Children And Adolescents Struggling With Pandemic’s Mental Health Fallout

One day in early March 2020, just as the pandemic was gaining momentum, sixth-grader Carolina Martinez-Nava was heading to the school cafeteria when she saw her sister coming down the stairs, looking for her. Arlene, an eighth grader, was crying. “She came and hugged me,” Carolina said. Students had been peering out windows all morning at the black smoke rising a few blocks from the school, in Bridgeport. But that still couldn’t prepare Carolina for her sister’s news that it was their family’s house that was burning.

Women Of Color Overrepresented In Domestic Violence Arrests, Data Show

Black and Hispanic women make up about 25% of the state’s female population but represent about 53% of domestic violence arrest cases for adult females in 2020, Judicial Branch data show. It’s a disparity that is playing out in courtrooms across the state, according to public defenders who contend that Black and brown women often face harsher penalties and longer court proceedings to gain a favorable outcome. “This is real, it is very real,” said Jassette Henry, a senior assistant public defender in New Britain and a tri-chair of the Racial Justice and Cultural Competency Committee within the state’s Division of Public Defender Services. “The question is, what are we going to do about it?”

“Black people are overrepresented in arrests,” Henry said. “It’s not surprising that Black women are getting arrested in a domestic violence incident at a higher rate.

Targeting Disparities In Colorectal Cancer Screening

Wilfredo Estrada, a 71-year-old New Haven resident and native of Peru, says getting colonoscopies is “muy necesario.” His father died from colon cancer at age 65, and he knows family history plays a role in cancer risk. Estrada described his odyssey fighting polyps detected by preventive colonoscopy screenings, which he has been getting since 2018. During the most recent procedure, Estrada says, the doctor found and extracted 29 polyps, all noncancerous. When asked if he tells people he knows how important it is to get screened, Estrada responded through his interpreter, “No. It’s not something I like to share with others.”

By staying current with colonoscopies, Estrada is doing his part to avoid becoming a cancer statistic.

Deep Roots Drive Newhallville Stakeholders To Advance Neighborhood Equality

At the corner of Shelton Avenue and Hazel Street in Newhallville sits a green space, the Learning Corridor—a hub for educating young children and connecting families to healthy living. The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail runs through the garden, where children can stop by and browse books from a box and adults can take a spin on a bike. Once known in the neighborhood as the “mud hole,” a crime spot for “drug trafficking and all kinds of stuff,” the Learning Corridor is now a place where neighborhood residents gather to take care of their health and well-being, said Doreen Abubakar, founder and volunteer director of the Community Placemaking and Engagement Network (CPEN). “We held a six-month in-house training about diabetes,” Abubakar said. “My sister who had diabetes brought down her blood sugar to pre-diabetic levels after she did the training.” The participants learned the importance of exercise to manage their diabetes, and residents joined the national walking club movement Girl Trek.

Yale Study Links Housing Instability And Risky Sexual Behaviors

With federal and state eviction moratoriums ending soon, a team of researchers from Yale University and two other universities has found an apparent link between landlord-related forced housing moves and risky sexual behavior. In a study of 360 New Haven residents between 2017 and 2018, the researchers from Yale, American University and Drexel University found that such forced moves made some people sexually vulnerable and less likely or able to negotiate the use of condoms in a relationship. Seventy-seven New Haven residents in the study reported having been evicted or forced to move in the last two years because a landlord raised the rent or went into foreclosure, or for other reasons such as illegal drug use or sales. The study consistently found that those participants were more likely to report having unprotected sex or multiple sex partners than others in the study. Four percent of the residents who reported a forced move also reported providing sex for a place to live, and 8% reported having sex in exchange for money or drugs, said one of the researchers, Allison K. Groves, an assistant professor of community health and prevention at Drexel.

Telemedicine A Blessing For Some, Inaccessible For Others

When the pandemic began, LaVita King of Bridgeport worried about how she would continue to see her behavioral health therapist and primary care physician at Southwest Community Health Center. She lives close enough to walk to the federally qualified health center but didn’t feel comfortable leaving her home in those early days, let alone venturing into a medical office. But she’s been able to access care through phone and video chats. “For me, it’s been such a lifesaver, such a blessing,” said King, 69. “Otherwise, I would not have been able to talk to my behavioral health therapist for this whole entire time.

Pandemic Fuels Continued Rise In STDs Among Youngest Sexually Active Adolescents

The fallout from the pandemic has run the gamut from an unstable economy to an uptick in social-emotional problems. Experts suggest the pandemic may also be responsible for a continued upward trajectory in sexually transmitted diseases among Connecticut’s youngest sexually active residents. Conditions during the pandemic, including less access to sexual health care and more free time, have helped to exacerbate the trend among young people, say health care providers. “Most parents are working. Students are home alone. They are having friends over,” said Ceri Burke, a nurse practitioner at Danbury High School’s on-site health center.

Can Independent Primary Care Doctors Survive Dominance of Hospital Health Systems?

Every day, Dr. Leslie Miller of Fairfield thinks about selling her practice to a hospital health system. “Everybody who is in this environment thinks every day of throwing in the towel and joining a hospital,” said Miller, a sole practitioner in primary care for 20 years. “The business side is the problem,” she said, referring to expensive and time-consuming requirements of medical insurance and government regulations. Dr. Khuram Ghumman took the unusual route of working in a hospital system first, then going into private primary care practice because he objects to the “corporatization” of health care. He said conflicts of interest can arise if an owner and its employed physicians have different objectives.

With Demand For Community Health Workers Rising, So Does Need For Sustainable Funding

New Haven Community Health Worker (CHW) Katia Astudillo helps dozens of her clients navigate the logistics of getting vaccinated and connects them with other health services. She even helps them find rental assistance. In and around New London, CHW Lizbeth Polo-Smith hands out flyers about COVID-19 safety and vaccinations at churches, laundromats, stores, warming centers for the homeless—anywhere she can. As COVID-19 laid bare Connecticut’s health care deserts, it now highlights the efforts of CHWs who labored in forgotten neighborhoods for years. In many ways, they have become a key factor in the state’s public health response for marginalized communities during the pandemic.