Welcome to our media digest for the week of October 28, 2016! Below you’ll find summaries of news coverage on the issues of preventing violence, trauma, nutrition, health equity, mental health, and more. The views expressed in these articles do not reflect those of Prevention Institute.
Violence Prevention and Unintentional Injury
ThinkProgress reports on the NFL’s domestic violence policies – comparing the League’s promises to its current situation, which it describes as “a mess,” with a “personal conduct policy that is far more lenient than first publicized; a frustrating inability to conduct investigations into domestic violence and sexual assault cases; and a questionable commitment to education, rehabilitation, and awareness,” as well as an interest in crisis management that supersedes any interest in meaningfully addressing the problem of domestic violence.
This article in the Atlantic details the ways football alters the brain of youth, even as young as eight years old. The piece notes that an imaging study in the journal Radiology today showed that players from 8 to 13 who have had no concussion symptoms still show changes associated with traumatic brain injury. Study co-author Joel Stitzel states, “You have fewer than 2,000 people playing in the NFL, which gets all the media attention. But there's actually about 2,000 kids playing for every NFL player—3.5 million kids playing youth football in the U.S. About whom there is very, very little information.”
In an opinion piece for Politico, Frank Serpico, former New York City police detective, argues that the only way to hold police accountable is to break the police fraternity mentality -- the police code of silence about shootings and other crimes committed by police against civilians, particularly communities of color. He suggests the federal government establish a program within police departments to reward whistleblowers. And while police brutality is grabbing headlines in big cities across the country — places like Albuquerque, where the issue is also boiling over, are often overlooked.
The New York Times has analyzed 130 mass shootings over the last year to gain insight into the effectiveness of background checks and assault weapons bans as preventive measures, whether campus carry laws fuel violence and whether it is too easy for people with mental illness to obtain guns. They found that tighter gun restrictions would have saved lives in some cases; however, they note that in more than half of the cases studied, at least one assailant was already barred from having a weapon. (via BMSG)
Alternet reports on a new study that looked at how predictive policing works in Oakland, California, found that the algorithm used specifically targeted black neighborhoods when it analyzed crime data and decided where officers should be deployed. As BMSG notes, “The study also found that even though drug use is common in all areas of Oakland, arrests for drug use were concentrated in black neighborhoods. Police across the nation are adopting these predictive policing tools to determine where to send patrol cars, but this technology is only furthering discrimination.” (via BMSG)
Police arrest over 120 protesters serving as water protectors as Dakota Access speeds up pipeline construction. Witnesses say police pepper-sprayed the protesters and then arrested them en masse, and discharged rubber bullets to shoot down drones the water protectors were using to document the police activity. In response, water protectors are demanding the Department of Justice intervene to halt the state violence. According to the Morton County sheriff's office, the private security guards who deployed dogs on protesters at the North Dakota oil pipeline demonstration could face criminal charges because the "dog handlers were not properly licensed to do security work in the state of North Dakota." Meanwhile, nine Native American tribes are trying to shorten the 200-mile trip required for early voting.
NPR features the Marshfield Clinic, a clinic in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, that specializes in caring for people with disabilities and those who need extra help to get through checkup and cleaning. Patients at the clinic have a range of disabilities -- from autism to Rett syndrome. The article notes that many of the clinic's patients were unable to access dental care before the opening of the Marshfield clinic, as other dentists and hospitals were not trained to treat them. (via BMSG)
Colorlines and Vox cover the lawsuit filed by racial justice groups Color of Change and the Center for Constitutional Rights against the DHS and FBI after uncovered documents show they had been collecting information on, and surveilling, activists in Baltimore, Ferguson, and other cities via their social media accounts.
Colorlines reports on a new study showing that after reading case studies of fictional male students, teachers were more likely to recommend white boys for advanced studies testing and more likely to recommend that students of color receive additional behavioral help.
An ACLU lawsuit argues that a Michigan Catholic hospital system’s ban on postpartum tubal ligations violated an ACA provision because it discriminates on the basis of sex by “denying women a fundamental component of pregnancy- and childbirth-related care.” A new report put out by the World Economic Forum estimated it would take 170 years to erase the world’s gender pay gap. The report authors state the magnitude of the gender gap in countries is due to "various socio-economic, policy and cultural variables." Finally, 24/7 Wall St. explores how factors such as workplace policies and women's representation in leadership positions influence gender inequality. Using data from a 2013 Center for American Progress report, the article ranks all 50 states based on how favorable they are to women, across a range of measures related to health, leadership and financial security.
The American Cancer Society reports that lesbian and bisexual women experience higher rates of breast cancer than their heterosexual peers. The article notes that access to care can be more difficult for people in the LGBTQ+ community, as patients report feeling less comfortable with health care providers. (via BMSG)
On Tuesday, 42 Senate Democrats drew a hard line in negotiations over the National Defense Authorization Act because of the tacked-on GOP Russell Amendment, which, if passed, could undo workplace protections for 28 million people in federal contracting jobs including LGBTQ+ people, women, and religious minorities by allowing federal contractors and grantees to discriminate against their employees based on their religious beliefs.
Health Systems Transformation
In ACA news, the New York Times reports that premiums for midlevel health plans will increase by an average of 25 percent next year, while consumers in some states will find significantly fewer insurance companies offering coverage. But the Obama administration said three-fourths of consumers would still be able to find plans for less than $100 a month with the help of federal subsidies. But as Vox points out, Obamacare’s marketplaces aren’t just struggling with higher premiums. The number of counties with just one health insurer selling on Healthcare.gov will more than quadruple this year, rising from 182 counties in 2016 to 960 counties in 2017. Meanwhile, Community Catalyst lays out four ways consumers seeking health insurance on the marketplaces may have better, and more affordable, options than they think, including: approximately 85 percent of marketplace consumers are eligible for and currently receiving financial assistance; the way premiums are changing depends on where you live; most consumers will be able to choose from multiple plans; and consumers should explore all plan options to find a better deal.
According to new analysis from the Center for American Progress, which examined the location of child care centers across eight states, a fully 42 percent of children under five years of age live in a child care desert. The analysis also highlights the unequal access of child care supply across the country. Ironically, new data from the Census shows that 95 percent of U.S. kids now have health insurance. The number of uninsured kids in the country has been almost cut in half since 2008 thanks to the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act and the Affordable Care Act.
A new study tracks the diets and health outcomes of almost 3,000 adults over several years, controlling for age, gender, family medical history, and caloric intake. The researchers found that people who drink 13.5 ounces of soda per day are 2.4 times more likely to develop type-II diabetes than those who did not drink soda. People who consumed 33.8 ounces of soda had a 10 times greater risk. The researchers also found that people who drank artificially sweetened beverages had similar health outcomes to those drinking sugary beverages.
Hacked emails reveal that Coca-Cola lobbied to take down legislative efforts in multiple countries to ban junk food advertising to kids, arguing that industry should be trusted to self-regulate.
Tobacco use is to blame for 1/3rd of cancer deaths in US men and ¼ of US women, with cancer death rates highest in the South, a region with the country’s most lax smoking policies.
Sexually transmitted disease rates are spiking in California, especially among gay men and young people ages 15-24. This spike comes in the context of cuts to state and local clinics to monitor and treat STDs.
Hospital closures in rural California over the past 15 years, especially the Central Valley and far north, have limited healthcare options and crippled local economies.
An op-ed in the Mail & Guardian argues that South Africans’ nation building is being hampered by violence stemming from failure to fully address the trauma that South Africans have experienced individually and collectively. “…without addressing trauma we are likely to remain in our current phase as a nation with a superficial national identity that is not cohesive and a commonly owned by all of us.” She advocates for a “bottom to top” process with strategies at the individual, community and systems levels. “Our interventions need to be firmly rooted in the understanding that unless we actively engage with inter-generational, political, identity-based, current and future trauma, process it and reconstruct ourselves, communities and the country into a state of psychological healthiness – the South African nation-building project will fail.”
StatNews reports on efforts by state officials in West Virginia to stem the emerging opioid crisis in that state, and how Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, intervened to prevent insurers from limiting OxyContin prescriptions.
NBC reports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is awarding nearly $10 million in grants to eight jurisdictions (Baltimore; Chicago; Oakland; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Flint, Michigan; St. Louis County, Missouri; and Bexar County,Texas.) as part of the Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST ) program. “It promotes resilience and equity in communities that have recently faced civil unrest by implementation of evidence-based violence prevention and youth engagement programs, as well as linkages to specialized health services.”