Months-long in the making, Post-Gazette reporter Lillian Thomas’ “Poor Health: Poverty and Scarce Resources in U.S. Cities” kicks off an occasional series of reports about the barriers to health and health care for low-income urban Americans. Thomas, assistant managing editor of special projects at the Post-Gazette, worked with the Journal Sentinel and Marquette students during the 2013-2014 academic year at the university as part of the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism.
The Post-Gazette and Journal Sentinel analyzed data from the top 52 U.S. metropolitan areas for their reporting. Thomas writes that people in poor neighborhoods are less healthy than their more affluent neighbors but more likely to live in areas with physician shortages and closed hospitals.
Another story explains what drives health care systems to build new hospitals in wealthy areas where health is better than in poor areas and health care resources are already in place. A story of a hospital’s development, growth and closure is told in photos and an interactive timeline traces the economics of U.S. health care.
“Poor Health” also reveals that Milwaukee serves as a case study for the rest of the nation. The series profiles John Patton, a Milwaukee man who has long struggled with unemployment and health problems, and videos tell the story of a small nonprofit in Milwaukee located in a former hospital.
Future installments will examine the effect of hospital closures and new models for improving health care.
Learn more about the work by O'Brien Fellow Lillian Thomas and Marquette students.