NATIONAL. Healthcare Bowl 2017: Atlanta vs New England (MCOL Blog)

By Clive Riddle, February 3, 2017

The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots square off this Sunday in Houston during a Lady Gaga concert (the halftime show.) But another performance between this two cities is playing out on a daily basis – healthcare indicators. Let’s see how Atlanta vs. New England stack up in a healthcare bowl.

Instead of the venue for this comparison being NRG stadium in Houston, we find ourselves at The Big Cities Health Coalition, a “forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of the 54 million people they serve.” Their playing field is a Data Platform that features over 17,000 data points across 28 large cities.

Here’s the selected results from their data platform. Let’s score 7 points when one city’s indicator bests the US average and the other city is below the US average, and 3 points the better city when both or neither best the US average. Data is from 2013, and represents Fulton County for Atlanta and the Boston metropolitan area for New England.

Read more.

ATLANTA. HIV rate among gay Atlanta men as high as 1 in 2

Two recent studies show the staggering reach of HIV in metro Atlanta, documenting how the region leads other large urban areas in HIV diagnoses and how as many as 1 in 2 gay men in some counties are HIV-positive.

The South – and its mix of poverty, unemployment, lack of education and health insurance – has long been a hotbed for HIV. And Georgia – along with metro Atlanta – are among the leaders in HIV rates in study after study.

A new report from the Big Cities Health Coalition highlights the problem – again. Among 28 large urban areas studied, Atlanta's rate of HIV diagnoses was the second highest, behind only Washington, D.C. The region's rate is also five times higher than the national average, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

HIV diagnoses rate in Atlanta (72.5 out of 100,000) was higher than every other city studied, with the exception of Washington, D.C. (91.4 out of 100,000). The U.S. average is 13.4 percent.

Other indicators in the coalition's report were just as startling:

  • Atlanta had the highest AIDS diagnoses rate of all the cities studied but Washington, D.C. The national average is 8 AIDS cases per 100,000 people. The rate in Atlanta and Fulton County is 30.4, with Washington, D.C. at 48.9.
  • Atlanta's HIV-related mortality rate is nearly four times the national average and the second-highest of cities included in the study. Atlanta's rate is 8.1 per 100,000 people, compared to a U.S. average of 2.1. Long Beach, Calif., ranked highest with a rate of 16.7 HIV-related deaths per 100,000 people.
  • The rate of people living with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta and Fulton is 1,613.3 per 100,000 people – nearly six times the national rate of 295.1. That's third behind Washington, D.C. (2,714) and San Francisco (1,903.4).

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NATIONAL. Drug, HIV crises hit HHS nominee Price close to home

By Meredith Wadman Dec. 2, 2016

Representative Tom Price (R–GA), the physician and congressman who is Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), represents a wealthy suburban district just north of Atlanta that is regularly ranked by Forbes and others as one of the best places to live in the country.

But Price’s district is also experiencing some public health crises that he will likely be dealing with as HHS secretary: a serious heroin and opioid abuse epidemic, as well as elevated HIV infection rates.

The heroin problem was described in great detail in this investigative special by the local NBC affiliate 11Alive, which aired in March.  The narrator introduces the multipart series with the following stark facts:

“Just north of Atlanta, heroin is killing more of our young people than violent crime. Atlanta’s most affluent area is dealing with a nearly 4000% increase in heroin-related deaths over the past 5 years.” She names as particular problems towns including Alpharetta, Roswell, and Johns Creek—all in the heart of Price’s district.

Data released this week by the Big Cities Health Coalition Project further flesh out the picture. It shows Fulton County—which takes up a chunk of Price’s district, as well as much of the city of Atlanta—with a higher rate of HIV diagnoses in 2013 and of accidental deaths from opioid overdoses in 2014 than all but one of 28 cities studied.

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ATLANTA. Atlanta improves its health in some areas, but not HIV or opioid overdoses (SLIDESHOW) (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

Ellie Hensley Staff WriterAtlanta Business Chronicle

Atlantans improved their health when it comes to factors like smoking, but its opioid-related overdose deaths are on the rise, according to a new health data platform by The Big Cities Health Coalition.

The coalition compared health indicators across 28 large urban areas, including Fulton County in Atlanta. It assessed over 17,000 data points, including over 50 health and socio-demographic indicators.

See slideshow here.