Nadine Burke Harris

How We Talk about Trauma

Usually we think of childhood trauma in terms of the social and emotional issues that can manifest later in life. Which certainly are significant.  But what we’re learning now is that exposure to early adversity has significant impacts on physical health outcomes, and represents a public health crisis.

Try to imagine this.  It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Beautiful day. 

You’re hiking alone in the forest.  And then you hear some rustling leaves behind you. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Beneath a purple poster for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and between shelves of books, a third grader slides into the vinyl dentist’s chair.

For most of the year, this space is the library at Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids. But since school began last week, this corner of the library has been a dentist’s office.

"Okay, open up big, I want to see those new teeth," says dental hygienist Julie Hilton.

In the Story Booth: why don't guys like ZUMBA?

Sep 6, 2013
The Corner Health Center

The Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti is a place adolescents and the children of adolescents can get affordable, high quality health care.  Staff and patients at the Corner are featured in this story about why more Medicaid-eligible teenagers in the state aren't getting signed up.

We also took State of Opportunity's story booth to the clinic this summer to talk to teenagers involved in a summer fitness program called "Turn the Corner." 

The stories are full of honesty, humor and a fair amount of well-deserved teenage skepticism. Listen in to Josh Cornett, Desiree Trim, and Reyannah Nelson Chambers share stories about body image, guys who like  ZUMBA, and society needing to give teens the benefit of the doubt.

This audio postcard  was produced by Gabrielle Emanuel. 

Sarah Alvarez

Earlier this year, Jacquise Purifoy had a problem many people are familiar with. Purifoy is an attorney, but she was between jobs and tangled in health insurance red tape, so she and her daughter went without health insurance for about half a year.

Purifoy admits she may have "buried her head in the sand," a little bit. She also says a combination of pride and a desire not to take up scarce government resources kept her from seeing if she could qualify her 17-year old daughter Jasmine for Medicaid or MIchild.

Purifoy thinks she probably could have qualified for one of these state and federally funded insurance programs that come at no-cost to the beneficiary. But instead she made sure to take her daughter for a full range of preventative doctor visits before her insurance ran out, and then just hoped there wouldn't be an emergency before she was insured again. 

Then she got a call from Jasmine, who has asthma and a heart condition. 

Steven River / flickr

Royal Oak based Beaumont Children's Hospital is trying to raise awareness about a kids health disparity that until now has not gotten much attention, the gap in food allergies. 

Food allergies in children are rising across the board, says Devang Doshi, the chief of Pediatric allergy and immunology at Beaumont Children's Hospital. "We used to see about 3% in the nineties, but now we're up to 6-8% of pediatric patients that have food allergies." says Doshi. 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Earlier this month, we came across this article in the Washingtonian entitled "Children Are Dying." It blew our minds. Could babies really be dying in neonatal intensive care units across the country because of drug shortages? We decided to check it out for ourselves to see if it was happening in Michigan.

Sweden and US child descriptors
The Atlantic / Infogr.am

Reporting on a University of Connecticut study, The Atlantic prettied up data on how parents around the world describe describe their children.

Sarah Harkness and Charles Super, researchers in human development, found that, according to The Atlantic, "Not only are Americans far more likely to focus on their children's intelligence and cognitive skills, they are also far less likely to describe them as 'happy' or 'easy' children to parent." Harkness called this focus nearly obsessive in that it ignores other aspects of early childhood development.

Yesterday, the White House released its budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, and we got our first detailed look at how the President intends to pay for his plan to make preschool available to all four year olds in the country. Basically, he's going to make smokers pay for it.

First, some bullet points: 

Approximately 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 have received a diagnosis of A.D.H.D at some point in their lives. According to this New York Times article, that's a 53 percent rise in the past decade. And which group tends to get diagnosed the most? Poor kids. Children covered by Medicaid "have among the highest rates of A.D.H.D. diagnoses: 14 percent for school-age children, about one-third higher than the rest of the population."

Influenza outbreak hits Michigan families hard

Jan 11, 2013
izahorsky / flickr.com

Here at State of Opportunity we write stories about children who are considered 'at risk'. We often correlate being 'at risk' with one's racial group or socioeconomic status, but sometimes it can refer to one's health. In the case of the flu, it doesn't matter if you're White or black, rich or poor, you're still at risk of getting sick.