Good News, Bad News
While it is encouraging to read a recent report citing some improvements in public health, a deeper analysis of the statistics reveal there are glaring racial and ethnic disparities in health status in San Diego County.
Though the county has done some admirable work in increasing access to care, disparities must be discussed if we are to engage in meaningful dialogue about the status of public health.
The report states that fewer county teens are engaging in sexual intercourse. Encouraging news indeed. But let’s not think our work is done because of this downward trend in the general population. The fact that the Hispanic teen birth rate is three times greater than the overall population tells us that special attention needs to be paid to this group.
The number of cases of AIDS may be down in San Diego, but that statistic is of little comfort to African Americans who are struck by this devastating disease at more than twice the rate of the general population. Latinos experience the highest rate of increase of all population groups.
The infant mortality rate for African Americans is double that of the overall population in San Diego.
Coronary heart disease among African Americans exceeds that of the general population by 67 percent.
Tuberculosis among Asian and Pacific Islanders occurs at a rate of three times greater than the general population.
Diabetes strikes Latinos at a rate of two to three times greater than the general population.
It is encouraging that the overall status of public health is improving and we look forward to working with the county to close the gaps in service for racial and ethnic minorities.
Dr. Nick Yphantides
(Editor’s note: Yphantides is medical director at the Escondido Community Health Center.)
Community College Shortfall
I am an 18-year-old retail salesman/student trying to attain an associate’s degree in business administration while attending Southwestern Community College.
I am writing to let you know what the community college chancellor budget proposal will do for the community colleges of this state and to my community.
If you had children, I would imagine you loved them all equally and would not dream of giving one child more love and support than the other. Unfortunately, this is what is happening to the community colleges of California, more specifically Southwestern College. Our school in Chula Vista receives $4,327 less per full-time student than those of the West Kern County District. Is this the way we treat our children?
Some $4,000 per full-time student is a hefty sum. I can only imagine how much of a difference that amount would make on my education. More teachers, fewer students per class, new science labs, a better library. Changes like these can help students achieve success that was only once a dream.
I feel let down that thus far, the $15 million increase in the budget contained in the community college chancellor’s budget proposal has not found the support it needs to become reality.
I hope this injustice was no more than an oversight by the committee and will find your support and the support of your readers. How can we sustain a strong economy and government when its citizens are educated disproportionately?
Gonzalo J. Quintero
Boost State Funding
I came to Southwestern Community College from China to study public administration. I am writing to you about the state budget proposal in the view of an international student.
Frankly, the facilities at Southwestern College are not as good as I expected, since I had the chance to visit other colleges. Students here, for example, often have difficulty in getting access to computers. Recently, I learned nearly 20 of the community colleges in California receive support from the state at different levels up to $4,000 more per student than Southwestern College receives.
A $4,000 difference in annual support for a student creates a big difference in the quality and opportunity of education. I am surprised to learn the state administration did not support the very modest request to address this matter contained in the community college chancellor’s budget proposal.
As one of the 17,000 students of Southwestern College, I hope you will support an increase in equalization funding for community colleges so as to correct this unfair treatment and uphold equality.