Vaccines are a vital part of healthcare at all stages of life and offer the best protection available against many potentially devastating illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages parents to follow an immunization schedule for babies and young children, protecting them from 14 life-affecting diseases. Pre-teens and teenagers should begin to innoculate against meningococcal diseases (meningitis or septicemia) and HPV (Human Papillomavirus, which can lead to cancer). Adults should continue to protect themselves with a yearly flu shot, tetanus updates, and later in life the shingles vaccine and the pneumonia vaccine.

An important element of immunization awareness is to protect our populations through “herd immunity” — when a high percentage of a population is vaccinated to protect individuals who have not developed an immunity. Babies are protected by their mother’s immune system at birth and continue to be passed antibodies from their mother’s

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Black lives are being lost to COVID-19 at twice the rate of others. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared white women. Black children are more than three times more likely to die after surgery than white children. Black people are 3.23 times more likely to die at the hands of the police than white people. The Black Lives Matter movement protests against the destructive devaluing of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement and other racially-motivated violence; it is equally clear that Black lives need to be more valued in terms of the healthcare they have access to and receive.

By nearly any measure, Black people suffer disproportionately in America. They face countless challenges to good health, among them food, transportation, and income. Healthcare services are often more expensive, with over 30% of medical expenses faced by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) being associated with health inequities. The stress of living life inescapably affected by racism has very real effects on a person’s physical and mental health

Black

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by Richard Sagall, MD

It’s a choice no one should have to make – pay rent and buy food or get prescriptions filled. Yet all too often it’s a choice Americans, particularly working-age Americans, have to make.

Nearly 28 million Americans have no health insurance, and millions more have limited coverage. Many Americans just can’t afford healthcare, and, if they can, they don’t have the money to buy their medicines.

Prescription Assistance Programs

There is help available for many people who can’t afford their medicines. These programs, frequently called prescription assistance programs (PAPs) or patient assistance programs, are designed to help those in need obtain their medicines at no cost or very low cost.

Many, but not all, pharmaceutical companies have PAPs. The manufacturers who have programs do so for various reasons. Some believe that they have a social obligation to help those who can’t afford their products. Others believe it’s a good marketing tool. As one PAP director once told me, many people who can’t afford their medicines now will go on to obtain some type of coverage. And when they do get this

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Summer has arrived in the United States. Over the following months, it will be important to protect ourselves from the health risks posed by the sun and heat. Regardless of skin color, exposure to the sun carries many dangers to one’s skin — from wrinkles often associated with aging to freckles, sunburns, benign tumors or cancerous skin lesions. Exposure to heat can also have many negative impacts on one’s health ranging from a rash, exhaustion, fainting, or even death. During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, being in crowded areas — even outside — without appropriate protection measures can also pose significant health risks to yourself and those close to you.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages everyone — especially those with pale skin; blond, red, or light brown hair; or who has a personal or family history of skin cancer — to practice care while in the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage one’s skin in as

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In 2019, there were 39,457 deaths in the United States involving guns; 24,090 were suicides. This is an increase of 3% more people killed with guns than the previous year and is within 320 deaths of the highest the death toll has been (2017) since gun mortality data was first recorded in 1979. Mass shootings, incidents where four or more people are shot, also increased year over year

Gun violence is a public health crisis in the United States. The price of lives lost and the consequences for the victims’ families, friends, and communities is truly immeasurable. The economic cost, however, can be measured: $229 billion every year; $12.8 million every day. These costs include medical treatment, long-term medical and disability expenses, mental healthcare, emergency services, legal fees, long-term prison costs, police investigations, and security enhancements. Even students and teachers who participate in active shooter drills can experience profound mental or emotional distress.

Gun violence appears to be a unique problem to the United States among countries not in open warfare or deeply

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