John Gonzales

John Gonzales

Center for Health Reporting

Senior writer John Gonzales specializes in the demographics of health policy. He was most recently based in New Orleans as Southern Regional Correspondent for the Associated Press. He covered efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, as well as immigration and the shifting demographics of The South. Gonzales previously was Hispanic Affairs reporter at Newsday -- a beat that took him from New York's emerging Mexican neighborhoods, to the U.S. border region, to rural Mexican towns. His "Texas Smuggling" articles won the National Association of Hispanic Journalists best breaking news award in 2004. He was also awarded The Freedom Forum’s North American Journalist Exchange fellowship in 2001. Gonzales spent the early part of his 15-year journalism career on the staffs of The Daily Breeze and the Gardena Valley News. He is a USC Annenberg graduate, with honors, and a dual major in political science. He is also a Spanish speaker and graduate of the Los Angeles Times Minority Editorial Training Program, or METPro.

Mental Health Peers

Tulare County mental health: New way to treat those most ill

Wanda Irons was curled up in the back of the Tulare County Mental Health Department cruiser, sedated for her trip to the Kaweah Delta mental health facility that had become her second home.
Mental Health Peers

Tulare County mental health consumer Mike Rivera: Three months sober from meth addiction

The eyes of Mike Rivera dart from spot to spot, as if there’s a threat around every Visalia street corner.
Mental Health Peers

Tulare County mental health consumer Mark James: Life began when he tried to kill himself

The walnut trees stood abundant and ordered against the night sky, in sharp contrast to the life of Mark James.
Newborn Promise

Oakland 'godmother’ who curbed black infant death rate retires

Oakland reluctantly parted with a godmother last week, as public health nurse Sandra Tramiel made the final rounds of a career devoted to reducing an African American infant mortality rate that remains among the most stubborn in the country.
Laura's Law Dilemma

A pioneering county tests the limits of 'Laura's Law'

More than a decade later, Carol Stanchfield still recalls the shocking death of Laura Wilcox, a 19-year-old mental health department volunteer who was shot by a patient with a history of evading treatment.
George and Carol Allen
Laura's Law Dilemma

Could Laura's Law have saved Visalia couple's son?

Carol Allen combed through the three-ring binders she kept to document her son's turnstile existence in the mental health system, seeking answers to why his life ended with a shotgun blast by police. The voices of paranoid schizophrenia that first afflicted her son James Allen, 25, four years before his death should have resulted in comprehensive treatment, Carol Allen and her husband George said during an emotional interview at their home.

From the real "Silicon Valley," crowdsourcing a medical diagnosis

My new guilty pleasure is “Silicon Valley,” the HBO series in which everyone from a billionaire mogul, to an ER doctor, to a BevMo clerk, is hawking a tech pro

A singer's Obamacare lament

When we last spoke with leukemia patient Carol Kroger, she had resolved to apply for the state-run health reform exchange Covered California, hoping to escape the rising premiums of her private plan.

Steven Moyer plays a video game
Mental Health Peers

Patient, Heal Thyself

Steven Moyer was prescribed anti-depression medication to help him focus on a new start, but the teenager swallowed the pills in search of an end.
Dr. Mark Ragins and Summer McLane
Mental Health Peers

A pioneer sees the patient's perspective

Dr. Mark Ragins thrusts his palm forward, like a traffic cop instructing cars to stop. He’s discussing the struggles of mental health treatment in California, and tells a story about a patient who reinforces his belief in a different model.

A "Dreamers" chance at Obamacare

Despite persistent claims that Obamacare provides health insurance to undocumented immigrants, an estimated 1 million of them in California and

Health Reform in Hollywood

Performers' hopes tempered by sober realities

Before her injury, dancer Chisa Yamaguchi could catapult 12 feet in the air from a towering stage structure, but Hollywood’s brass ring of health insurance was always out of reach. Then came Obamacare.

Medical interpreters, or child translators? California may have an answer

As President Obama’s health law pushes through the government shutdown, California officials are looking for ways to leverage funding and make the sprawling effort work in a state with unparalleled demographic challenges.

Immigration and Health Reform

Does immigration reform mean health benefits for immigrants?

Clinic director Fred Bauermeister has watched them pass through his doors for decades: men, women and children without medical coverage and chronic ailments that cry out for ongoing care.
Health Reform Outreach

Health reform’s hard sell: California’s diverse middle class

Health outreach worker Maureen Tsang combed the supermarket parking lot in this Asian neighborhood east of Los Angeles, where the details of health reform can get lost in translation.

Anthem Blue Cross in rural California

Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross may have drawn the ire of regulators, not to mention customers, with a planned rate hike earlier this

The measure of health reform’s success, or failure, found at the ER

Last year, I partnered with U-T San Diego to write a five-day series on the city’s efforts to reduce frequent use, even abuse, of the city’s 911 system.

The Un-Enrolled

A million Californians could continue using ERs

This health center on California’s Central Coast serves as a laboratory for the issues facing health reform’s rollout: the working poor come not only for treatment, but to navigate the intricacies of the new public health system.

A journey into the potential of big medical data

My colleagues and I embarked on a data pilgrimage last week -- the good ships of Southwest Airlines standing in for the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Our destination: the Healthy Communities Data Summit in the cyber frontier of San Francisco.

Black infant mortality: An international perspective

In December, I wrote a series of articles with the San Francisco Chronicle that amounted to a tale of two counties in the fight against African American infant mortality.

499,000 Californians -- and counting -- on “Bridge to Reform”

For nearly three years, I’ve monitored the construction of a pre-cursor to health reform’s sprawling Medicaid expansion.

Health Taxes

Taxed or subsidized – a choice for health-uninsured Californians

If you’re among millions of uninsured Californians eligible for government-subsidized insurance, the ripples of health reform start with Monday’s tax deadline.

A push to cut hospital revisits among Medicare seniors

One in five.

At the crossroads of immigration reform and health reform

With President Obama promising that immigration reform will be a signature effort of his second term, a natural question has been asked by health care experts and immigrant advocates alike.

Behind the infant mortality series

Our two-part examination of distinct efforts in Oakland and San Francisco 

Newborn Promise

San Francisco struggles to match California’s gains on black infant mortality

After an agonizingly long fight to reduce the high death rate of African American newborns, California is beginning to make progress against a century-long racial disparity. The state's infant mortality rate among blacks fell 21 percent between 2008 and 2010, the last two years for which data is available, with particularly strong declines in Los Angeles and Oakland.
Newborn Promise

Key to infant health: reducing stress on mom before pregnancy

A consistent theme has emerged from the federal Healthy Start program since its founding in 1991: Infant mortality is not tackled during the 9 months of a woman’s pregnancy alone.

Newborn Promise

On the streets of Oakland, new hope for black infants

In the roughest neighborhoods of Oakland, Sandra Tramiel carries a baby scale in her knapsack as she undertakes a profound mission: saving Alameda County's black children from death before their first birthday.

County hurdles increasingly cleared along “Bridge to Reform”

President Obama’s re-election may have been the vindication of Health Reform on a national level.

Helping those who help the medically underserved

In my last blog, I wrote about state Assembly Bill 589, which seeks to provide medical students a $105,000


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