Recent Articles

Defining health disparities

Dr. Crutchfield, what do people mean when they use the term “health disparity”?  

Merriam-Webster defines disparity as “the state of being different.” The term “health disparities” refers to several conditions. It almost always refers to differences in groups relating to their socioeconomic status, race and/or gender. It can also mean differences in the presence of certain diseases within groups. It can mean the outcomes of disease treatment in these groups. It can mean the quality of health care and access to healthcare services that exist within these groups. Disparities can also be caused by a lack of efficiency within the healthcare system. As a result of the lack of efficiency, some studies (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies) have speculated that approximately $50 billion are spent wastefully every year in the U.S. By reducing or eliminating health disparities, there could be a significant savings to the healthcare system accompanied by an overall increased quality of health care. Continue Reading →

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U of M study: Race matters most in determining who breathes bad air

The Twin Cities earn yet another racial disparities distinction

By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer

In April, researchers at the University of Minnesota released a study showing that people of color in the U.S. typically breathe air that is 38 percent more polluted compared to their White counterparts. The study concluded that race and income are major contributing factors in how much polluted air is breathed, but that race matters more than income. Using satellite observations, data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and maps of land uses, the research team was able to compare the geographic data with Census figures to determine socioeconomic disparities in air pollution exposure. The study was national in scope and provided information on air pollution on a nationwide basis, broken down to show comparisons between urban and rural areas as well by city, county, and state. The pollutant the study tracked was nitrogen dioxide (NO2), one of the main pollutants targeted by the EPA, which considers it one of the most significant threats to air quality. Continue Reading →

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Few acting roles for Black females




By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

Final installment of a four-part series

12 Years a Slave made five out of nine top-10 films of 2013 lists by movie critics, and Fruitvale Station made two such lists; these two movies featured Black males as leads.  However, only two Black females — Halle Berry (The Call, Sony Pictures) and Paula Patton (Baggage Claim, Fox Searchlight) — were leads in movies released by major Hollywood studios in 2013. “Critics don’t look at a film and notice that every one of the lead roles is White,” Uptown Magazine Editor Ronda Racha Penrice said in an October CNN.com article. A UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies released the “Hollywood Diversity Brief” in October and it stated that there is “a dearth of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in film and television — both in front of and behind the camera.”

Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) are the only Black female leads on prime time network television this season. “I’m 5’1 and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would have me to play the cop,” said Beharie of her character in an Essence magazine interview. Continue Reading →

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Second Harvest helps foodshelves triple their buying power

You’d be surprised how much good the smallest effort will do. For instance, consider the gift a couple bags of groceries can be when it comes to filling financial holes these days, as the economy keeps getting worse. In a household that’s still working, $30 worth of staples from the foodshelf means $30 that can go, for instance, to the still-rising price of gas for the car. Or it can cover a utility bill. Perhaps put a new pair of cheap, functional shoes on someone in the family’s feet. Maybe it can go toward the rent to help keep the proverbial wolf from jumping in the window. Continue Reading →

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Mother of autistic child fights for equal care

Proposed laws could disadvantage Black and  low-income people


By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer


“State legislators want to create two different healthcare policies for kids with autism: one that generously covers the privately insured, and the other that gives minimal coverage to the poor and publicly insured, but both using state funds,” says Idil Abdull of Burnsville and mother of a 10-year-old son with autism. At age 11, when Abdull came to the United States from her native country of Somalia, she knew very little English and very little about American politics. “The only thing I knew about America was Superman and Rocky [the movie], she says.”

Some 20 years plus since arriving on North American shores, Abdull is now very fluent in both English and the parlance of American politics. “If nothing else, I know how to be loud,” she says. Like many other families, Abdull says she went through a period of denial about autism. Continue Reading →

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Green Central enters new school year amid controversy



News Analysis

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer


“The Developmental Dual Language [DDL] program at Green [Central School] is a new approach, and starting new things — moving out of a comfort zone — is always a little threatening. But it’s the right thing to do for our Spanish-speaking students,” says Green Central Principal Catalina Salas. Salas was not available to be interviewed for this story but provided the MSR with a written statement explaining the reasons for curriculum changes. Salas has come under fire from some parents and community members who are nervous about the program and fear that, while it may be the right thing to do for Spanish-speaking students, it may leave African American students behind. Some even fear that this will result in segregation of those students in the same school. Continue Reading →

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