health report

It’s a late-September morning and paramedic Darren Forman steps up to a front door showered with dried corn stalks and fall-themed decor. Forman, holding a bag in one hand and a scale in the other, has arrived for his second appointment of the day.

Ashley Newkirk, 31, opens the door. Right inside the house hang spooky-themed wedding photos with her husband.

“I love fall,” Newkirk said. “We got married on Halloween. It's our favorite.”

With roughly a third of the vaccine-eligible population in the U.S. still not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, public health officials have been calling on trusted community voices to address hesitancy, mistrust and misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine.

The U.S. has secured more doses than the country’s COVID-19 vaccine needs. But around the world, millions of people have no access to vaccines in their home countries. And that makes some people travel thousands of miles to get a shot here in the U.S. — if they can afford it.

Drop In Childhood Immunizations Worries Pediatricians

Sep 8, 2021

In the decades he’s spent as a pediatrician, Dr. Christopher Wilhelm has never had to treat a child with rubella.

“People have just been so used to getting shots and getting their vaccines, and that’s keeping disease down of many things that were very traumatic to children," Wilhelm said.

Ransomware attacks against healthcare facilities are becoming more frequent and severe as the pandemic and workforce shortages stress hospital capabilities. That makes cyberattacks pose potential life-threatening consequences, experts say.

On Aug. 4, Indianapolis-based Eskenazi Health experienced a ransomware attack, halting access to electronic medical records and requiring ambulances to bypass the city’s safety net hospital.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful on everyone, but health care workers may be affected more than anyone. Some nurses are burnt out and planning to leave the profession. Meanwhile, colleges are preparing new graduates to take their place — and deal with the pressures of the job.

Heather Hampson works at John A. Logan College in southern Illinois, helping to train the next generation of nurses.

Sheila Muhammad tested positive for HIV more than 30 years ago and her life quickly changed. But as the years passed, attitudes and treatments of HIV changed.

Muhammad spoke with Side Effects Public Media's Darian Benson about the power in education and understanding of the virus. A transcript of Muhammad's comments is below.

“My name is Sheila Mohammed I'm 57 years old. I have three children and seven grandchildren and four great.

Pamela Goodwin started the Indianapolis based nonprofit Women In Motion after she recognized she was at high risk for HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. She wants to help other women — in particular women of color — in the same situation.

But Goodwin said it is hard for many Black and Brown women to tap into the resources offered by groups like hers. For some, getting tested for HIV isn’t a top priority.

Sheila Muhammad tested HIV positive in 1990, when she was just 26 years old and pregnant with her third child.

She was shocked, angry and scared. HIV wasn’t something she thought she was at risk for.

“It wasn’t something I was doing,” Muhammad said.

But her husband had tested positive while in treatment for intravenous drug use.

“It took me a long time to know that he was on the drugs,” Muhammad said. “And then I didn't know enough about it. I didn't educate myself to even know that the two went together.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for many families — and that stress can affect a child’s development, including their language and social skills.

Side Effects Public Media recently received questions from audience members through our texting group, the Midwest Checkup, about how the changes wrought by the pandemic may affect child development.