Building Connections At UConn’s Rainbow Center

Trinity Ford, a senior year at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School in New Haven, writes for her school’s newspaper, is a member of the Journalism Club, and has published a book of short poems.

She also runs the school’s Instagram page.   For her project at C-HIT’s multimedia journalism workshop, Trinity opted to try something different – video storytelling.  She stopped by the Rainbow Center at the University of Connecticut and interviewed Christopher Richard, the center’s coordinator. https://youtu.be/BS_meOn0QcY

Connecticut Acts To Help Its Lead-Poisoned Children

After decades of inertia, Connecticut is finally moving to help its thousands of lead-poisoned children and prevent thousands of other young children from being damaged by the widespread neurotoxin. The state will direct most of its efforts — and most of $30 million in federal money — toward its cities, whose children have borne the brunt of this epidemic. In announcing the allocation recently, Gov. Ned Lamont pointed to lead’s “catastrophic” effects on children’s health and development, noting that lead poisoning is “a problem that impacts most deeply minority and disadvantaged communities of our state.” Nearly half of the 1,024 children reported as lead poisoned in 2020 lived in New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Hartford, or other cities, according to state Department of Public Health numbers. The more enduring thrust of the state’s new actions, however, is the strengthening of its outdated lead laws, starting in 2023.

Activists Say Climate Change Policies Fail To Factor In Risks To LGBTQ+ Community

When it comes to environmental vulnerability, one group of people society often marginalizes has started to act up in Connecticut. Activists say one major category is missing when policymakers look at climate change preparation: the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community. An environmental activist movement for LGBTQ+ people has been building in the New Haven area for a few years. Those involved in the movement say evidence is beginning to accumulate that makes a clear connection between environmental threats, sexual orientation and gender identity. Their environmental vulnerability comes mainly from this group’s higher poverty rates.

Churches And Health Care Align To Offer Trusted Space For Addiction Treatment

In the basement of Madry Temple Church in New London, Margaret Lancaster, a health program coordinator at Ledge Light Health District, shows the pastor how to administer Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal treatment. In New Haven, at the Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, the Rev. Jerry Streets and local clinical staff are offering substance use disorder treatment. These alliances of frontline health care workers with trusted community leaders are addressing the alarming rise of substance use disorders by leveraging the cultural power of churches to reach people in need of help. Overdose mortality rates have risen among all races in Connecticut over the past three years. But the rise has been particularly marked among the Black population.

DPH Report: More Than 1,000 Children Were Poisoned By Lead In 2020

More than 1,000 Connecticut children under age 6 were reported poisoned by lead in 2020, according to a report released this week by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Of the children tested that year, 649 were new cases. As has been the case for many years, nearly half of the 1,024 lead-poisoned children lived in the state’s cities. New Haven had the highest number of lead-poisoned children, with 171, followed by Bridgeport, 148; Waterbury, 81; Hartford, 71; and Meriden, 35. These five cities had 49% of all lead-poisoned children in Connecticut in 2020.

Surging Behavioral Health Care Needs For Children Put Strain On School Social Workers

On paper, the social worker’s role at public K-12 schools is straightforward: to support a caseload of students with special needs to thrive in often-challenging academic setting. But ask a social worker employed in a public school these days, and they’re likely to tell a much different story. For social worker Jara Rijs, who works at Windham Center School, where more than half of its pre-K through fifth-grade students qualify for subsidized lunch, the job responsibilities bleed well beyond the job description, particularly since the pandemic hit. As many in her school community face trauma either induced or exacerbated by the pandemic, Rijs says she considers every one of the estimated 250 students at her elementary school part of her caseload. Beyond providing clinical support to students with individual education plans, in a given day, Rijs might also meet with a student struggling with a family loss or divorce, connect to a community health agency to check availability, lead a staff discussion on self-care, or even don the school’s “froggy” mascot costume—a symbol of the school’s “Froggy Four” character development program.

Wet Summer Raises Risk Of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses In October

With mosquito levels at the highest in 20 years, three mosquito-borne illnesses are most dangerous to humans in October after being passed from birds to mosquitoes over the summer months. This year, the first report of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) occurred Sept. 23 in mosquitoes trapped in Voluntown, in southeastern Connecticut, as part of the state’s surveillance program. EEE is rare but kills one-third of those who catch it, according to the state Department of Public Health. Two years ago, three out of four people who caught EEE in Stonington died.

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.

Financially Challenged But Fierce, Griffin Hospital Innovates Its Way Through Pandemic

Sweating in his black jacket under a brilliant spring sun, Keith J. DuPerry, 40, waited in line on the New Haven Green. Destination: FEMA’s first-in-the-nation COVID-19 mass vaccination trailer, administered by Griffin Hospital of Derby. Earlier that morning, DuPerry had taken a bus from the sober house where he lives to an addiction treatment center downtown. The buzz of activity on the Green—party tents and comfortable seating, trailers custom shrink-wrapped with photos of smiling, diverse, shot-giving caregivers and grateful patients—got him thinking. He returned to the Green after lunch.

Plan To Expand Child Tax Credit Offers Hope Along With Direct Payments

When her car started making a noise more than a year ago, Chinara Johnson parked the vehicle and hasn’t used it since. As a New Haven mother of 5-year-old twin boys, one of whom is on the autism spectrum, and an 8-year-old daughter, Johnson doesn’t have the money to get the car running properly again. She also didn’t have money for childcare as she underwent breast cancer treatments, including surgery and chemotherapy, and is now struggling with increased utility and food bills since the kids are home during the pandemic. Over the past few years, Johnson has not been eligible for federal child tax credits because she doesn’t make enough money. But under the American Family Act—sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, and others—Johnson would qualify to receive direct payments of $3,600 each for the boys and $3,000 for her daughter in federal child tax credits.