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

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.


stethoscope
Vitualis / Flickr

Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that using alcohol to fall asleep may actually be keeping people awake.

Dr. Mahesh Thakkar is a professor and neurology researcher at the MU School of Medicine. He’s been studying alcohol’s affect on human sleep for many years. He says that 20 percent of US adults have used alcohol  - at some point  - to help them fall asleep.

But, he said, “it is a pseudo-sleeping drug.  It will produce sleep for a very short time, but then it will keep you awake all night.”

Mizzou Columns
David Chicopham / Flickr

A group of researchers from the University of Missouri have found that individuals with autism need more support as they transition into adulthood.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Family Social Work, MU researchers spoke with young people with autism, as well as their caretakers about the challenges they face as they enter adulthood. 

“One caregiver described this as they just felt like they hit a brick wall,” Jennifer First said.



MU Health Care / University of Missouri Health System

The Chief Executive Officer of University of Missouri Health Care will be leaving his post – effective February 24, 2017.

Mitch Wasden became the chief operating officer of MU Health Care in 2012, and then also took over the CEO duties in 2013. Earlier this year MU hired a new COO, and Wasden continued his work as CEO.

According to an email from the MU Chancellor’s office, Wasden made “tremendous strides in advancing the health of Missourians” during his tenure.

Caroline Brown, a sophomore at the University of Missouri got a fever over Thanksgiving break. Soon it became painful to bite down, and her cheek began to swell. A trip to her physician confirmed it – Caroline had the mumps.

“Mumps kind of sounds like this archaic thing,” Brown said. “We get vaccinated for it - it just sounds like something that nobody gets.  So I just didn’t think that it was possible that I would get it.”


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

“I figured there are only about 25 people that know me.”

Columbia resident Mr. Ferrill Purdy was clearly overwhelmed by the number of people who had come to hear about his life and military service, and see one of the planes he flew in combat during WWII take to the skies over town this past October.


Michaela Tucker
KBIA

“This is crazy.”

The words of 10-year-old Elena Hoffman seemed to echo the sentiment of many of the partygoers at Ragtag Cinema’s election night watch party on November 8.

The party, which was billed as a bi-partisan gathering, drew mostly Clinton-supporters. Attendees could spend their evening waiting for results at either the bar, the large theater that aired CNN coverage or the small theater that aired the PBS telecast.

Tracy Lane, the executive director of Ragtag, estimated that nearly 200 people were in attendance by 8 p.m.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

The University of Missouri System announced Wednesday its next president will be Mun Y. Choi, current provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Connecticut. The announcement was made at an event in Jefferson City. According to a release from the University of Missouri System, Choi will begin work on March 1, 2017.

Pamela Henrickson, the chair of the Board of Curators, introduced Choi. She called him a “superb leader,” and praised his commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

About 1,300 people toed the starting line this past weekend for the 8th annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival Half Marathon and 10K. According to Patrick Hanson, the race director, participation was up 12 percent this year. 

As of the September 30, a relatively unknown herbal supplement called kratom will likely join the ranks of Schedule 1 drugs in the U.S. - alongside drugs like heroin, LSD and marijuana.

This supplement has been traditionally used in Southeast Asia, but has recently gained popularity in the United States as a way to manage opioid withdrawal or chronic pain without the use of prescription medications.

Researchers and people using the herb decry the DEA’s move to criminalize it, which they say will stall research and deprive many Americans of a presumably harmless substitute to stronger prescription painkillers.


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