Tested Podcast

  

Tested is a hard look at how North Carolina and its neighbors face the day's challenges. Hosted by journalists Dave DeWitt and Leoneda Inge. Produced at North Carolina Public Radio, WUNC.

Available now on Apple Podcasts, StitcherGoogle PodcastsNPR One, Spotify, and the WUNC App.

Retired Four-Star Army Gen. Lloyd Austin will be the first Black U.S. secretary of defense. Host Leoneda Inge talks about what this historic appointment might mean for troops and veterans of color with David Chrisinger, an expert on white supremacy in the military, and Mary Tobin of the West Point Women's alumni association who mentors young Black officers.


Showing Up

Jan 19, 2021

It’s been a year since the coronavirus began spreading in the U.S. and it shows no sign of slowing down. Tim Sheahan is a coronavirus researcher and assistant professor of epidemiology at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. He tells host Dave DeWitt about the relentless workload that comes with an unforgiving pandemic.  


Many African Americans have a healthy skepticism of a racist health care system. Now Black health professionals have an uphill battle to promote the COVID vaccine.

Host Leoneda Inge talks about trust in both the medicine and messaging with Meharry Medical College President James Hildreth, Duke Medical Center nurse Faye Williams and clinical trial participants Curtis and Benita Perkins.  


Five people died after President Trump incited rioters to storm the U.S. Capitol. North Carolina Central University Law Professor Irving Joyner tells host Dave DeWitt that what happens next will help define this moment in our history.  


The deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol evokes memories of the only successful coup d'état on American soil, more than a century ago, when the government was overthrown in Wilmington, NC. Host Leoneda Inge talks with historians Jim Leloudis and Bob Korstad, co-authors of "Fragile Democracy," about how today's political landscape is haunted by ghosts of the 1898 Wilmington Massacre. Plus, Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens reflects on why the events of 1898 inspire her artistically.

  

It may feel like COVID-19 has been with us for eons, but there is still a lot we don't know yet about its potential effects on our health. Host Dave DeWitt asks Dr. Colin Smith of Duke University Medical Center about a small, but growing, number of cases of severe psychosis associated with the virus.


New Year, New Hope

Jan 1, 2021

Host Leoneda Inge rings in the new year with astrologer Tali Edut and asks what the stars have in store for 2021. Plus poet and cultural historian Darrell Stover shares his favorite Kwanzaa principle.


Host Dave DeWitt wraps nine months of Tested podcasts with a look at COVID-19 in North Carolina then and now with the show's first guest: Rose Hoban of North Carolina Health News.


Tested Presents: 'Occasional Shivers'

Dec 22, 2020

This special episode is a gift from the team at Tested to you, the listener, with hopes for a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year.

Enjoy "Occasional Shivers," an original musical production from WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio featuring Branford Marsalis, Mike Wiley, Nnena Freelon and more.


The Long Haul

Dec 18, 2020

The rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine is offering hope for an end to the pandemic. But for some who have had COVID-19, ridding themselves of the virus’s aftereffects still feels a ways off.

Guest host Charlie Shelton-Ormond discusses the lingering physical and mental toll COVID-19 can take with two long-haulers and Dr. Max Taquet, a clinical fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.

  

El Mensaje

Dec 15, 2020

Early public health messaging around COVID-19 widened a communication gap between officials and North Carolina's Spanish speakers. In this episode, we hear about efforts to bridge the divide from Dr. Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, director of health equity at Duke's Department of Family Medicine, and Eliazar Posada of El Centro Hispano.

The pandemic has only added to the obstacles immigrants in the U.S. face. Volatile federal policies, growing fees, and information gaps are some of what is keeping more people from obtaining American citizenship.

Host Leoneda Inge talks about what the path to that status looks like now with Juliana Cabrales of the NALEO Education Fund and Katherine Reynolds from Elon’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic.

COVID-19 cases are spiking in rural areas, where hospitals have been dwindling over the past 15 years. Host Dave DeWitt learns more about the impact from Mark Holmes of the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Plus, reports from the mountains, and an update from Gov. Roy Cooper.

 

A mask is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but choosing which mask to wear isn’t always about protecting oneself from the virus. It's a decision that can also affect the likelihood of encountering racial profiling.
 


Departures

Dec 1, 2020

COVID-19 has taken the lives of more than 5,000 North Carolinians, and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the disease has increased the state's death rate by 5%. 

LaKeisha Butts, an end-of-life doula, talks with Tested producer Rebecca Martinez about the challenges of comforting and offering spiritual guidance for a person over the phone instead of at their bedside. Butts shares how, as an African American woman who has lost some of her own loved ones to COVID, it's much harder to grieve them without community celebrations of life.

And host Dave DeWitt speaks with Heather Hill, a funeral director at Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory in Raleigh, about how funerals have changed since this spring.


You may still be full from all you ate off this year's holiday menu, but now's a perfect time to think about food — especially what certain gastrointestinal responses can tell us about our bodies. Some of those responses might surprise you, as our gut health is even connected to our brain in fascinating ways.

This special episode features an exploration of our gut, or our "second brain," courtesy of the podcast Embodied.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans not to travel this Thanksgiving as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise nationwide. That means many of us are rethinking a holiday that is grounded in sharing platters of food with family and friends.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with chef Stephanie Tyson, co-owner of Sweet Potatoes restaurant in Winston-Salem, about making the most of a different holiday season while staying safe and healthy. Leoneda also talks with members of Tall Grass Food Box, a food service helping Black farmers across the state; and we hear about the efforts of Urban Ministries of Durham to balance safety with community care for people experiencing homelessness.

For chef Stephanie Tyson’s sweet potato cornbread recipe, check out Leoneda’s feature on Tyson’s restaurant from 2014.


Any other year, Americans would be gearing up for the big Thanksgiving travel weekend; traffic jams and long lines at the airport would just be a reality of life. But TSA is quiet at Raleigh Durham International Airport, where the pandemic has cut air travel by two-thirds. Tested host Leoneda Inge talks with passengers and an RDU spokesperson about the changed travel landscape.

Winter

Nov 17, 2020

The pandemic promises to claim many more lives as we head into winter. But, in one of our nation's most dismal times, we have elected a president who is poised to make science a factor in decision-making about this public health crisis. 

In this episode of Tested, host Dave DeWitt discusses the impact of that with Holden Thorp, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals.

North Carolina is seeing record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations, and Black and Latinx people continue to make up a disproportionate share of them. Without a vaccine, public health experts say testing is a key tool for keeping COVID at bay, and strengthening access to testing in underserved communities remains a necessity. It's a compelling enough argument to convince host Leoneda Inge to get tested herself.

Leoneda talks with Deepak Kumar, director of NCCU’s Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, about improving health services for communities of color. And she speaks with Dr. Cardra Burns and Ben Money from the NC Department of Health and Human Services about the state’s recent testing efforts.
 


Robeson County has been frequently inundated by hurricanes and flooding. When COVID-19 hit that community, it hit it hard. As its residents navigated recent crises, they were also squarely situated on the presidential campaign trail this election season. President Donald Trump and Presidential-elect Joe Biden singled out the uniquely diverse rural county for political canvassing.

Host Dave DeWitt talks with WUNC's digital producer Laura Pellicer and data reporter Jason deBruyn about the pandemic, storm recovery, and why Robeson County increased its support for Trump this election.

We also highlight the significance of an annual Lumbee tradition, and how the tribe is adjusting amidst the pandemic.


You're not imagining it. Almost everyone is incredibly stressed out right now.

The American Psychological Association says the “2020 Presidential Election is a source of significant stress for more Americans than the 2016 Presidential race.” Not to mention COVID-19. And the economic downturn. And ongoing civil unrest.

Host Leoneda Inge examines our collective anxiety — what's causing it, how to recognize it, what to do about it — with Lynn Bufka, the APA's senior director of practice transformation and quality.

Then, Leoneda reconnects with an old friend, comedian Roy Wood Jr., who says it's never too soon to look for the humor in the heavy stuff, as long as you're making light of the right things. He's had plenty of practice as a political correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.


The race for president may still be too close to call in North Carolina, nevertheless Election Day did provide conclusions for a number of key races in the state. Republicans are set to maintain control of both chambers of the General Assembly while the Democratic governor keeps his office. 

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs about the latest results and how the voting transpired. 

Seasons Change As Our Surge Remains

Nov 3, 2020

As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations trend upward in nearly every region of the country, health experts are sounding the alarm for a surge in the coming winter months. But some people on the frontlines say the surge in North Carolina is already here.

Guest host Charlie Shelton-Ormond talks with Dr. David Wohl, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UNC School of Medicine, about developments in COVID treatment, and why the coming months don’t look promising. We also preview WUNC’s coverage of the results from Election Day.
 


Young voters, ages 18 to 30, are coming out in big numbers in the lead-up to Election Day. North Carolina ranks in the top states for early ballots cast by young voters, as Millennials and Generation Z look to make their voices heard this election season.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with young voters about their motivations to mobilize their peers. We also hear from David McLennan, political science professor at Meredith College, and Chavi Khanna Koneru, executive director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together, about the influence of young voters this election.
 


One week to go before Election Day 2020 and the votes continue to pour in by the millions. Behind every ballot cast is a voter wielding the pen and filling in the bubbles for who they want to see in office.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, we hear from a handful of voters across the battleground state of North Carolina about what’s on their minds. Host Jeff Tiberii also talks with WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs about Granville County and why it's a region to keep a close eye on this election.
 


Thousands of teachers in North Carolina are currently faced with a difficult choice: go back to teaching in-person class, or continue to teach virtually and minimize their risk of exposure to Covid. But, in truth, it's not even really their decision — at least, not entirely.

Host Dave DeWitt talks with WUNC Education Reporter Liz Schlemmer about the difficult situation for North Carolina teachers weighing their health, and the health of loved ones, with their job. 

We also hear from physicians at Duke University about ways to stay safe during the upcoming holiday season.
 


There's a fall tradition that plays a significant role in the lives of historically Black college and university graduates across the nation: homecoming. These events are centered around a football game, sure, but the matchup on the field is no match for the fellowship that takes place as alumni, family and friends gather on campus for a unique kind of annual reunion.

Of course, COVID-19 has changed all that this year. And so, there's an effort to celebrate HBCU homecoming season virtually, by making a monetary donation to these schools right now. Leoneda talks to Shauntae White, a professor at North Carolina Central University who started the online fundraising push, and to Gregory Clark, president of the Florida A&M University Alumni Association, about that economic hit HBCU campuses and the cities they're in will take in the absence of homecomings.

Then, Leoneda makes a trip to the North Carolina State Fair, which is closed for attractions but open to customers seeking a fried food fix. 



North Carolina is again home to the most expensive U.S. Senate race in the nation's history. During this 2020 election cycle, billions of dollars will flow through the somewhat mysterious apparatus of campaign finance.

On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Jeff Tiberii speaks about the financial landscape with Anna Beavon Gravely of the NC Free Enterprise Foundation, journalist Jeremy Borden, who is also a volunteer leader with the Open Raleigh Brigade of Code for America. and UNC-Charlotte political science professor Eric Heberlig.


Dr. Dave Hostler has seen his fair share of challenges in the medical field. As an Army pulmonary and critical care doctor, he has served in multiple intensive care units, was the brigade surgeon for the 82nd Airborne, and treated service members in combat zones overseas. But he says his recent work providing care to COVID patients at an overwhelmed civilian hospital in McAllen, TX was his most challenging experience.

Producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond talks with Dr. Hostler about treating patients in south Texas, and what he urges people to keep in mind about treatment and prevention as the pandemic continues. 

We also hear from Michelle Ries, interim director of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, about the state’s proposed plan for distributing a pending vaccine.
 


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