Anita Rao

Managing Editor, "The State of Things"/ Host, "Embodied" Series

Anita Rao is the Managing Editor and regular host for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. She hosts the recurring series "Embodied: Conversations about Sex, Relationships & Your Health."

She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. In her spare time she also co-hosts and produces a podcast and radio show about millennial feminism called "She and Her."

Ways to Connect

Illustration of a downtown street.
Courtesy of UNC Libraries

He personally put up the barricades to keep visitors out in order to protect his mountain hometown from the coronavirus. But James Reid remembers when the problem was folks no longer stopping through Andrews. 

a colorful artists' rendering of the greenhouse effect
Jaime Van Wart

Eleanor Spicer Rice spent her childhood fascinated by ants, flies, maggots, bones and other natural curiosities. Her family encouraged that inquisitiveness — her father would take her on walks in the swamps near their Goldsboro home, and her parents never told her the bugs that enchanted her were gross.

A banana with a condom on it.
Pixabay

Can you do condom demonstration over Zoom? What about teaching comprehensive sexual education? In the midst of a pandemic, the answer is unclear. On this segment of Embodied, host Anita Rao talks with Elizabeth Finley about gaps in sex ed brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wall crouched on the street wearing a mask surrounded by protestors.
The News & Observer Staff

As death tolls rise, new testing information surfaces and doctors race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, breaking news is not in short supply. 
 

Courtesy of Justin Catanoso

When in-person classes were cancelled for the semester at Wake Forest University, Professor Justin Catanoso knew he would have to break some of his own rules. 

A woman dressed in black, wearing a mask looks gazes off towards a stream of light
Kate Medley / WUNC

 Death is a taboo topic. Acknowledging it feels like an admission of defeat — that there is no hope left. But in the face of a pandemic, death surrounds us. 

Courtesy of Ty Meyer

For students and educators around the state, this year’s learning is in a state of flux. Public schools are holding out hope that they will reopen their doors before the school year ends. 

Collin Parker

Has anyone checked on the huggers? As weeks of social distancing wear on, many are missing the comforts of a warm embrace — especially those who live alone. Touch has always been an essential emotional and physiological need. In its absence, more people are seeking out creative solutions. From self-massage and weighted blankets to pet fostering and adoption, those sheltering in place are finding new ways to connect with their bodies and their inner selves.

Cartoon image of fertilization.
Flickr Creative Commons

Infertility is a disease that affects millions of people in the United States but is rarely discussed openly. Twelve percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 experienced infertility, along with just over nine percent of men in that age group, according to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers translate to about one in eight couples who have trouble getting or staying pregnant. There are a variety of treatments for infertility, but they can be costly and are not accessible to everyone.

Rae Hsu

Could American democracy be better? It is a big and existential question that is now even more pressing as many watch their friends, neighbors and loved ones fall through the cracks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wikimedia

Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, wrote “all diseases begin in the gut.” He continued the line with the famous advice: “let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine.” New research confirms Hippocrates’ thinking, showing the human gut does much more than just process food.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

When former schoolteacher Jane Whaley and her husband, Sam, founded Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, NC in 1979, no one could have imagined all that the institution would become: a religious movement with global impact; a community that provides housing and job opportunities to its congregation; and a cult dogged with allegations of physical, psychological and spiritual abuse

Fort Bragg provides an ideal environment for the St. Francis Satry, a critically endangered species of butterfly.
Courtesy of Nick Haddad

Of all federal agencies, the Department of Defense manages the highest density of threatened and endangered species, more than even the National Park Service. The special relationship between the Pentagon and environmentalist organizations originates at Fort Bragg.

Courtesy of Ways & Means

What does it mean to take a unique approach to solving problems like gun violence, climate change, voter apathy or racism? It means asking hard questions in different ways and tracking the answers through close study of human behavior. 

Graphic of a bed.
WikiHow

A solid eight hours can be hard to come by in our non-stop, tech-saturated world. But the modern science of sleep shows that shut-eye is just as critical as diet and exercise in shaping both mental and physical health.

Pixabay

While North Carolina politicians ponder their role in the pandemic response, healthcare workers know they will be the first responders no matter what. That is why hospitals are pleading that state and local governments order people to shelter-in-place. 

PBS

After filming five seasons of the Peabody award-winning series, “A Chef’s Life,” Vivian Howard has the cameras pointed in a different direction — this time, away from her. While she is the host of her new show, “Somewhere South,” her role is more like that of a food ethnographer. 

Pixabay

Who are we when faced with widespread contagion? Disease and humanity’s varied responses to sickness are on full-display in cinema – from zombie flicks to documentaries that help deepen our understanding of epidemics in the real world.  

U.S. Congress

A week before the U.S. stock market started to slump, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr sold off a significant portion of his portfolio — while reassuring the public that the nation was prepared for a pandemic. 

Dalvin Nichols 8-Bit Photography

Dealing with the COVID-19 crisis means coping with feelings of fear, confusion and sadness. For musicians, it also means financial precarity as venues and festivals across the state continue to cancel or postpone.
 

Melissa Carrico

Nothing changes your life like the addition of a child. Suddenly, there are so many new things to consider for a tiny human whose brain works in really mysterious ways. 

Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1019274

Many people learn the basics in sex education classes — how men and women procreate and how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections. However, the science of sex goes well beyond basic textbook diagrams. In recent decades, researchers have developed a deeper understanding of the interplay between our brains and our bodies and about the mechanics of sexual desire.

Jared Weber / Carolina Connection

How is the coronavirus pandemic changing your life? North Carolinians share their stories of how this outbreak is affecting all facets of their calendar day, from canceled weddings to closed businesses to concerns about elderly relatives and neighbors. 

Book cover with a yellow leaf.
Courtesy of Therese Anne Fowler

The novel “A Good Neighborhood” (St. Martin’s Press/2020) starts with a premise familiar to many North Carolinians: new residents moving into a historic community and putting up a brand new, giant house. 

Pixabay

Confirmed COVID-19 cases are concentrated in North Carolina’s urban centers up to now, but more rural areas are also feeling the economic and social ripples of the coronavirus pandemic. In North Carolina’s poorest county, the threat of economic recession looms greater than the disease itself. 

Courtesy of Clay Johnson

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everyday life for most North Carolinians as state and federal officials encourage people to stay in their homes and practice social distancing. Many employers are enforcing strict work-from-home policies, and Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all North Carolina schools to close for two weeks. 

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

How will the coronavirus pandemic affect voting? The public and the media are closely watching how incumbents respond to the crisis.

Josie Taris and Amanda Magnus / WUNC

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States is growing every day. The stock markets are crashing. Universities are moving classes online. The NBA, NHL and MLB have all postponed or canceled upcoming games.

Ross and Ruiz-Lopez headshot.
Courtesy of Violet Bell

When North Carolina duo Violet Bell started recording their debut album, they planned to feature  a drummer, plus band members Lizzy Ross and Omar Ruiz-Lopez. But once the tape started rolling, Ross and Ruiz-Lopez realized the music warranted a bigger sound.

Credit: Raleigh Police Department

The Raleigh Police Department released body camera footage on Wednesday evening of an officer’s non-fatal shooting of Javier Torres. A judge authorized the release of the body and dash camera footage of the incident earlier on Wednesday.

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