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The CHE blog features articles that address different aspects of working towards achieving Health Equity. Check out the blog for stories of success, learning from failure, recommendations, new ideas, and other perspectives of people contributing towards our common goal.

Reducing the Complexity of Chronic Conditions

Just 5% of the population accounts for 50% of medical spending. In her monthly message, Dr. Sandra R. Hernandez, the President and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation, ponders what it means to provide care for those people with chronic complex conditions.

DR. Hernandez

Sandra R. Hernández, MD, CHCF President & CEO

As one of CHCF’s goals, ensuring high-value care, Dr. Hernandez describes one population that utilizes a disproportionate amount of services, people with untreated mental illness or substance use disorders leading to poor medical outcomes. She points out that this population uses emergency services may have trouble accessing the integrated services that could make such a considerable difference in stabilizing and improving quality of life.

Dr. Hernandez concedes that it will be difficult to implement change unless supports are built into the system. The path to improvement won’t be easy unless other access points can be created to service high-use patients, as well as lower-risk patients who cannot access care another way.

Behavioral health issues are a major component of high medical spending. The cost of delaying treatment is considerable. Whereas a great many people experience psychological distress, many people delay treatment because of stigma, cost, or lack of access.

Read Dr. Hernandez’ message by clicking HERE.

Delayed chronic condition

 

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Mental Health Myths Harm the Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities

Myths that propagate the vision of Asian American and Pacific Islander people as impervious to mental health issues are dangerous to them and also hurtful to other people of color, according to Julie Feng, on website “The Body is Not an Apology.”  When faced with her own surprise at hearing of the mental health challenges of a friend, she challenged this response and, in this blog entry, delves into the stigma around mental health which prevents people in this community from discussing mental health challenges.

She challenges the view of Asian Americans as more self-contained than other races, not only as a form of benevolent racism that harms other people of color, but as a justification to continue pretending that these problems do not exist in the community. She discusses the number of people who need treatment but do not seek it, not only because treatment can be difficult to access because of barriers including language and knowledge, but also from shame.

Her heartfelt call to action includes an appeal to advocates including family, doctors, teachers and friends to be aware and ready to help. She invites everyone to take place in finding answers to these problems, first by making the commitment to do better.

Read the blog entry by clicking HERE.

Investigate the body-positive website The Body is Not an Apology by clicking HERE.

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Childhood Trauma, Better Outcomes

In a blog post on the website of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Kristin Schubert writes she remembers when her professional focus changed fundamentally to include the effects of violence on health after she read the Adverse Childhood Experience’s (ACE) study in 2007. ACE researchers found that the more trauma a child experiences, the more likely that person will develop chronic life-threatening diseases and suffer life-limiting circumstances such as being incarcerated, unemployed or uneducated as an adult.

Another recent survey on the subject also validates what most people already know to be true about childhood trauma, according to Schubert, in that Americans believe that our health is shaped by the experiences of our youth. The study, which was conducted by RWJF, NPR and Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and released in March, found the following:

  • 9 out of 10 Americans (89%) believe that being abused or neglected as a child has an extremely or very important impact on health as an adult. 
  • 2 out of 3 Americans (66%) believe that living in poverty as a child has an extremely or very important impact on health as an adult.
  • 4 out of 10 Americans (39%) report that they have had one or more childhood experiences they believe had a harmful effect on their health as an adult.

Schubert believes these results show that Americans are ready to shape a new policy to strengthen families and promote wellness. She discusses some of the promising leaders and partnerships taking place to begin building a movement to accomplish these goals.

To read the blog entry at RWJF, click HERE.

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