Health

Screenshot of interactive infant mortality rate map of NC
NC Child

Check out this interactive map to explore where your county stands on infant mortality rate.

North Carolina’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the country—only eight states have worse rates.

Food Research & Action Center

North Carolina has more trouble putting food on the table than most other states, according to a nonprofit anti-hunger organization.

A report from the Food Research and Action Center shows 17 percent of North Carolinians face food insecurity, making the state the 13th worst in the country.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that North Carolina does not have a doctor shortage problem; it has a doctor distribution problem.

Experts say the lack of funding for graduate medical education (GME) in rural areas is one reason that those communities have worse health outcomes.

Spending on high-price specialty drugs has risen dramatically in the past thirteen years, according to new research from UNC-Chapel Hill.

New Guide Helps Local Anglers Avoid Polluted Waterways

Jul 2, 2016
eatfishwisely.org

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill are helping local fishermen identify which fish are most likely to be contaminated by chemical pollutants, and where it’s safer to eat what they catch.

The new website, Eat Fish, Choose Wisely, maps out waterways and fish species with lower levels of contamination, along with some that should be avoided entirely.

Dr. Douglas Miyazaki of Novant Health's new Pelvic Health Center in Winston-Salem
Patti Friend / Novant Health

Novant Health opened a comprehensive pelvic health clinic in Winston-Salem this week. It's one of only a few in the state that offers a wide range of treatment and conducts research on organ prolapse and incontinence. 

Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

A private company that owns mental health care facilities in western North Carolina is coming under fire for its treatment record and its insensitive corporation name: Nutz R Us.

One family tells the Carolina Public Press that it had little control over their son's placement in a Nutz R Us facility because a private guardianship company was making his treatment decisions. The CPP investigation found the state has little oversight of the industry.

Book Cover For 'In A Different Key'
Crown Publishers

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.  

The term "autism" dates back to the 1930s when a pediatrician named Hans Asperger coined it to describe young boys he was treating who had high intelligence but limited social skills.

The new book, "In A Different Key: The Story of Autism" (Crown/2016) looks at the term and documents how scientific and popular understanding of the disorder have shifted and evolved tremendously in the past century.

A picture of the Vidant Health clinic in Belhaven.
Courtesy of Vidant Health

Vidant Health has opened a 24-hour urgent care clinic in Belhaven. It offers minor emergency and pre-natal care, a full lab, X-rays and a general family practice.

The cover of the 2016 Kids Count Data Book
The cover of the 2016 Kids Count Data Book

Health and education indicators are improving among North Carolina children despite spotty economic recovery, according to an annual report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 2016 Kids Count Data Book ranks North Carolina 34th in the country for overall wellbeing, which is up one spot from the year before.

A picture of chickens.
woodley wonderworks / Wikipedia

The Centers for Disease Control is investigating a series of Salmonella outbreaks across 35 states that sickened more than 300 people since January, including 26 in North Carolina. Health officials say backyard poultry may be to blame. They’re warning chicken owners to wash their hands and avoid snuggling or kissing their birds.

photo of a stethoscope
Wesley Wilson / Pexels

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the federal government hoped visits to the Emergency Room - some of the most expensive treatments in the industry - would decrease.

Instead, ER visits are rising. Experts blame the spike on patients who have health insurance for the first time and have yet to visit a primary care physician.

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

A national study shows most Americans support raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.

The survey was conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has stirred up numerous conversations about the lives of transgender Americans. It has also illuminated many misconceptions about what gender identity is and how it is formed.

Groups of scientists have stood up in opposition to HB2, arguing that there are genetic and biological causes of gender differences, and for the vast majority of trans individuals, their gender identity is not a choice.

Hospital room
PROFotos GOVBA / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast  

Visiting the hospital in a rural area can be a challenge for Medicare patients because of scattered locations and a lack of healthcare professionals. But returning to the hospital for a follow-up visit is even more difficult, according to a new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

'Boy Erased'

May 18, 2016
An image of author Garrard Conley
Colin Boyd Shafer

Growing up in a small town in Arkansas, Garrard Conley dealt with strict social codes on what it meant to be man and a Christian. He was outed as gay to his parents at the age of 19.

Alex Prolmos / Flickr Creative Commons

The latest numbers from the Pew Research Center show that the number of Americans who say they believe in God has declined in recent years. And millennials are much less likely than older Americans to belong to any religious faith.
 

But despite these trends, psychiatrist and researcher Harold Koenig argues that science shows that religious belief is good for mental and physical health.

Stethoscope
jasleen_kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

A new collaboration between SAS and the Duke Clinical Research Institute will provide researchers from around the world with an enormous database of patients who have suffered from heart disease.

Matt Gross is Director of Health and Life Sciences Global Practice at SAS.  He says the database is the largest cardiovascular database around and will eventually help find new ways to treat heart disease.

When Dawn Dreyer was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder, her therapist suggested that she make drawings as a way to cope with her depression.

The drawings evolved into a comic strip about a superhero called Bipolar Girl and Kacey the Wonderdog, who are in constant battle with The Creature, a villain who represents shame, depression and perfectionism. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has said it might remove some of its health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act.
Jed Record / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly a hundred health care providers have filed complaints saying Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has not paid their claims for months.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter

More than 400,000 children in the United States are living in foster care. The statistics about what happens to these children later in life are startling: only about 50 percent finish high school, less than 10 percent go on to higher education. Ashley Rhodes-Courter is an exception to this statistic, but she has devoted her life’s work to speaking out on behalf of her many former foster care siblings who continue to struggle.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Supporters of North Carolina's House Bill 2 say it protects public health and safety by requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

But opponents point to research that says restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity worsen health outcomes among people in those communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shoshana Goldberg, a doctoral candidate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, about the public health implications of House Bill 2.

The book cover of 'By the Bedside of the Patient: Lessons for the Twenty-First Century Physician.'
UNC Press

The doctor-patient relationship should produce trust and reassurance, but Nortin Hadler, M.D., says this relationship has evolved to one where physicians have little incentive to spend quality time with patients.

Dorothy Managan, 93, served as an Army nurse in Tacoma, Wa. after World War II. She recently added her life story to her medical record at the Asheville, N.C. VA Medical Center.
Jay Price / American Homefront

 

For many health professionals, treating patients is a matter of assessing their ailments, making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment where it is required. Then it is on to the next patient. But a new program in VA medical centers aims to make connections between medical professionals and their patients through narratives.
 

An image of Wendee Wechsberg and a child
Wendee Wechsberg

Wendee Wechsberg has worked with drug addicts and HIV patients across the world, from urban North Carolina communities to rural South Africa. She has always done her research with the motto: "What can I do to help?"

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says it's working to reduce the error rate in Medicaid payments to providers and hospitals.

A new report from State Auditor Beth Wood says North Carolina improperly spent $835 million last year.

Condoms
Inga / Wikipedia

Wake County reported more than 200 syphilis cases last year. Wake County's Public Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford says that's a big up-tick compared to fewer than 40 cases in 2003. A majority of new cases involve African-American men who are HIV positive.

An image of author Laura Wright
Ashley Evans

Note: this is a rebroadcast from November 5, 2015.

For author Laura Wright, being a vegan is a choice in diet and identity. It shapes what she eats and wears, as well as how she is perceived in a culinary culture that revolves around meat.

Image of Kate Bowler with her son and husband
Courtesy of Kate Bowler

When Kate Bowler was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last year, she thought, “well, isn’t this ironic?” Bowler is a scholar of the prosperity gospel, the theology that those with the right kind of beliefs will receive God’s grace. As she grapples with her diagnosis, she reflects on life, death, and where faith fits into the picture. She wrote about it in the New York Times, "Death, The Prosperity Gospel, And Me."

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known as the primary carrier of the Zika virus.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Wake County Health Department confirmed another case of the Zika virus this week.

It is the fifth confirmed case in North Carolina since the outbreak in Brazil. But scientists here say differences in mosquito species, climate and lifestyle make it much more difficult for the virus to spread. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Michael Reiskind, entomology professor at North Carolina State University, about why he thinks a Zika outbreak in North Carolina is not likely.

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