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The Asian Pacific American community includes more than 100 languages/dialects and some 45 different ethnic subgroups, complicating the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

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As summer temperatures rise, so do fears of asthma and other illnesses caused by all the air pollution converging on the east Los Angeles community of Boyle Heights. With its proximity to freeways, industrial sites and shipping corridors, activists say the geography of Boyle Heights brings a disproportionate health burden to residents.

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The increase in HIV infections has risen alarmingly among Asian American women, and will soon surpass the rate of infections in high-risk populations unless intervening measures are taken, noted a panel of experts in San Francisco on May 17.

Picture of Annette Fuentes

In the past few years, in fact, school lunch reform has become a cause célèbre in many school districts in the Bay Area as concerns mount about children’s health. And the Oakland school district, along with the West Contra Costa County Unified School District, is among the pioneers in injecting healthier food choices into their menus despite a paucity of resources and the challenges of re-educating taste buds.

Picture of Annette Fuentes

There is a world of difference in how districts provide healthy school lunches. One key difference is money—both the income levels of school districts and the cost of lunch programs. Another is the food culture of diverse communities, so to speak, and what kids and their families are used to eating. In districts like Oakland, which participate in the federally and state subsidized lunch programs, the nutrition services have just $2.74 per meal to deliver a lunch that meets guidelines--and that kids will want to eat. Affluent districts such as Orinda don't participate in the subsidized lunch program and may serve catered lunches that are a lot like food they would eat at home.

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Steven P. Wallace is a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health and an associate director at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Professor Wallace is a leading national scholar on aging in communities of color. He has published research on access to long-term care by diverse elderly groups, the impact of health policy changes on racial/ethnic minority elderly, and the politics of aging.

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Glenn Masuda is associate director of the Asian Pacific Family Center in Rosemead, a division of Pacific Clinics, a private, nonprofit mental health services provider with 46 clinics in four Southern California counties. Now in his 23rd year at the clinic, his specialty areas are adolescent psychology, family therapy, and community interventions. He is a licensed psychologist, a founding faculty member of the Pacific Clinics Institute, and a part-time associate professor at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University’s Los Angeles campus.

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Mary M. Lee is associate director of PolicyLink, a national advocacy organization based in Oakland. Ms. Lee is a practicing attorney with more than 25 years of experience working in communities throughout California, with special emphasis on issues of housing, land use and community economic development. A former L.A. Transportation Commissioner, she now serves on the L.A. Food Policy Task Force charged with making recommendations to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa about food system reform strategies. Ms.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

knows firsthand the fallout from living in an area without proper access to fresh, healthy food: She drives past three South Los Angeles grocery stores offering expired tortillas and wilted

Picture of Michelle Levander

In a little more than two weeks, we will launch our 2010 National Health Journalism Fellowships. Of course, we hope and expect that the talented journalists who participate will produce great stories. But we will know this program has succeeded if it prompts participants to challenge conventional notions of what constitutes a health story. Seminar speakers will touch upon topics as varied as international trade and gang violence. But running through the Fellowships' weeklong extended conversation is a common theme: the links between Place and Health.

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Got a great idea for an ambitious reporting project on a California health issue?  Let us fund it.  Apply now for the 2019 California Fellowship, which provides $1,000 reporting grants and six months of expert mentoring to 20 journalists, community engagement grants of up to $2,000, specialized mentoring, to five.

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