(via Missouri Foundation for Health)

Reporting from Jacob McCleland of KRCU used in this report.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Missourians have less access to healthcare and tend to be less healthy than the general population. That’s according to a new report by the Missouri Foundation for Health.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

In 2010, the slumping state budget forced the Missouri Department of Mental Health to close the emergency room and 50 short-term beds at the Metropolitan Psychiatric Center.

The move saved $16 million. But it also forced those in need of immediate mental health treatment into local hospitals, which are not designed for those in crisis.

With the help of the area’s two largest hospital systems and some state support, there are now 16 beds available for patients with psychiatric needs who have already been screened at other hospital emergency rooms. Beginning this fall, patients needing urgent mental health care should be able to go straight to the new Psychiatric Stabilization Center.

The PSC is a temporary fix - but its creators are also hoping it helps shift the treatment paradigm.

(via Flickr/nate steiner)

A new study out of Washington University has found that the 2-1-1 phone information system could be an effective tool to fight cancer in low-income and minority communities.

Across the U.S., people can call 2-1-1 to get help with housing, food, and other social service needs.

A new report shows Missouri's unintended pregnancy rate has dropped. Some researchers say it could be due to increased usage of long-lasting contraceptives like IUDs.
(Via Wikimedia Commons/Victor byckttor)

A new study out of Washington University has found that long-term birth control methods are 20 times more effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies.

The research compared the rates of contraceptive failure in women using long-term methods like intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants to those using short-term methods like oral birth control pills or a contraceptive patch.

IndofunkSatish/via Flickr

Judge approves settlement in lawsuit over mental health care for the deaf

A federal judge has approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against two Missouri state agencies on behalf of more than a thousand deaf residents.

Plaintiffs in the 2010 lawsuit alleged that the state departments of Mental Health and Social Services failed to provide adequate mental health care for deaf persons in crisis.

The departments were sued under the  Americans with Disabilities Act.

(University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

St. Louis City is among the ten least healthy counties in Missouri.

That's according to nationwide county health rankings released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

Saint Louis University is hosting a forum on Tuesday about the public health issues facing minorities, in particular African Americans.

A panel of local academics from SLU and Washington University will present their research on topics ranging from maternal health to how segregation affects health literacy.

SLU community health expert Keon Gilbert will talk about the relationship of education to health outcomes in young African American men at risk of dropping out of high school.

(National Cancer Institute)

More than half of cancer cases in the United States could be prevented.

That’s according to a new article published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine by researchers at the Siteman Cancer Center and Washington University.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with lead author Dr. Graham Colditz about what we know about cancer — and why more isn’t being done to prevent it.

(National Institutes of Health)

For years doctors have prescribed acid blockers to children with no symptoms of acid reflux to try to help control their asthma.

But a new study shows the anti-reflux medicine isn't helping.

The research followed more than 300 children between the ages of 6 and 17. In addition to an inhaled steroid, about half the children were given an acid blocker for six months, and half a placebo. None of the children had symptoms of acid reflux.

(via Flickr/

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Governor Pat Quinn announced this afternoon that he plans to close the Jacksonville Developmental Center and Tinley Park Mental Health Center.

Jacksonville is located about 90 miles north of St. Louis.

Quinn's office is calling the closures a "rebalancing."

The Governor plans to move institutionalized patients with developmental disabilities and mental illness to community-based settings.