Wildfire Smoke Is Hurting Pregnant People And Babies. Can California Cities Protect Them?
Tania Pacheco-Werner put on her walking shoes. She was halfway through her first pregnancy and had just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Her doctor’s advice? Stay active.
But Pacheco-Werner lives just outside Fresno. It was summer, and well over 100 degrees. The air outside was also thick with wildfire smoke from nearby forest fires — an increasingly common occurrence due to climate change.
The expectant mother wanted to do everything right, but was getting conflicting advice. On the one hand, she needed to walk and stay active to prevent complications from gestational diabetes; on the other, public health messaging about wildfires told her to stay inside and reduce her exposure to the smoke. So, what did she do?
Pacheco-Werner went to Walmart. Every day, her husband drove her to the nearby superstore so she could walk around and exercise indoors where the air felt cool and clean thanks to air-conditioning and filtration.
Her doctors hadn’t instructed her to come up with this solution. In fact, her doctors never advised her about the potential effects of wildfire smoke on her pregnancy. But Pacheco-Werner holds a PhD in medical sociology, is the co-director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, and also serves on the Board of the California Air Resources Board for the San Joaquin Valley. She had been closely following a growing body of scientific literature about the impacts of wildfire smoke on preterm birth and adverse birth outcomes.
THREE SISTERS Starring Oscar Isaac and Greta Gerwig Indefinitely Postponed at New York Theatre Workshop
New York Theatre Workshop has announced that the highly anticipated production of Three Sisters-directed by Sam Gold in a new adaptation by Clare Barron starring Oscar Isaac and Greta Gerwig-has been indefinitely postponed.
Read NYTW’s statement below:
Originally announced as part of the 2019/20 season, the production was initially delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the intervening three years, NYTW has worked to reunite the original company for a summer 2023 production. Unfortunately, new scheduling conflicts have arisen for the production’s in-demand artists which proved to be insurmountable in bringing the production to life during the 2022/23 season. NYTW hopes to be able to bring this new production to the stage in a future season and joins the community in the disappointment of this second postponement.
Because bringing these productions to the stage often takes many months-sometimes years-there will not be a replacement production in the 2022/23 season, which will be shortened to four productions. How to Defend Yourself is currently playing through April 2 and The Half-God of Rainfall will close out the season in spring/summer 2023.
Greta Gerwig had previously worked with director Sam Gold on The Village Bike at MCC Theater, and Oscar Isaac had worked with Gold on Hamlet at The Public. Oscar Isaac is currently starring in Lorraine Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window at the BAM Harvey Theater.
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Analysis: Most Californians Have Health Coverage. Now Is the Time to Bolster the System
California is a national leader when it comes to providing health care coverage to low-income residents. The state was one of the first, in 2014, to expand Medicaid — known in California as Medi-Cal — under the Affordable Care Act, which allowed millions of previously ineligible low-income adults to qualify for the program.
Since then, California has expanded the program to people without legal immigration status — first to children in 2016, then to young adults in 2019, and most recently to adults 50 and older. Gov. Gavin Newsom has committed to covering all remaining eligible adults by 2024.
These expansions are a major step towards health equity in California, steps I’ve advocated for. But expanding health coverage is only the beginning. Now it’s time for California to lead the way again by shoring up quality and access within the system.
A third of Californians rely on Medi-Cal for health care. But actually getting that care is difficult for many, according to Jose Torres, policy and legislative advocate with Health Access California, a statewide health care consumer advocacy organization. Patients often can’t find Medi-Cal providers in their neighborhoods and have to travel unacceptable distances to get care, he told me. Many also face difficulties finding providers that speak their language or who understand their culture, a factor that worsens racial disparities in health care.
The result is that even though they have health coverage, access to care is often second-rate and serves to perpetuate health disparities. Due to societal inequalities, people of color are disproportionately low-income and enrolled in Medi-Cal.
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