August 09, 2012
By Xavier Higgs
LAWT Contributing Writer
Dr. Eric Walsh, Director of the Pasadena Department of Public Health, explained to an early morning audience that social determinants do contribute to health disparages in Pasadena and Los Angeles. That also includes public policy.
“Our policies should bring resources and protections into that neighborhood to overcome the negative impact of the policy,” said Walsh.
Walsh’s comments came during the most recent Urban Issues Breakfast Forum of Los Angeles.
He reminded those in attendance that studies continue to show the gap becomes noticeable when health experts examine conditions of high-density communities. As a result children are most affected.
Most experts agree an ability to earn a livable wage, equal access to healthcare, affordable housing, clean air and water contributes to a healthier person.
But researchers also warn not to forget the affects that poor environmental conditions have on mental health.
“The affluent in our area are healthier, have easier access to medical care, and better diets, which contributes better health and work and school performance,” Walsh said.
Last year the City of Pasadena and Altadena released their Quality of Life Index report that examines the health and well-being of these communities. According to this study the Black and Latino communities are most affected by the poor quality of life issues. The data further showed a need to address the needs of the city’s poorest children.
As a result low school performance, violence, and psychological illnesses are often prevalent among these children.
“Most of the people here today were not aware of these problems because they are off the radar. Part of getting to a solution is discussing the problem,” said Anthony A. Samad, Ph.D.
“Most of our people are suffering from being over polluted and toxic.”
As policymakers struggle to resolve this dire community issue Walsh cautioned that public policy is also major contributor.
“Our policies should bring resources and protections so these neighborhoods can overcome the negative impact of the policy.”
He added, “I don’t look at what we did right. I look at what’s next.