Image of NC Author Belle Boggs
Courtesy of Belle Boggs

Infertility affects one in eight couples in the United States, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association. That statistic amounts to millions of Americans, but despite the high numbers, many keep their struggle private. For many years writer Belle Boggs was one of those individuals.

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.

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.

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.

ICD-9 logo / Wikipedia

Doctors and hospitals will have a higher bar to clear when submitting insurance claims, starting today.

Federal law requires them to begin tracking patient care and submitting insurance claims using the more specific ICD-10 coding system. The broader ICD-9 had been in place for decades.

Julie Henry is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Hospital Association.

Image of Damon Tweedy, who is a professor psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke.
Stock Photography

When Damon Tweedy was in his first year of medical school, he learned a number of startling statistics that led him to the conclusion that being black is somehow bad for your health.

He heard over and over how black patients were faring worse than other patients in almost every field of medicine, but nobody seemed to be talking about the reasons for this disparity.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.

A state task force says rural communities need more strategic investments and partnerships to improve their residents' health. 

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine's Task Force on Rural Health released a report Monday about health disparities in rural counties. 

It says many of their childhood nutrition programs need more attention.  And local schools need more help to recruit health care professionals who will stay and work in rural North Carolina.

A picture of eye glasses and an eye chart.
Les Black / Creative Commons

North Carolina's proposed budget includes a request for public and private university networks to study the feasibility of creating at least one optometry school in the state.

Aspiring optometrists currently have to leave North Carolina for their education.

Thania Benios Health and Science Editor at UNC

It’s not often that you get the chance to interview your personal hero on the day you become a doctor, but yesterday, I got to do just that. Minutes after I graduated from UNC School of Medicine, I had the chance to speak with UNC commencement speaker Dr. Atul Gawande. Dr. Gawande is a Harvard surgeon, best-selling author and has been named one of the world’s 100 most influential thinkers by TIME magazine. His acclaim comes from his ability to write about health care problems in a way that is easy to understand and powerful enough to effect change.

Typhoid Vaccination
Library of Congress CALL NUMBER: LC-USW36-828 [P&P] Transfer from U.S. Office of War Information, 1944.

In April of last year, a North Carolina resident developed a fever and rash shortly after returning from a trip to India. He had contracted measles abroad, and by the end of May, the North Carolina Division of Public Health identified 22 more cases of measles in the area. Many of those infected, including the initial patient, had not been vaccinated against the disease.

Medical School Residency Match Day
Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo / Flickr/Creative Commons

Next Friday, over 17,000 U.S. medical students will find out exactly what kind of doctor they will become. The process is called ‘the match’, and it works more like high-stakes speed dating than a job application process. 

During the last year of medical school, much like in high school, medical students apply to residency programs across the country. The programs then send invitations to select applicants to interview at their institution.

For some residency fields such as family medicine, students may only have to interview at a handful of institutions because there are more spots than there are U.S. students applying for that field. But for many other fields, such as plastic surgery or ophthalmology, students often interview at 15 or more places in order to have a good chance at matching. The process takes up to 3 months and can cost thousands of dollars. (Students are expected to pay these costs themselves.) 

Dr. Anthony Atala
Screen Shot from his TED Talk

With the abundance of universities, industry and research companies, it's no surprise that North Carolina is a leader in innovation. Here are three cutting-edge medical and science advancements developed locally that may soon have global effects.

1. Printing Organs with Stem Cells

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

A new online guidebook aims to help connect doctors with public health agencies to fight chronic illnesses like diabetes.  Those illnesses make up 80-percent of health care costs today, compared to only 20-percent in 1900.

Duke's Department of Community and Family Medicine partnered with the de Beaumont Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch "Public Health and Primary Care Together: A Practical Playbook.” It suggests ways primary care and public health providers can better manage chronic disease and combat rising health care costs.

A scene from Love Alone with Julia Gibson as Helen Warren and Jenny Wales as Dr. Becca Neal.
Playmakers Repertory Company

When Dr. Becca Neal loses a patient after a routine procedure, she grieves much like the patient's family. 

Medicine's Michelangelo explores the life and work of medical illustrator Frank Netter.
Quinnipiac Press

One of the most influential physicians of the 20th century was not a practicing doctor, but an artist.  

Implanting a Bioengineered Blood Vessel into a patient at Duke University Hospital
Shawn Rocco

A team of doctors implanted a bioengineered blood vessel into a patient with late stage kidney disease at Duke University Hospital in June.   

Meet Peter Ubel

Nov 26, 2012
Peter Ubel

Medical decisions are fraught with emotion and often have drastic impacts, yet we leave much of the choice in the hands of the doctors. They have been to medical school, after all. But Dr. Peter Ubel thinks the medical establishment has got it all wrong. Patients need way more participation in their medical decisions, and doctors should not dictate treatments. He explores this issue as well as others in his new book, “Critical Decisions: How You and Your Doctor Can Make the Right Decisions Together” (HarperOne/2012).

Rib spreaders allow doctors the ability to get inside the human chest and fix the internal organs. However, these devices, created in the 1930s, can do a great deal of damage to ribs, nerves and ligaments. Hugh Crenshaw and Charles Pell, co-founders of the medical technology company Physcient wanted to change that, so they designed a new kind of rib spreader, one that spares the patient the needless agony caused by old models. Host Frank Stasio talks to Crenshaw and Pell about their medical innovation.

A years-long project to coordinate heart attack care among North Carolina's hundreds of hospitals and emergency services has shortened response times and reduced the number of deaths.

That's according to a study out this week. One of its authors is Duke cardiologist James Jollis. He says one way the system reduced response times was by creating standard statewide practices for EMS workers.