1. Health Care Workforce

The Washington Post: Medicine Without Doctors? State Laws Are Changing Who Treats Patients.
Arlene Wright has been a nurse for more than 20 years in Fort Myers, Fla. She began working in hospitals as a teenage candy striper in Upstate New York, progressing through an associate’s degree in nursing, then a bachelor’s, then a master’s, then finally a doctorate of nursing practice in 2013.Wright has always told patients she’s a nurse practitioner, she says. She doesn’t flaunt her doctorate or try to mislead patients into thinking she has an MD. Still, when Florida lawmakers began considering a bill that would have prevented her from using her title, Wright was taken aback. (Avi-Yonah, 8/20)

USA Today: Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners Or Doctors: What To Know
The physician shortage, a growing demand on health care and more people graduating with advanced degrees helped expand their presence at physicians offices. But what does that mean for patients? Data shows patients have similar health outcomes regardless of whether they see a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner in primary care settings, but the jury is still out in other settings, like emergency departments and specialty care. (Rodriguez, 8/20)

San Diego Union-Tribune: Should California Pass A $25 Minimum Wage For Health Care Workers?
California lawmakers have been supportive of signing a bill that raises the minimum wage to $25 an hour for all health care workers. (Molnar, 8/25)

Primary Care Physicians: Overworked and Undervalued

Like many other countries, the United States is facing an epidemic of burnout and dissatisfaction among primary care physicians, a crisis that escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Commonwealth Fund study based on 2022 international survey data finds that a majority of primary care physicians in most of the high-income countries surveyed are dissatisfied with their work, and two-thirds don’t get to spend enough time with patients. Reducing the amount of time physicians need to spend on administrative tasks related to insurance and electronic medical records could help, the researchers say.


  1. Mental Health

USA Today: Postpartum Depression Affects Dads, Too. It Can Put Child At Risk.
As a new postpartum pill for women gains national attention, health experts say it’s also important to highlight men’s mental health needs after having a baby, with researching showing 1 in 10 fathers experience postpartum depression and anxiety. A new study also suggests addressing paternal mental health is vital for baby's health after finding children born to dads with depression are at increased risk of developing depression themselves. (Rodriguez, 8/19)

The Washington Post: Study: Kids Who’ve Been Assaulted More Likely To Develop Mental Illness
Children and adolescents who have been physically assaulted are nearly twice as likely as their peers to develop mental illness after the assault — and the risk is even higher in the first year after an incident, research suggests. The analysis, published in JAMA Network Open on Wednesday, looked at the medical records of 27,435 children in Ontario, Canada, including 5,487 kids who had been at an emergency room or hospital after a physical assault between 2006 and 2014 before age 14. (Blakemore 8/19)

Axios: Bullying Rates Are Jumping In Schools: Survey
Bullying in schools has shot up over the past five years, according to an annual survey by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Years of pandemic disruption have caused students to struggle with stress management, problem solving and peer relationships, the survey found. 40% of child and teen respondents said they were bullied on school campuses in the past year, according to the Youth Right Now survey, conducted annually by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. (Rubin, 8/24)

  1. Gun Violence

NBC News: Gun Deaths Among U.S. Children Rose Again In 2021, CDC Data Shows
Gun-related deaths among children in the U.S. reached a distressing peak in 2021, claiming 4,752 young lives and surpassing the record total seen during the first year of the pandemic, a new analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. The alarming statistic clearly indicated that America’s gun violence epidemic has gotten worse, experts say. More than 80% of the gun deaths were among males 19 and younger. Black male children were more likely to die from homicide. White males 19 and younger were more likely to kill themselves with guns. (Lovelace Jr., 8/21)

KFF Health News: ‘All We Want Is Revenge’: How Social Media Fuels Gun Violence Among Teens
Juan Campos has been working to save at-risk teens from gun violence for 16 years. As a street outreach worker in Oakland, California, he has seen the pull and power of gangs. And he offers teens support when they’ve emerged from the juvenile justice system, advocates for them in school, and, if needed, helps them find housing, mental health services, and treatment for substance abuse. (Szabo, 8/25)

KFF Health News: Illustrated Report: How Gun Violence Goes Viral
As chatter and images about guns and violence slip into the social media feeds of more teens, viral messages fueled by “likes” can lead to real-world conflict and loss. This illustrated report has been adapted from a KFF Health News article, “‘All We Want Is Revenge’: How Social Media Fuels Gun Violence Among Teens,” by Liz Szabo. (Tempest and Szabo, 8/25)

  1. Children’s Health

CNN: Ban Spanking In All Schools, Pediatrician Group Urges. Do This Instead
Spanking or striking children in school, or corporal punishment, should be “abolished in all states by law,” according to an updated policy statement by the Council on School Health and released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The use of corporal punishment has dropped over the years, but it is “either expressly allowed or not expressly prohibited in 23 states,” US Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona said in March before Colorado banned the practice. “Furthermore, researchers have determined that the use of corporal punishment in schools is likely underreported.” (LaMotte, 8/21)

NBC News: Hot Classrooms Are Impairing Student Learning And Health Amid Record-Hot Year, Teachers Say
Research has shown that hot classrooms can impair student learning. In one study published in 2020, researchers found that "students who experience hotter temperatures during the school year before their exams exhibit reduced learning" and that students scored lower with each additional day of temperatures around 80 degrees or above. The study also found that heat "has substantially larger impacts on the achievement of students in lower-income school districts," especially Black and Latino students. (Silva, 8/19)

CNN: Screen Time Linked With Developmental Delays, Study Finds
Handing your baby a phone or tablet to play with may seem like a harmless solution when you’re busy, but it could quickly affect their development, a new study has found. Having anywhere from one to four hours of screen time per day at age 1 is linked with higher risks of developmental delays in communication, fine motor, problem-solving and personal and social skills by age 2, according to a study of 7,097 children published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. (Rogers, 8/21)

Stat: FDA Approves Pfizer's RSV Vaccine Designed To Protect Newborns
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a Pfizer vaccine that aims to protect newborns against RSV by vaccinating pregnant people in the latter part of pregnancy. The vaccine, Abrysvo, has also been approved for use in adults 60 and older to protect them against respiratory syncytial virus. (Branswell, 8/21)

Axios: Kindergarten Vaccine Exemption Rate Keeps Rising: U.S. Average Nearly Doubles In A Decade
The nationwide median rate of kindergartners with vaccine exemptions nearly doubled between the school years ending in 2012 and 2022, per CDC estimates. While COVID-19 vaccination is not required for young children attending public school anywhere in the U.S., it appears that concerns over that shot may be fueling broader vaccine skepticism among a relatively small but growing number of parents — though that trend certainly existed before the pandemic. (Fitzpatrick and Beheraj, 8/24)

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Fails To Place Older Foster Kids, Lawsuit Alleges
Los Angeles County is condemning older foster youth to long, destabilizing stints of homelessness and couch-surfing by failing to provide them with appropriate homes, a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges. (Ellis, 8/23)

  1. Women’s Health

Maternal Death Rate Worsens In California: Maternal mortality rates in California more than doubled over the past two decades, according to a recent JAMA study that provides the first state-level breakdowns by ethnic group. The worsening impact is especially stark for people of color. Read more from Axios.

NPR: 1 In 5 Women Experienced Mistreatment From Medical Staff In Their Last Pregnancy
One in five women experienced mistreatment while receiving medical care for their most recent pregnancy, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The women reported signs of mistreatment, such as being verbally abused, having their requests for help go unanswered, having their physical privacy infringed upon and receiving threats to withhold treatment. (Archie, 8/22)

KFF Health News: Dangers And Deaths Around Black Pregnancies Seen As A ‘Completely Preventable’ Health Crisis
Tonjanic Hill was overjoyed in 2017 when she learned she was 14 weeks pregnant. Despite a history of uterine fibroids, she never lost faith that she would someday have a child. But, just five weeks after confirming her pregnancy, and the day after a gender-reveal party where she announced she was having a girl, she seemed unable to stop urinating. She didn’t realize her amniotic fluid was leaking. Then came the excruciating pain. “I ended up going to the emergency room,” said Hill, now 35. “That’s where I had the most traumatic, horrible experience ever.” (West, 8/24)

  1. COVID

Axios: COVID-19 Hospitalization Rates On Rise In CA
COVID-19 hospitalization rates across California rose 8% between June and July amid signs of a late summer wave sweeping the country. With so little testing happening these days compared to the height of the pandemic, hospitalization rates are now one of the best proxies for estimating broader viral spread. (Dickey, Fitzpatrick and Beheraj, 8/21)

CNN: It May Be Time To Break Out The Masks Against Covid, Some Experts Say
If you’re at high risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, it’s time to dust off those N95 masks and place them snugly over your nose and mouth to protect yourself from a recent uptick of the virus, according to a growing number of experts. That advice should go all the way up to 80-year-old President Joe Biden, said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist. “Octogenarians comprise the highest-risk group for complications following Covid infection,” Reiner said. “At least until the numbers start to drop again, it would be appropriate for President Biden to take some precautions and wear a mask in crowds.” (LaMotte, 8/23)

CIDRAP: Families Felt Pandemic Burdens Differently, Depending On Education Level And Child Age
The COVID-19 pandemic did not affect all US families the same way, a new cohort study in JAMA Network Open claims, with families helmed by caregivers with lower levels of education more strained during the first 2 years of the pandemic. ... Caregivers who had less than a high school education (compared to a master’s degree or higher) had more challenges accessing COVID-19 tests, lower odds of working remotely, and more food-access concerns. (Soucheray, 8/23)

  1. LGBTQ+ Health

San Francisco Chronicle: LGBTQ Students Returning To Hostile Environments — Even In California
California remains one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to supporting and protecting LGBTQ students and their families, said advocates working to retain those supports. But the battles show that California is not immune from the culture wars driving anti-LGBTQ sentiments nationally. (Allday, 8/21)

Stat: Gender-Affirming Surgeries Tripled In U.S. From 2016-2019: Study
The number of gender-affirming surgeries taking place in the U.S. nearly tripled between 2016 and 2019, according to new national estimates from a cohort study in JAMA Network Open. (Gaffney, 8/23)

AP: Gender-Affirming Surgeries In The US Nearly Tripled Before Pandemic Dip, Study Finds
The increase likely reflects expanded insurance coverage for transgender care after the Obama administration and some states actively discouraged discrimination based on gender identity, lead author Dr. Jason Wright of Columbia University said. The dip in 2020 can be attributed to the pandemic. A little more than half the patients were ages 19 to 30. Surgeries in patients 18 and younger, were rare: fewer than 1,200 in the highest volume year. (Johnson, 8/23)

Stat: What AAP's Gender-Affirming Care Evidence Review Actually Means
When the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirmed its support for gender-affirming care earlier this month, and called for a systematic review of the evidence, some swaths of the public saw the move as casting doubt on the benefits of such care. (Gaffney, 8/25)