Rebecca Smith

Health Reporter

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO.

Ways to Connect

Terri Rose smiles into the camera. She is an older woman with short, white hair. She is wearing a green, MOMOM volunteer shirt and her glasses rest on the top of her head.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Terri Rose is an RN from Webb City, Missouri. We met as she worked the medical triage at the sixth annual MOMOM. This is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin.

Terri is currently on disability benefits, but says she wanted to come volunteer her time as a nurse and help at the event. We caught up about her experience working MOMOM and about an unexpected takeway from the weekend as workers began breaking down on Saturday evening.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Brenda Nichols smiles into the camera. She has short, gray hair, wears a multi-colored cross necklace and a shirt that says "I didn't survive cancer to die of stress."
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Brenda Nichols lost her father in the 2011 tornado that decimated Joplin, Missouri, but she says this is far from the only hardship she has faced in her 68 years. She is a 20 year survivor of breast cancer and has struggled to get oral health care in the past few years.

We met as she waited in line to receive care at the sixth annual MOMOM, which is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin.

Brenda, who lives in Carl Junction, Missouri, seems to always be smiling and remains optimistic, but says she “never dreamed” that she and her husband would struggle this much as they got older, and she spoke about some of the difficulties they face getting care.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Jack Gouverneur stands looking into the camera. He is 86 years old, has many wrinkles and is balding. He wears a blue and black striped polo. There is an American flag flying over his left shoulder.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Jack Gouverneur is an 86-year-old Korean War veteran who lives in Carthage, Missouri. Last month, over the course of a weekend, he waited in line for hours to get free dental care at the sixth annual MOMOM or Missouri Mission of Mercy. 

MOMOM is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin, Missouri.

 

Jack does have dental insurance, but said MOMOM happened at the "right time," and allowed him to get three teeth extracted without having to pay his insurance co-pays. He reflected on the dental care he has received throughout his 86 years.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Edna Hardy, left, wears a blue shirt and wears wire rimmed glassees. She has short, brown hair. Katrina Hale, right, wears a purple and gray hoodie, also wears glasses and has long, dark hair pulled back into a ponytail.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Edna Hardy and Katrina Hale are sisters who live in Miami, Oklahoma. Last month they traveled over the Oklahoma-Missouri border to get free dental care at the 6th annual MOMOM or Missouri Mission of Mercy.

MOMOM is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin, Missouri.

Edna and Katrina spoke about some of the struggles they have faced getting adequate care throughout the years. 

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Leslie Anderson stands over the shoulder of Max Lewis wearing a pink blouse amnd white cardigan. She has blonde hair. Max Lewis, right, sits in a power wheelchair wearing glasses and a red shirt. They both smile into the camera.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Max Lewis is a lawyer in Columbia. He is also quadriplegic and uses a program called Consumer Directed Services to hire in-home help with personal care. He sat down with Leslie Anderson, the director of policy and advocacy for Services for Independent Living.

U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, who issued a rare joint news release a few days ago to declare, in effect, that they’re wild about Harry S. Truman and optimistic his statue will soon bump Blair’s.

Starting July 1, though, the state will only pay up to 60 percent of what it would cost to live in a nursing home. There are a very limited amount of waivers that would allow people to keep their full care, but these make up for a tiny fraction of the estimated 8,800 Missourians who need this kind of care. 

For the rest, these changes may mean getting fewer hours of assistance or ending up in a nursing home.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.  

Family Health Center

The Family Health Center in Columbia will have a new CEO as of July 1.

The new CEO is Jack Kelly, who has served as the Chief Operating Officer for the organization for nearly seven years. 

Kelly said he was originally inspired to work in community healthcare after being a nursing home administrator for nearly 30 years.

Regional stories from the KBIA newsroom, including:

·      University of Missouri Revokes Cosby's Honorary Degree

·      MU to Rent Out Vacant Residence Halls, Tackle Declining Enrollment


Andrew Quint, a middle aged white man, wears a blue and white striped shirt and stands over the left shoulder of Beth Rahn, a middle aged white woman with red hair and a blue shirt covered in hearts.
Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Dr. Andrew Quint has been the Medical Director at Family Health Center in Columbia for many years. For the past 11 years, he has worked with nurse Beth Rahn. They spoke about the many patients they have seen over the years and how those patients have changed their lives.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.  

Regional stories from the KBIA newsroom, including: 

·      Circuit Court Judge Christine Carpenter will Retire this Fall

·      After 35 Years, Wendy Noren Resigns as Boone County Clerk


Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, left, smiles into the camera. She is wearing a black and white shirt and black rimmed glasses. Rene Powell, right, smiles into the camera. She is wearing thinly-rimmed glasses and a tan coat.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Columbia resident Rene Powell spoke with her friend Traci Wilson-Kleekamp about what life has been like with a disability. They also spoke about how life has changed for Rene as her disabilities have become more visible - as she started using a walker recently to assist with her mobility.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.

Nadeem Ramiydh, left, looks into the camera and is wearing black glasses and a bright blue polo shirt. Sawsan Hasan, right, is wearing a white headscarf, a blue jacket and a bright, multi-colored floral scarf around her neck.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Sawsan Hasan and Nadeem Ramiydh both work for the Refugee & Immigration Services office in Columbia. Both of them work with refugees on a daily basis and are from Iraq themselves. They spoke about the need for more mental health care within the refugee and immigrant communities – especially when it comes to dealing with PTSD.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Chuck and Drew Graham's mother served as their role model growing up in Louisiana, Missouri. She helped them face the road ahead after they became paraplegic and quadriplegic within a year and a half of each other in their teenage years.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Following President Trump’s announcement on Thursday to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece has joined 80 U.S. mayors in committing to combat climate change on the local level.

Treece has signed on to Climate Mayors, a coalition of mayors throughout the United States working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Columbia joins other Missouri cities, St. Louis and Kansas City.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

University of Missouri System faculty, staff and community members gathered in Columbia Friday to hear system president Mun Choi outline the University of Missouri System’s budget for fiscal year 2018.

Current decreases in state funding, uncertainty about future state funding and enrollment declines at the system’s flagship campus in Columbia have forced officials to look for both short- and long-term solutions to significant budget shortfalls.


Columbia police officers took a 15-year old male into custody Tuesday after receiving reports of the student threatening violence at a Columbia Public School.

According to a release from the Columbia Police Department, a rumor about a possible school shooting on the final day of classes was reported to a school resource officer for Muriel Battle High School.

American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri

The ACLU of Missouri filed a federal lawsuit against the Rolla Public Library on Tuesday. 

According to the ACLU, Randy Johnson attempted to reserve a room at the Rolla Public Library in January. He was planning to teach volunteers how to collect signatures in support of a ballot proposition to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The lawsuit states that when the library’s director found out the purpose of the meeting, Johnson was denied use of a room.

University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine

The dean of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine announced Wednesday he will be stepping down from his current position effective August 15, 2017.

Neil Olson has been the dean of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine since 2007. He said he feels his job at MU is “completed,” and he is leaving the college in better shape than he found it.

Olson will soon be starting a new position as the dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at St. George’s University in St. George’s, Granada.  

He called this new position is an “opportunity of a lifetime”

As the outreach counselor for Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri. Dana Harris’s job is connecting students with services when they have mental and emotional troubles such as ADHD, anxiety or depression.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

More than 200 people gathered in early April for the second annual Planned Parenthood Great Plains [PPGP] conference in Kansas City. This year’s conference focused on expanding access to sexual and reproductive health care.

Participants came from throughout Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and as far away as Texas.

Sessions covered topics that ranged from culturally competent care for LGBT+ patients and patients of color, to sex education for those with disabilities to conversations about the current political landscape and what it means for Planned Parenthood.

When Joe Morris had a heart attack last Easter and had to be rushed to the ER, it was the first time he’d been to the doctor in more than 40 years — since high school.

Back home in the small community of Neosho, Mo., Morris needed follow-up care to manage his heart disease and diabetes, but he didn’t have a doctor — or insurance.


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