincidence of the health reform hearings happening at the same time as the biggest mega millions pot in history got me thinking about the ways that health insurance more closely resembles the lottery thanbroccoli as Justice Scalia suggested in one of the hearings.

Are you getting your ‘bang for your buck’ with Obamacare?

“Recent data provided by the nation’s largest health insurance companies reveals that a provision of the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – is bringing big numbers of the uninsured into the health care insurance system.” – Forbes 2011 It is this rhetoric that fuels some public health officials and Obama supporters.  I can picture it, a political team or polling group in a closed room discussing these numbers, half the room giving of high fives “the program is working” and a small contingent in the corner asking “what does this really mean in the grand scheme of health CARE.” The Affordable Care Act, heavily debated in 2008, addressed the fiscal health of the insurance industry.  Recalling the President addressing the nation draped by nurses along with Connecticut’s own Sen. Christopher Dodd in the rose garden, I wondered, why we are missing the big picture. Fiscal health albeit important is…

The 2012 Agenda: The Bipartisan Appeal of Improving Biomedical Research Infrastructure

With the race for the GOP nomination for the presidential election now in full swing, the 2012 political agenda is now the object of public debate and discussion.  Chief among these political agenda issues involves healthcare. President Obama’s first term in office saw healthcare reform as a primary focus with the passage of his healthcare reform bill in 2009, which aimed to cut long-term costs, invest in prevention and wellness, and to assure affordable coverage amongst other goals. Partisan politics almost derailed Obama’s attempts at addressing healthcare equity and will continue to plaque the political landscape.  For this reason, I argue that the 2012 agenda should focus on issues that appear to have some bipartisan support, are related to health equity outcomes and can be improved upon. These issues should satisfy the core constituencies of the Republican and Democratic parties: involve the free market and stimulate economic growth (Republican party)…

Economic Justice is the only Sustainable Means of Achieving Health Justice

As a health leader/advocate, I submit that, ironically, the 2012 political agenda should NOT be focused on health at all. For instance, we should NOT be talking about insurance coverage of birth control. In spite of being an untiring advocate for sexual and reproductive rights, I believe that this dialogue is a highly distracting and divisive wedge issue. We also should NOT be talking about the health reform. Again, the public is torn over what to make of this complicated legislation. Instead, I propose that the 2012 presidential election should focus on what it is already largely focused on, which is economic inequality.