In early 2020, a team of researchers from UC Berkeley and UCSF published findings in The Lancet Planetary Health that connected the historic practice of “redlining” neighborhoods—a discriminatory practice in which mortgage lenders deny loans to certain areas of a community, often people of color—to current asthma rates.
The researchers found that asthma emergencies are more common in California neighborhoods that in 1935 were labeled “low grade” by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation. So were air pollution, the percentage of people living in poverty, and the percentage of people of color. A discriminatory plan from 85 years ago may be one of the underlying causes of asthma emergencies among people of color today.
That peer-reviewed paper is now available for middle and high school students after being “translated” by the non-profit Science Journal for Kids—a platform providing free high-quality STEM teaching resources to science teachers.
According to Science Journal for Kids’ editor Tanya Dimitrova: “These findings have relevance to all parts of society, especially school-age students. Children have the right to understand the state of the world they are inheriting from us.”
Science Journal for Kids—founded by a UC Berkeley graduate in 2015 with a current annual readership of 600,000—has adapted more than 150 academic papers on topics ranging from climate change and water resource management to economics and technology.
Anthony Nardone, lead author of the original study and graduate researcher at UC Berkeley and UCSF said, “We believe that this adaptation can inspire young students to pursue public health, both to empower their communities and fight for social justice. These are uniquely trying times, and thus, it is crucial to engage our youth to feel empowered to fix these problems that still plague our society today, to instill the belief that a brighter, more inclusive future is possible, and to see that science can and should be a part of fueling such changes.”