Kicking off Valley Fever Awareness Month in Kern County, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., launched the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force website Tuesday.

Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera made U.S. News & World Report’s new 2017-2018 Best Children’s Hospitals list in the categories of Pediatric Orthopedics (36th), Pediatric Diabetes & Endocrinology (46th) and Pediatric Gastroenterology & Gastrointestinal Surgery (50th).

Kern County Public Health Services officials are warning consumers about the health risks of purchasing pork rinds, tacos and other treats from unpermitted mobile vendors and launched a new campaign Monday to help report scofflaws.

Bakersfield and several other San Joaquin Valley cities rank among the worst in the nation for air quality, increasing the potential for health risks associated with breathing poor air, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association in California.

A San Joaquin Valley-based health foundation is investing $3 million in 70 regional nonprofits with the ambitious goal of improving health outcomes through policy work, but there are varying levels of detail as to how the money will be used.

The Center at Sierra Health Foundation announced an ambitious initiative Thursday, donating $3 million to 69 nonprofit groups — 11 of which are Kern County-based — to create policy change aimed at creating better health outcomes for those struggling in the San Joaquin Valley.

The opioid addiction crisis has led to a crackdown on prescriptions of drugs such as oxycodone, fentanyl and hydrocodone, particularly for chronic pain patients, who are increasingly given less addictive painkillers along with referrals for acupuncture, physical therapy, massage and even yoga.