1. Food Benefits

Bills To Expand Food Benefits For Undocumented Immigrants Are Postponed: California legislation that would have expanded food assistance benefits to all undocumented immigrants won’t be moving forward this year. Read more from The Sacramento Bee.

CalMatters: Just What The Doctor Ordered: In California, A Prescription Could Pay For Your Fresh Fruits And Veggies
Every other Friday, the Stockton Emergency Food Bank hosts two live cooking classes — one in English and one in Spanish. Last week, Brenda Munoz made a classic tuna melt with an orange, romaine and dandelion salad. “Dandelion is completely edible,” said Munoz, holding the small leaves from the flower. “They’re really high in vitamin A and folate.” (Jetha, 8/9)

CalMatters: How Hungry Is California? Millions Struggle To Eat Well In An Abundant State
California is full of food, yet scarred with hunger. Despite the state producing nearly half the country’s fruits and vegetables, one in five Californians are food insecure, meaning they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Food insecurity does not necessarily cause hunger, but hunger is a possible outcome. (Jetha, Kuang and Kimelman, 8/8)

  1. Health Care Workforce

Fierce Healthcare: HHS To Invest $100M To Train Nurses, Bolster Clinician Workforce
The Biden administration announced a $100 million investment to train more nurses and grow the workforce as the healthcare industry faces a critical nurse shortage. Officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Thursday the investments will help address the increasing demand for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nurse faculty. (Landi, 8/10)

Modern Healthcare: HHS To Boost Nursing Workforce, Training With $100M Investment
The Health and Human Services Department's Health Resources and Services Administration will distribute $100 million to select universities and health systems to help expand the nursing pipeline with more faculty and training opportunities. The investment comes amid industrywide staffing struggles and declining nursing school enrollment due to a lack of qualified nursing professors. The industry is also bracing for the release of a Biden administration nursing home staffing rule that will dictate patient-to-clinician ratios at skilled nursing facilities and require increased efforts to hire staff. (Devereaux, 8/10)

Axios: Hospitals And Clinics Are Now Among America's Most Dangerous Workplaces
Health care workers are increasingly being assaulted or shot on the job, making hospitals and clinics among the most dangerous workplaces in America. Violence was a serious problem before COVID-19 — the field suffered more nonfatal injuries from workplace assaults than any other profession, even law enforcement, per the Associated Press — and pandemic stressors like backlash against public health measures have made matters worse. (Reed and Millman, 8/10)

The Washington Post: Latinos Underrepresented Among Physicians, Overrepresented As Aides
Latinos — especially Mexican Americans — remain underrepresented in the U.S. medical workforce, according to a recent analysis. The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, found that Latino and Hispanic groups are underrepresented in medical professions that require advanced degrees and overrepresented in similar professions that don’t require a bachelor’s or higher degree. (Blakemore, 8/6)

San Francisco Chronicle: Latina Doctors Are A Troubling Rarity, Study Finds
When Dr. Anabel Ruiz, 43, was a medical student at John Hopkins University, she said she made it her mission to return to her East Bay community to practice in underserved areas. “It’s something that provides a great amount of meaning to me and exactly why I went into medicine,” said Ruiz, who identifies as Mexican American. (Flores, 8/9)

  1. Mental Health

AP: US Suicides Hit An All-Time High Last Year
About 49,500 people took their own lives last year in the U.S., the highest number ever, according to new government data posted Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which posted the numbers, has not yet calculated a suicide rate for the year, but available data suggests suicides are more common in the U.S. than at any time since the dawn of World War II. (Stobbe, 8/11)

CBS News: Parents See Own Health Spiral As Their Kids' Mental Illnesses Worsen
After her teenage daughter attempted suicide and began to cycle through emergency rooms and mental health programs during the past three years, Sarah Delarosa noticed her own health also declined. She suffered from mini strokes and stomach bleeding, the mother of four in Corpus Christi, Texas, said. To make things worse, her daughter's failing behavioral and mental health caused Delarosa to miss hours from her job as a home health aide, losing out on income needed to support her family. (Rayasam, 8/9)

CNN: Eating Disorders Run Rampant On University Campuses. How To Protect Your College-Bound Kid
If you’re sending a kid off to college, it makes sense to experience a mixture of excitement and worry — about their leaving home, sleeping enough and making friends but also the mental health crisis on many college campuses. But I find most parents and guardians aren’t aware that this crisis includes eating disorders — which are serious, life-threatening mental illnesses characterized by a disturbance in one’s relationship with food, exercise and/or body size. (Hanson, 8/10)

California's Teen Overdose Death Rate Fell In 2022: Newly released state data showed 151 teens ages 15 to 19 died from a fentanyl overdose in 2022, down from 230 the year before and 250 in 2020 — a 40% decline in two years, according to preliminary state data updated late last week. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Stat: People With Autism Are More Likely To Engage In Self-Harm: Study
Autistic people are at a much higher risk of self-harm leading to emergency care or suicide, according to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open. In particular, the study found, autistic females had an 83% increased risk of self-harm compared to non-autistic females, while for males, the increased risk compared to non-autistic individuals was 47%. (Merelli, 8/9)

Becker's Hospital Review: Pipeline Health Opens Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit In LA Area
El Segundo, Calif.-based Pipeline Health is welcoming its first patients to a new inpatient behavioral health unit at its Coast Plaza Hospital in Norwalk in Los Angeles county. The unit will also serve patients from other Los Angeles-area hospitals operated by Pipeline Health, which emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year. (Thomas, 8/8)

Los Angeles Daily News: Gun Restraining Orders Are Barely Used In LA County. Supervisors Want To Change That.
A state law enacted to prevent gun violence, mass shootings and suicides that allows the public to petition the court to remove guns from the home of someone deemed violent or mentally ill has been in effect since 2016. But usage locally is sparse. Six years later, in 2022, 66 Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) were granted in Los Angeles County, a population of 10 million. Of those, 65 were issued to law enforcement, such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, while just one was requested from a member of the public. (Scauzillo, 8/8)

  1. Coronavirus

Los Angeles Times: New Coronavirus Subvariant Eris Is Gaining Dominance. Is It Fueling An Increase In Cases?
A new coronavirus subvariant, nicknamed Eris, has rapidly risen to prominence nationwide and is now thought to account for more U.S. cases than any of its counterparts at a time when transmission has been creeping upward. (Lin II, 8/10)

Reuters: With Eris On The Rise, US CDC Sees No Major Shift In COVID Variants
Currently spreading COVID-19 variants such as EG.5, or Eris, do not represent a major shift and updated vaccines in September will offer protection, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. "Right now, what we're seeing with the changes in the viruses, they're still susceptible to our vaccine, they're still susceptible to our medicines, they're still picked up by the tests," Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said in an interview on former Biden administration adviser Andy Slavitt's "In the Bubble" podcast. "We're seeing small changes that are what I would call subtypes of what we've seen before." (8/9)

CIDRAP: SARS-CoV-2 Can Damage Mitochondrion In Heart, Other Organs, Study Finds
The COVID-19 International Research Team (COV-IRT) and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) report that they have identified abnormal mitochondrial function in the heart, kidneys, and liver after SARS-CoV-2 infection, which leads to long-term damage and may help explain long COVID. Mitochondria are the so-called "powerhouses" of cells, and the researchers noted that previous studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 proteins can bind to mitochondrial proteins in host cells, possibly leading to dysregulation. (Van Beusekom, 8/9)

  1. Disparities

CalMatters: Black Women In CA: Struggling And Underserved
A new poll finds 2 out of every 5 Black women in California are just one paycheck away from financial instability. The first-of-its-kind survey of 1,258 Black women across the state revealed 37% work two or more jobs — and 62% of them said the second job is “essential” and they would “not be able to make ends meet” without it. (Fry, 8/11)

  1. Health Coverage

Politico: Biden Administration Warns States As Millions Lose Medicaid
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is ramping up pressure on states that may be failing to meet federal requirements as they renew Medicaid coverage for millions of people for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The agency has for months been mum about its behind-the-scenes communications with states, but on Wednesday made public letters it sent to state Medicaid officials warning that they may be running afoul of federal law and regulations. The letters, which were sent to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., identified three key areas of concern: high rates of people losing Medicaid because of paperwork problems, long call center wait times and slow application processing. (Messerly, 8/10)

  1. Drug Shortages

USA Today: Survey: Drug Shortages Are Widespread, Hospitals Ration Care
Hospital pharmacists said drug shortages have forced 1 in 3 health systems to delay, cancel or ration care or switch to alternate drugs to continue to treat patients. And 99% are reporting some drug supply shortages, an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists survey of more than 1,000 pharmacists released Thursday found. (Alltucker, 8/10)

  1. Children’s Health

‘Vaccines For Children’ At 30: Lessons In Bipartisanship And Cooperative Federalism
Richard Hughes IV et al.

Stat: Hospitals Use Virtual Reality To Design More Inclusive Rooms For Kids
For many young patients, harsh lights, bare walls, and windows facing parking lots or brick buildings make already painful hospital visits more unpleasant, stoking fear and uncertainty instead of hope. Often, those patients say, it makes recovery harder. Their perspectives — historically overlooked in hospital design — are at the heart of a budding movement to make architecture more inclusive for the people who actually spend time there. (Ravindranath, 8/8)

Schools’ Toilet-Training Rules Frustrate Some Parents: Potty training is increasingly becoming an issue for public school districts as more 4-year-olds are being enrolled as part of the state’s expansion to transitional kindergarten. But the mishmash of policies across districts can be frustrating for parents who often learn them only when they show up for the first day of school. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.

The Hill: Childhood Vaccinations Falter Ahead Of Crucial Fall Season
Childhood vaccine coverage across the U.S. has hit a measurable decline once again as health authorities hope to avert major surges in diseases such as RSV and COVID-19 this winter. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the rate of vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) for kindergarteners has fallen below the healthy target rate of 95 percent for the second year in a row to 93 percent. (8/6)

Harvard Public Health: America Has A Diaper Crisis. Here’s What Policymakers Can Do.
On a rainy Saturday morning in San Diego, California, Viridiana Montero joined a small crowd at the Logan Temple AME Zion Church. They weren’t looking for God; they were looking for diapers. Montero is a regular at the church’s weekly diaper distribution. She needed two packs of size 3 diapers to get through the week, but volunteer diaper distributors had already run out of size 3s. She took the next size up instead, along with a box of fresh fruit, and headed home. The size 4 diapers wouldn’t be a perfect fit, but they’d still keep the Montero family’s economic life — and her kids’ health — from unraveling. (Emam, 8/9)