Health

Sufis Doucet

For Durham-based architect Phil Freelon, 2016 was a year of triumphs and setbacks. Freelon was the lead architect for the National Museum of African American History & Culture and celebrated the museum’s opening in Washington D.C. last fall. But months before the opening, Freelon was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

sick person thermometer
Claus Rebler / Flickr, Creative Commons

A new phone app that tracks the spread of illnesses in school age children is gaining popularity in the Triad.

Durham Regional Hospital
Duke Medecine

Hospitals in the Triangle were consistently graded high in patient safety.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit health organization, uses 30 measures of hospital safety data to grade health systems. It assigns letter grades to make the grades simpler to understand.

The Robert Wood Johnson green map below shows the distribution of North Carolina’s health outcomes, based on an equal weighting of length and quality of life.
County Health Rankings / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new analysis of health statistics shows there is still a divide between rural and urban health outcomes in North Carolina. 

The annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows the healthiest counties are Wake, Orange and Union. The worst outcomes were in Edgecombe, Scotland and Robeson counties.

Catherine Coleman Flowers

Lowndes County, Alabama covers more than 700 square miles in the south-central portion of the state. It is part of the Black Belt, a region with dense soil that was once the site of thriving cotton plantations. The area declined rapidly during industrialization, and the chalky, clay soil that was once the key to thriving cotton fields, became a disaster for sewage systems. To this day, large swaths of Lowndes County residents have either inadequate or no septic system, which leads to a wide range of environmental and public health issues.

jessamynstanley.com

 Jessamyn Stanley did not like yoga when she first started. Stanley’s first yoga class ended with her lying in a heap, overcome with nausea. But the body positivity advocate found her way back the mat years later and started sharing her journey with yoga on social media. Her honest posts on Instagram and Tumblr made Stanley a social media star.

Laura Pellicer

For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic injustices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.

Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.

Small Nonprofit, Big Impact: Meet Juni Asiyo

Mar 20, 2017
Juni Asiyo wearing traditional Kenyan clothing.
Juni Asiyo

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from April 27. 2015.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the most serious HIV and AIDS epidemic in the world. In 2012, roughly 25 million people were living with HIV, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the global total. 

The battle is ongoing, as researchers, educators, and doctors continue to work to stop AIDS once and for all.

Right: MRI of a baby at 6 months who was diagnosed with autism at 2 years. The dark space between the brain folds and skull indicate increased amounts of cerebrospinal fluid. Left: MRI of a baby who was not diagnosed with autism at age 2.
UNC School of Medicine

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill might have found an early predictor of autism in infants.

Dr. Yu and grad assistant NC A&T LAB
Courtesy of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences / N.C. A&T State University

A researcher at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University may have found a way to alter people’s peanut allergies with a reduced-allergen peanut.

jasleen_kaur / flickr, Creative Commons

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has issued a policy brief recommending a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cuts to Medicaid spending, a move that worries child advocacy organizations.

Courtesy St. Martin's Press

Haider Warraich is only 29 years old, but he is no stranger to death. Throughout his training as a doctor, he has witnessed the death of multiple patients. Warraich was trained in the appropriate medical response to death but remained stumped by a multitude of bigger questions about the process, such as what role does religion play in a hospital, and how does social media change how we process death and dying?  

At least seven people have died from flu complications in North Carolina, according to health officials.
Mike Mozart / flickr, Creative Commons

The state Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that the flu is now widespread with a high intensity across North Carolina.

Image of atomic wasteland in Nagasaki
Hayashi Shigeo, Courtesy of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

In 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs in Japan, killing more than 200,000 individuals within a year.

Image of Lisa Hightown-Weidman and her family
Courtesy of Lisa Hightow-Weidman

Lisa Hightow-Weidman grew up with her nose always in a book. She majored in English in college and had aspirations of becoming a writer.

A Duke University study found a link between poverty and smoking in adolescents.
Valentin Ottone via Flickr, Creative Commons

A report from the American Lung Association says North Carolina should do more to prevent and reduce tobacco use.

The group's annual "Tobacco Control Report Card" gave the state an "F" in every category it measures: funding for tobacco prevention and control programs, tobacco taxes, smoke-free air, access to cessation services, and laws that raise the smoking age to 21.

Abortion rates in North Carolina and the United States
Guttmacher Institute

North Carolina's abortion rate has inched up since 2011, even as the national rate continues a long and steady decline, according to new figures released by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports legalized abortion.

gloved hands holding blood packet and needle
Fotos GOVBA / Flickr/Creative Commons

The American Red Cross is recovering from a shortage in blood donations after last week's winter weather.

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from December 15, 2016.

President Obama signed legislation this week allocating $1 billion dollars to address the nation's worsening opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are on the rise, and current policies are inadequate in addressing the issues. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Just as a new Republican-led Congress on Capitol Hill is discussing how to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, North Carolina's newly elected governor pledged to implement portions of the ACA that had been left behind in this state.

Photos of Selena, the daughter of Louise Vincent
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

This is the final of three stories in a series looking into North Carolina's opioid drug epidemic. Read the first and second stories.

Louise Vincent believes her daughter, Selena, would still be alive today if a harm reduction treatment method were more widely accepted.

A picture of downtown Belhaven.
Property Wizard / Wikipedia

Demolition has begun on the former Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven, after Superior Court Judge Gregory McGuire denied a request to prevent the destruction.

Narcan kits that provide naloxone
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

This is the second of three stories in a series looking into North Carolina's opioid drug epidemic. Read the first story here.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram was losing a battle against drugs.

Louise Vincent sits in her office and looks at photos of Selena
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

This is the first of three stories in a series looking into North Carolina's opioid drug epidemic.

On many days, Louise Vincent still cries.

She thinks about what might have been. Maybe her daughter, Selena, could have been a mother herself. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a social worker.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Transgender state employees will soon be able to get hormonal treatments and gender confirmation surgery under the State Health Plan.

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