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

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Tiffany Seda-Addington has been fighting for expanded access to naloxone for nearly three years. Ever since her best friend James Carmack died of a heroin overdose at his mother’s house.

“When James died,” Tiffany said. “It was immediately we have to do something.”

That “something” that she and others in Pulaski County, Missouri, decided to fight for was expanded access to naloxone, also known as Narcan. It’s the opioid overdose antidote that essentially brings a person dying from a heroin or opioid overdose back to life.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

The Coalition of Graduate Workers, a union representing MU graduate student employees, filed a lawsuit against the University Of Missouri Board Of Curators on Wednesday.   

The Coalition is suing to have graduate students classified as employees and to have the Coalition of Graduate Workers be recognized as the collective bargaining representative for MU graduate student employees.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

A U.S. District Judge has ruled in favor of the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic – issuing a permanent injunction that protects the clinic’s license to perform abortions.

In her ruling on Wednesday, US District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted a permanent injunction to the clinic, therefore preventing the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services [DHSS] from revoking the clinic’s license.

Laughrey wrote that the department likely bowed to political pressure and unfairly revoked the clinic's license compared to how other facilities’ licenses are handled.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Graduate students at the University of Missouri have voted in favor of the Coalition of Graduate Workers as their official collective bargaining agent.

This movement toward unionization began months ago, in August 2015, when MU unexpectedly announced it would be eliminating health insurance subsides for graduate students.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

On November 9, 2015, following an intense few weeks of student protests on Mizzou’s campus and the resignation of UM System President Tim Wolfe earlier the same day, University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin stepped up to a podium in front of  the Board of Curators and the journalists gathered.

“I have decided today that I will transition from the role of chancellor of Missouri effective at the end of this year and move into a new role where I will work with many people across the system to advance our research mission,” Loftin said.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Dozens of people gathered in support of Brian Treece at Broadway Brewery on Tuesday night. They gathered to eat, talk and watch the votes for mayor being tallied.

Treece said he believed they ran a great campaign effort and brought together many volunteers who had never volunteered with a campaign before.

“They say campaigns are the ultimate team sport and I thought we put together a great team,” Treece said.

Treece said they knew it would be a close vote, so he and his supporters, friends and family gathered to wait and see what the final verdict would be.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

In stories about premature birth and premature babies you might have heard the term NICU? But what exactly is a NICU and what goes on there?

To find out, KBIA visited the NICU, or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, at University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital here in Columbia.


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.

Carolyn Allred

Being born prematurely has many immediate consequences for infants – difficulty breathing, bleeding in the brain, and other issues that can affect long-term development. So if being born preterm affects young children post infancy, does it still affect people as they near adolescence?

Jacob Allred was born extremely premature at 25 weeks and 5 days weighing just one pound, 13 ounces. He is now 12 years old, and still struggles with health issues both physical and developmental that are a result of his premature birth.

His parents, Carolyn and Vince, have been on the “roller coaster” of prematurity since the day Jacob was born - one step forward followed by five steps back. They are being constantly surprised by new issues that arise, but, at 12, things are going well and they are all looking forward to Jake’s future. 


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Premature Birth affects about one in 10 infants in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pre-term birth is a major factor in infant mortality and is also one of the leading causes of long-term neurological disabilities in children.

There is a huge range of potential outcomes for premature infants and no two babies have the same trajectory – just like the Mondy twins.

Cauy and Skylee were born at just 24 weeks and one day. Cauy weighed one pound, six ounces and Skylee weighed one pound, five ounces. Though they started life at the exact same place, Skylee with practically no repercussions from their premature birth while complications have left Cauy with a cerebral palsy diagnosis. 


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

We’ve all seen the stories: "Premature baby goes home after spending 100-something days in the hospital," but what happens next? Do babies born pre-term end up just like their full-term counterparts or are there lasting health complications resulting from prematurity?

To explore this questions, I spoke with David Beversdorf and his son William, a four-year-old that was born at 22 weeks and one day and weighed just one pound, three ounces. William was considered extremely premature, and is one of the youngest babies to have survived their birth and their time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Premature birth is a problem throughout the nation including here in Missouri. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2014, it affected about 1 in 10 infants.

Rebecca Smith, from the KBIA Health and Wealth Desk, sat down with Trina Ragain, the State Director of Program Services for the Missouri March of Dimes to discuss the problem.


Rebecca Smith

Nearly 100 runners and walkers came together Saturday morning for the annual True Life Run during the True/False Film Festival Weekend. The proceeds from the 5k went toward the True Life Fund that is presented to a film protagonist each year, and this year’s recipient was Sonita.

Patrick Henson, one of the race organizers, said he estimates the 5k raised about $3500 this year.

During the event I spoke with runners, walkers, volunteers and those gathered in support of the participants.


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.”  


Manu Gerosa

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. 

The documentary "Between Sisters" is an intimate glimpse into the life of two aging sisters as they confront a family secret that has remained hidden for more than 60 years. A secret that could rock the sister’s relationship to its very core.


Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

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. 

The film "Sonita" follows the life of a young, passionate Afghani refugee living in Tehran, Iran, who dreams of becoming a rapper, but faces many challenges – including her status as an undocumented immigrant living in Iran and her mother’s plan to sell her as a child bride worth $9,000.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

The University of Missouri Board of Curators announced on Thursday its decision to terminate the employment of Melissa Click, the professor who has been steeped in controversy since she confronted student journalists during on-campus protests last fall.

University of Missouri Board of Curators Chair Pam Henrickson said in her statement that “The board believes that Dr. Click’s conduct was not compatible with university policies and did not meet expectations for a university faculty member.”

Many faculty members, including the executive committee of the MU faculty council on University Policy issues, had voiced their support of Click since the Board suspended her in late January.

On Thursday, just an hour after Click’s termination had been announced, MU interim Chancellor Hank Foley took questions from faculty and staff at the previously scheduled Faculty Council meeting.

 

McCallum Place

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, in the United States alone, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, but treatment for these mental illnesses can still be hard to find.

So in an effort to reach people suffering from eating disorders, a new clinic, McCallum Place that specializes in the treatment of eating disorders has opened in Columbia.  


Last November, the University of Missouri was rocked by protests led by black 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.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2014 alone, there were more than 1.3 million Americans living in nursing homes. One research group in Columbia is working on developing technology that will help the elderly age better, more safely and hopefully - at home.


University of Missouri Department of Communication

 

A spokesperson for the Columbia City Prosecutor’s office has confirmed that Columbia City Prosecutor Stephen Richey filed third degree assault charges against Melissa Click Tuesday morning. Third degree assault is a Class C Misdemeanor.

Click, an assistant professor of communications, drew national attention after she confronted a student photographer and another student videographer during the protests, calling for "muscle" to help remove them from the protest area.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

University of Missouri graduate students are guaranteed their health insurance subsidies – at least for the next year.  

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Phoenix Health Programs has been serving the Columbia community for more than 40 years. It offers various services for people struggling with substance use disorders:  in-patient treatment for men, out-patient treatment for everyone, and soon - both detoxification services and in-patient treatment for women.

We sat down with Heather Harlan, the prevention and treatment engagement specialist for Phoenix Health programs to talk about the new in-patient treatment for women that will be available starting February 2, 2016. 


MU School of Medicine
File Photo / KBIA

Sprouty2, which is known as a tumor suppressor gene, is a human gene that previous research has shown protects against the metastasis or spread of breast, prostate and liver cancers.

But Sharad Khare, an associate professor of research in the MU School of Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, alongside his research team has shown in a recently published article that this gene may not be helping the body in some colorectal cancer cases.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri a preliminary injunction against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Monday.

This prevents the Department from revoking the Columbia clinic’s ambulatory surgical center license, which allows abortion services to be offered. 

The Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic cannot offer abortion services at the moment because their doctor’s privileges at the University of Missouri Hospital were eliminated back at the beginning of December.

With just a little over a month left in the third open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, some people may need a little additional help getting insurance through the ACA.

Health insurance can be a confusing topic, with its array of terminology and choices to puzzle through, from premiums and co-pays, to deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

A national survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that more than 70 percent of people surveyed after the last open enrollment period said they wanted one-on-one assistance enrolling in insurance coverage.

And people can find the help they seek in an unexpected place: their public library. While libraries are better known for books, story time and due dates – since the launch of the ACA, many libraries across the United States have embraced a new role as a go-to community resource for information on health insurance.


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