Bram Sable-Smith

Health Reporter

A curious Columbia, Mo. native, Bram Sable-Smith has documented mbira musicians in Zimbabwe, mining protests in Chile, and the St. Louis airport's tumultuous relationship with the Chinese cargo business. His reporting from Ferguson, Mo. was part of a KBIA documentary honored by the Missouri Broadcasters Association and winner of a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He comes to KBIA most recently from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.

Ways to Connect

Earlier this year, 69-year-old Aneita McCloskey needed her two front teeth filed down and capped.

“They were kind of worn down and they were also getting little tears and cavities,” she recalls.

Without dental insurance, McCloskey is on the hook for the full $2,400 cost of the procedure. She was given 18 months to pay it before she gets charged interest. That’ll be hard to do on her fixed income.

In years past she would have had to wait to see the dentist again until she could afford it.


Columbia has a new mayor and city council incumbents swept the night in mid-Missouri as the state took to the polls for municipal elections. 


At Richard Logan’s pharmacy in Charleston, Missouri, prescription opioid painkillers are locked away in a cabinet. Missouri law requires pharmacies to keep schedule II controlled substances—drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl with a high addiction potential—locked up at all times.

Logan doesn’t stop at what the law requires.


Ryan Famuliner, Nathan Lawrence

Last November MU was rocked by protests led by African American student group Concerned Student 1950. The group of 11 students captured campus attention with its message that university administrators were not doing enough to address racism on campus.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Richard Logan’s pharmacy has been on the same street in Charleston, Missouri, for 40 years. Picture rows of wrist wraps, antacids and the like in front of the counter, and rows of prescription medications behind it.

It’s your typical pharmacy with one big “except.”


Ashley Reese / KBIA

The 13th True/False film festival brought new and interesting films from far and near to the city of Columbia once again this year. Last week, art installations filled the streets, large, colorful “Q” signs started appearing outside downtown businesses, and Columbia seemed much more crowded. The words on everyone's lips seemed to be “documentary.”  


Provided

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year's True/False Film Fest. Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

When Owen Suskind was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, his parents didn't know if they would ever be able to communicate with their son again. That all changed once they realized Owen was using Disney animated films to understand the world. 


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

One year ago, while reporting on infant mortality rates in Kennett, Missouri, I met a 27-year-old expectant mother named Marylouisa Cantu. She was pregnant with her seventh child.

Her sixth child, a daughter named Alyssa, was born two years earlier and had spent two weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit due to complications from premature birth.


Most timelines of the events that led to the November 9th resignation of former University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe start when the student protest group Concerned Student 1950 stopped his car at the 2015 homecoming parade. Wolfe was criticized for not speaking with the students, and many believe that perceived slight made him a target. 

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

In January, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced the state would expand dental benefits to an estimated 282,000 Medicaid recipients for the Fiscal Year 2016. The expansion is being funded with money collected from a one-time tax amnesty for delinquent taxpayers.

This marks the first time dental benefits have been included in Medicaid coverage in Missouri since 2005.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Few inventions have had as dramatic an effect on policing as the Taser stun gun. The tool is billed as a "smart weapon" and often called a non-lethal alternative to guns for the thousands of law enforcement agencies that have adopted them across the country and the world. In fact, the company's website estimates more than 160,000 lives have been saved by use of the weapon.

But just how safe are the Taser weapons actually, and what is the public health cost of assuming they are non-lethal? Those are among the questions Nick Berardini asks in the documentary Killing Them Safely.


In an email obtained by the Columbia Daily Tribune, former University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe has responded to the events that led to his November 9, 2015 resignation and its aftermath.

On former University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin:

The rise in opioid drug abuse and gun violence have led to recent calls to overhaul the nation’s mental health care system. But a law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2014 is already driving a big new experiment in mental health care.  

ep_jhu / flickr

"If you ask a 15-year-old who's never been addicted to drugs, 'would you take heroin?' [they'd say,] 'Oh my gosh no,'" says Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston). 

"But after two years of addiction, and they can't afford to buy the pills anymore, and someone offers them heroin for ten bucks - it's not the bogeyman anymore."


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

By the time Alicia Curran’s son was a year old, she says she noticed a few things different about him. 

"Year two, we noticed a few more things," Curran recalls. "By three, there was no denying that autism was what he had."

Back in 2003, when her son was diagnosed, she says there weren’t a lot of answers for parents of children with autism. All that ambiguity was tough for a "mom with a lot of questions." 


HealthCare.gov

The deadline to receive health insurance beginning January 1, 2016, by enrolling in coverage through federal marketplace has been extended 48 hours, to December 17 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The initial deadline had been yesterday, December 15. 

A release on the HealthCare.gov website said the extended deadline was due to "unprecedented demand at HealthCare.gov and our Marketplace Call Center."

Millersburg, Ohio is a 700-mile drive from Unionville, Missouri, so it’s an unlikely place for a Unionville resident to schedule a medical procedure. That is, unless they’re paying cash.

It was worth it for Truman, a Mennonite farmer who lives just outside of Unionville. "The best price I could get around here, I would still save $3000 to $4000 [by] going to Ohio," he recalls.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Price transparency can be hard to come by in health care. Putnam County Memorial Hospital, a small hospital in Missouri, is banking its future on having its prices out in the public.

Journal of Mental Pathology

There’s big change on the horizon for the public mental health safety net. The Excellence in Mental Health Act is being called the "biggest federal investment in mental health and addiction services in generations."

To discuss the changes, and to learn how Missouri’s mental health system has fared since federal funding was rolled back for Community Mental Health Centers, KBIA sat down with Brent McGinty, President and CEO of the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

The University of Missouri Board of Curators has announced that Mike Middleton, an MU deputy chancellor emeritus, will be the interim president for the UM System. 

Middleton replaces Tim Wolfe as UM System President, after Wolfe resigned his position on Monday following calls from students for his resignation and a football team strike. 

Middleton says he hopes he can help the system move forward.

Nodaway County Sheriff's Office

Police this morning at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. apprehended a university student at his residence hall, the university said today

University of Missouri Director of Greek Life Janna Basler has been "placed on administrative leave and relieved of her duties as Director of Greek Life while conduct an investigation regarding her recent actions," according to a statement by Department of Student Life Director Mark Lucas.

Basler was seen in a video that surfaced Monday of a confrontation between demonstrators  and Mizzou photojournalism student Tim Tai following the resignation of University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe. 

A Conversation with Tim Tai

Nov 11, 2015
Derek Poore / Missouri School of Journalism

On Monday, University of Missouri photojournalism student Tim Tai made international headlines as a video depicting a confrontation between him and demonstrators on the University of Missouri campus went viral. On Wednesday, Tai sat down with KBIA's Bram Sable-Smith to discuss the experience. 


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Yesterday was a big news day in our City, and surely, you already know about the high profile resignations at the University of Missouri: both the UM system President and MU Chancellor are out.

At this point, it’s likely you’ve also heard that most of the demonstrators who catalyzed those resignations did not want to talk to the press.

  

TRANSCRIPT:

Intro: Two high profile executives in the University of Missouri system resigned today  (Monday) following several racially charged incidents on the system’s Columbia campus and student protests. KBIA’s Bram Sable-Smith has a recap of how the day unfolded.

Missouri psychiatrist Joe Parks remembers working with a patient named Victoria.

For eight years he helped her with PTSD, manic depression and addiction, getting her into drug treatment, and back into school. And then, she died of a blood clot brought on by her poor physical health.

“Her behavioral health treatment had been a complete success,” Dr. Parks recalls. “She was stable, she wasn’t psychotic, she was clean and sober. But she was dead.”


When 85-year-old retired farmworker and grandmother Amparo Mejia needed surgery on her spine because of a rare form of tuberculosis, she was able to pay for the procedure through emergency Medicaid. She was lucky. For many low-income immigrants – even those authorized to work in the US – it can be challenging or outright impossible to get health insurance. 


Missouri State Highway Patrol

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says one of its troopers has died in a crash in northeast Missouri.

Trooper James M. Bava, 25, died when his vehicle crashed on Missouri Route FF in rural Audrain County. 

Cpl. Scott White says it's unclear how the accident happened. He says the trooper was following a motorcycle before the crash. His patrol vehicle was found after he did not respond to radio calls.

The motorcycle has not been found.

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