Jake Harper

Jake is a reporter with Side Effects and WFYI in Indianapolis. He decided to pursue radio journalism while volunteering at a community station in Madison, WI, and soon after began an internship with NPR's State of the Re:Union. Jake has received a first place award from the Milwaukee Press Club and he was a finalist in KCRW's 24-Hour Radio Race. In his spare time, he runs and tries to perfect his pizza crust recipe. 

Twice a day, Angela and Nate Turner of Greenwood, Indiana, take tiny strips that look like colored scotch tape, and put them under their tongues.

“They taste disgusting,” Angela says.


Indiana governor Mike Pence is in the spotlight this week as the man Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate. His decisions about health and healthcare in Indiana have drawn attention from within and outside the state. And his record could be important in November, because his running mate doesn’t have a legislative record at all.

In a sunny patch of grass in the middle of Indianapolis' Crown Hill Cemetery, 45 people recently gathered around a large blackboard. The words "Before I Die, I Want To ..." were stenciled on the board in bold white letters.

Sixty-two-year-old Tom Davis led us through the thousands of gravestones scattered across the cemetery. He'd been thinking about his life and death a lot in the previous few weeks, he told us. On March 22, he'd had a heart attack.

Carla used to get dialysis a couple of times a week at the public hospital in Indianapolis, Eskenazi Hospital. She would sit in a chair for hours as a machine took blood out of her arm, cleaned it and pumped it back into her body.

Then one day in 2014, she was turned away.

Even though her lungs were full of fluid, the doctors said her condition wasn't urgent enough to treat that day, she says. "I explained to the doctors that I couldn't breathe," she recalls, "and they told me it wasn't true, that I had to wait three more days."

Carla used to get dialysis a couple of times a week at the public hospital in Indianapolis, Eskenazi Hospital. She would sit in a chair for hours as a machine took blood out of her arm, cleaned it, and pumped it back into her body.

Then one day in 2014, she was turned away.  

She says even though her lungs were full of fluid, her doctors told her that her condition wasn’t urgent enough to treat that day. “I explained to the doctors that I couldn’t breathe and they told me it wasn’t true, that I had to wait three more days,” she recalls.

Giving away drug paraphernalia seemed counterintuitive to Maupin at first, but she’s learned that it’s essential in fighting the spread of disease among drug users.

“I would much rather talk them into going to rehab as opposed to doing all this,” she says.

But Maupin was spurred to start the exchange last year after Scott County, another rural Indiana county with rampant drug abuse, got hit with an HIV outbreak. The number of cases there has since topped 180, and most were attributed to injection drug abuse.

Last year, Erin and Isaac Hougland of Indianapolis got certified to become foster parents, with the hope of adopting a baby. Just a few weeks later, they got a call.

An 8-week-old baby needed a home. All they knew was that the boy's mother was a heroin addict and had left him at the hospital. They were told that because of the drugs, the baby might require some special care. But mostly, he just needed a place to go.

"Both of us were just like, 'Let's do it,' " says Isaac Hougland. "We wrapped up what we were doing at work and went to the hospital."

Retired farmer Dick Himsel’s Danville, Indiana property looks like an idyllic Midwestern small farm. Trees line the driveway, leading up to an old-fashioned wooden farmhouse that’s surrounded by tall stalks of corn.

One thing the property does not have, though, is fresh air.