Health

Gun deaths in the U.S. have been driving down black life expectancy at a significantly higher rate than for white Americans. That’s according to a new study led by Boston University researchers, funded by the National Institute of Justice.

Co-author Bindu Kalesan is an epidemiologist and data scientist at Boston University. She said plenty is already known about the rates of gun deaths for different racial groups in the U.S.

Georgetown University Health Policy Institute

Four-thousand more children in North Carolina went uninsured in 2017 than in the previous year. That's as the number of children around the country without health insurance went up for the first time in a decade, according to a recent analysis from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

Ariel view of the UNC Rex Healthcare campus in west Raleigh
UNC Rex Healthcare

UNC Rex Healthcare announced a plan to build a $65 million cancer center at its west Raleigh campus. The new center will ratchet up competition with Duke Raleigh Hospital – which already has two cancer centers, including one in the shadow of Rex's campus – and sets up the UNC Health Care system hospital to pad its bid for a new piece of expensive medical equipment in 2019.

Michelle Williams, left, holding a picture of her sister Tracy, standing with Monica McInnis.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

July 26, 2015, is a date etched in Michelle Williams' memory forever. That's the day her sister Tracy was murdered.

"Every time I tell that, I have to say the whole thing. In my head it's a news broadcast," she said. "Tracy Williams murdered by her ex-partner. At a Franklin County Food Lion parking lot. On July 26, 2015."

There have been seven cases of mumps reported in North Carolina.
Flickr

North Carolina officials say a chickenpox outbreak at a private school has grown to the state's largest in more than two decades.

a little angry man with his head turning red and ears blowing steam
Creative Commons

Rampant school shootings, recent mail bomb threats and a massacre at a synagogue give the impression that Americans are angry. And a quick flick through the news provides ample examples of leaders spouting angry rhetoric and encouraging violence. So, are Americans getting angrier?

A young pregnant mother receives a shot in her left arm to prevent pertussis in future child.
James Morrison / WUNC

You may have have heard that last year's flu vaccine was a little less effective than usual, but state health officials say that's no excuse to skip the vaccine this year. Studies show getting vaccinated not only helps prevent the spread of the disease, it also reduces the severity of illness in people who are vaccinated but still get sick.

photo of a doctor
www.maxpixel.net/Doctor-Medicine-Health-Stetoscope-Medical-563428

North Carolina has finally obtained official federal government approval to shift the state's Medicaid program to a managed-care system.

photo of a doctor
www.maxpixel.net/Doctor-Medicine-Health-Stetoscope-Medical-563428

  Is the high cost of health care keeping black women from following up on breast cancer treatment? A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals black women are less likely to adhere to breast cancer follow-up treatments.

ILO in Asia and the Pacific / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/2PSyGCE

State employees in North Carolina spend a lot of money on healthcare and cost their employer millions. State treasurer Dale Folwell has argued these fees are obscure and out of control. He has called the financial reimbursement model unexplainable, unacceptable, and unsustainable and says the state is at risk of overpaying medical claims since it cannot independently verify it receives the proper contractual discounts. Now his proposal for how to fix it—and save the state $300 million—has been unanimously accepted by the state health plan board. 

Transgender advocates were available outside the State Health Plan Board of Trustees meeting in Raleigh on Oct. 22, 2018. From left to right: Max Kadel, Noah Lewis, Connor Thonen-Fleck, Alexis Thonen, Deborah Thomson, Jeanne Duwve, Ames Simmons.
Courtesy of by Paul E. Smith

The open enrollment period ends next week for 720,000 North Carolina employees and teachers, and for the second year in a row, the State Health Plan coverage excludes gender dysphoria treatment for transgender and non-binary employees.

An infographic from the CDC on how to spot Acute Flaccid Myelitis in children.
Courtesy of the CDC

A rare and mysterious affliction appears to be on a national upswing, and North Carolina has two possible and one confirmed case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis so far this year. 

Courtesy Melina Kibbe

When Melina Kibbe took the helm of the department of surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2016, she was only the 15th woman in the country in that role. Beyond carving a path as a woman in a top spot in the medical world, Kibbe is also on a mission for sex equity in research.

foster care children
Credit U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina has about 117,000 young parents between age 18 to 24. Few of these young parents have a degree, and most of them are poor, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count report.

If you've ever tried to ripen a piece of fruit by sticking it in a bag with a banana, you've harnessed the power of ethylene.

Ethylene is an important plant hormone. In bananas and many other fruits, production of ethylene surges when the fruit is ready to ripen. This surge triggers the transformation of a hard, green, dull fruit into a tender, gaudy, sweet thing that's ready-to-eat.

A picture of a patient and a doctor meeting over a web connection.
Cisco Systems

Dealing with a sick child or a minor ailment can be especially tough while waiting out a storm. UNC Healthcare has a solution for anyone in North Carolina who needs to consult a doctor for minor issues as Hurricane Florence hits the state.

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

Healthcare reform has been a hotly-debated topic for decades. The United States spends about twice as much on healthcare than any other wealthy country in the world, but American health outcomes are worse.

Courtesy Raymond Barfield

For most of his life, Raymond Barfield was a person of faith. He grew up in the church and maintained his faith right up to his early years as a physician. But his time working as a pediatric oncologist pushed him to the limits of his emotional and spiritual capacity.

Image for stories to save lives
Southern Oral History Program / Center for the Study of the American South

Cardiologist Dr. Ross Simpson has spent years studying premature sudden death. He investigates why people between the ages of 18-64 with no pre-existing conditions are dying in North Carolina. 

More Parents Not Vaccinating Their Kids

Aug 30, 2018
Dr. Sam Kohn in his office with staff
Helen Chickering / Blue Ridge Public Radio

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

Angel Medical Center
Courtesy of Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The sale of not-for-profit community hospital system Mission Health to a national health care titan is underway in Western North Carolina.

This map shows the disparity of premium rate changes for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Affordable Care Act customers
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

In late July, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced it would reduce – on average – the health insurance premiums on Affordable Care Act plans by 4 percent.

This week, many customers learned that doesn't necessarily mean it applies to them.

Courtesy of Michelle Skipper

When Hurricane Matthew devastated her rural community, Michelle Skipper was there to help. She and her husband cooked and did laundry for hundreds of people staying at an emergency shelter in St. Pauls, a small town in Eastern North Carolina. 

Photo of prescription bottle and pils
Eric Norriss / Flickr Creative Commons

The number of drug overdose deaths in North Carolina jumped by more than 22 percent in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. North Carolina saw the second-highest spike in the country after Nebraska.

Asheville Fire Department

A ruling in a North Carolina firefighter's death could open the door for more benefits for their surviving families.

Students in the Medical Education Development (MED) Program (left to right) Jazmine Walker, Miguel Vasquez, Gloribel Vanegas, and Joshua Walker prepare to dissect a cadaver at UNC Chapel Hill on July 5, 2018.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Jazmine Walker unzips a blue body bag. A gaggle of students in scrubs and surgical masks surround her. Teams of five crowd around cadavers around the room, about to begin their first dissection of a human body. But these are not medical students − not yet anyway.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

Premiums for the majority Affordable Care Act plans in North Carolina will decrease for the first time in history, but the chief executive of the state's largest health insurer says they would be 15 percent lower if not for actions taken by the Trump Administration.

Fayetteville Police Department Captain Lars Paul shows a naloxone injectable kit and a naloxone nose spray Fayetteville police use to reverse opioid overdose.
Raul Rubiera / For WUNC

Last year, public attention turned to the opioid crisis for months. Policymakers implemented plans to curb overdoses and providers across the health care spectrum vowed to do their part to stem the crisis.

A cigarette in an ashtray.
Tomasz Sienicki / Wikipedia

The State Health Plan will change vendors for its smoking cessation program.

The plan, which provides health insurance coverage to 727,000 North Carolina public sector teachers, current and former lawmakers, and retirees and their dependents, will switch from QuitlineNC to CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic.

President John F. Kennedy in the motorcade where he was assassinated, with Texas Governor John Connally sitting in front of him.
Walt Cisco / Dallas Morning News

Americans know that on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed as he rode in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Many people don’t know, however, that Texas Governor John Connally was riding in the same car as President Kennedy that day and was also hit by a bullet. He was seriously wounded, but he recovered. 

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