Anita Rao

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

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 and podcast Embodied.

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

Creative Commons 2.0

 

 

Nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd are still underway, and they have reignited discourse around race and racism. These conversations can be particularly challenging for friends, partners, and colleagues of different races.

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Perhaps you are grateful for the lack of election news. While coverage of presidential primary contenders started back in 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden has all but disappeared from the news. 

Courtesy of Blair Publishing

Twenty-five years ago, renowned poet Lenard D. Moore invited a group of his peers into his basement for a session of writing critique. That monthly gathering evolved into the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, which has supported over 60 writers across a variety of styles through their careers. 

Deuel News Co./UNC Libraries Commons

Coming of age in a decaying milltown is a common American recipe for brain drain. While growing up in Canton, Zeb Smathers anxiously watched his community struggle with the fallout from globalization. 

Workers cutting meat
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Meat processing facilities in North Carolina have seen coronavirus outbreaks among their workers, disrupting supply chains and causing concerns about meat shortages. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told a North Carolina news collaborative on Tuesday that there are 2,146 cases in 28 outbreaks at meat processing facilities. 

A pregnant woman holds a yellow face mask over her midsection.
Marco Verch/Creative Commons

Pregnancy and postpartum experiences can already be rife with anxiety. But since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, expectant and new mothers’ anxieties have heightened exponentially. 

Brooke Bust-Webber/WUNC

Summer for many families in North Carolina is filled with beach weekends, getaways to the mountains, bountiful produce and other fun in the sun. But how much of that will be possible this season with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?


Rudell leans against a white wall while holding a mug.
Yuri Vaysgant Photography

As a holiday weekend typically celebrated with travel and social gatherings approaches, Governor Roy Cooper announced the state’s plans for proceeding with Phase Two of reopening. 

Courtesy of Crystal Moore

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, people with substance use disorders and those in recovery find themselves at risk for relapses and overdoses. Feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety act as triggers for substance use and mental health issues. 

One person films two people kissing. The two people kissing are leaning onto a bed.
Courtesy of Pink and White Productions

How comfortable are you talking about porn and erotica? Does it make you embarrassed? Ashamed? If you knew more about how porn is made, and how to navigate your own exploration of pleasure, would you still blush at the mention of it?
 

When this year’s seniors started their final year of high school, they could not have imagined that their spring would involve canceled proms, drive-thru cap and gown pickups and postponed graduation ceremonies.

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. 

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