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Kristi Reyes now spends time with her grandson in her new home.

Homelessness and Health Costs: This Kentucky Mom Faced Cancer While Living in Her Car

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Cancer was what finally pushed Kristi Reyes into living in her car. The mother of four had worked all her life, starting at age 7 when she helped out at her family’s furniture store. Most of her work was in retail. It was paycheck-to-paycheck but she kept her kids together and a roof over their… Read More

HIV/AIDS educator Greg Corby-Lee talking about harm reduction.

HIV Infection “Clusters” Put Focus On Harm Reduction Programs

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Health officials in Huntington, West Virginia, say a cluster of HIV infections has grown to 71 confirmed cases. That’s in a city that usually sees about eight HIV infections in a year. As with an earlier such cluster in northern Kentucky, officials say the primary cause of infection is needle drug use. Health officials say a harm reduction… Read More

Country

“They Are Invisible.” Rural Homelessness, Made Worse By Opioid Crisis

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Charles “Country” Bowers takes long, quick strides down a worn dirt path and is soon in front of a thicket of bushes made deep and tall by spring rains. He’s leading me on a tour of camps made by homeless people in wooded corners of Fayette County, Kentucky. He stops and lifts a hand to… Read More

Rural Hospital Sign

Country Closures: Rural Communities Adapt As More Hospitals Shut Down

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Carey Ellis grew up just a few houses away from the Owen County Hospital in Owenton, Kentucky, so he knows the essential role a rural hospital plays in a small town. Ellis is Judge Executive of Owen County, a job his grandfather and great-grandfather had before him. So he also knows how hard it is… Read More

Kentucky on a map

Kentucky Center Among The First Certified By American Society Of Addiction Medicine

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A Louisville treatment center is among the first programs in the nation to be certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The Volunteers of America Mid-States’ Freedom House serves women with substance use disorder and who are also pregnant or have young children. Freedom House was included in the first phase of a pilot program… Read More

A baby with measles

Amid Measles Outbreaks, Debate Grows Over Religious Exemptions From Vaccination

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Toni Wilkinson has seven children, three of them under six, and all of them home-schooled. So her house on a Lexington, Kentucky, cul-de-sac is rarely quiet. Just inside the front door are bins filled with shoes, piles of jackets on a long bench. Across the room is the family library, crammed with school books. Crowded… Read More

SNAP logo

Kentucky Called A “Warning Signal” On SNAP Work Requirements

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The federal government is considering a work requirement for some people who get food assistance through SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A new study uses Kentucky as an example of what that change could mean for the country. The SNAP rules require 80 hours of work a month and cap assistance at three months… Read More

Report Links Housing To Health

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A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation confirms the significant health challenges in the Ohio Valley, including premature deaths. It also lays out the often overlooked connection between health and housing. The report presents a county-by-county breakdown of health outcomes and reveals significant gaps between the healthiest counties and the least healthy counties…. Read More

Serving Survivors: In Rural States, Telemedicine Brings Treatment For Sexual Abuse

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Gillette, Wyoming, isn’t the kind of place you just happen to come across. “It’s about a four hour drive through vast, unimpacted, wide, sweeping plains,” said Matt Gray, a professor at University of Wyoming in Laramie, explaining the trek from his office to his clients. Plains, he said, “and lots and lots of antelope.” For… Read More

Health Experts Say Poor Practice By Company Likely Source Of Vaccination Infections

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Infectious disease experts say poor practices in vaccine delivery are the likely cause of infections reported by some people who received vaccine shots at their places of employment in the Ohio Valley. Kentucky health officials are investigating a link between the infections and a private Kentucky company hired to deliver vaccinations in the workplace. Location… Read More

JuulMouth

The Vexing Vape: Officials Say Small Vaping Device Juul A Major Health Risk To Youth

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A slender, black, rectangle, the Juul fits easily in the palm of your hand. You don’t light it, you trigger it with a click of a finger. The mist that is exhaled is so fine it’s hard to see. The nicotine is delivered via a pod the size of a AAA battery, with each pod… Read More

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Sensitive Santa: A Kinder, Gentler Kringle For Kids With Special Needs

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I’m not usually one to name-drop but my brother Pat Meehan is Santa Claus. A real, professional Santa. Sitting in his home office fresh from work, he’s wearing black suspenders and a red T-shirt. There at least six other Santa outfits in his closet including beach Santa. His thick, white beard (yes, a real one)… Read More

syphilisCDC

“A Failure Of Public Health.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases Rise As Health Budgets Fall

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Health officials are tracking record-breaking rates of sexually transmitted disease, including a resurgence of some infections which had been considered rare, such as gonorrhea and syphilis. These STDs are on the rise amid cuts to public health budgets dedicated to testing, prevention, and public outreach. In the Ohio Valley, for example, a review of state and… Read More

Healthy Debate: Ohio Valley Health Concerns Driving Competitive Midterm Races

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The political ads in the Ohio Valley are playing on what seems like a constant loop. That’s not unusual for election season. But what is unusual this year is how many ads focus on health care. Consider this one from Kentucky Republican Andy Barr, who’s facing a tough challenge in the 6th Congressional District from Democrat Amy McGrath…. Read More

Infection And Inequality: How The Income Gap Fuels Ohio Valley’s Hep A Outbreak

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Jim Thacker is frustrated. The spokesperson for the Madison County, Kentucky, Health Department said there is a real threat of a Hepatitis A outbreak at the detention center right down the road in Richmond. Built to house about 240 inmates, it holds more than 400. “It’s like a petri dish, they are packed so close together,” he… Read More

Battling An Outbreak: Businesses And Health Officials Respond As Ohio Valley’s Hep A Cases Climb

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The low rumble of industrial fans fills the Catholic Action Center in Lexington, a shelter that provides meals and other services for homeless people. It’s mid-morning on a hot July day and dozens of people sit camped on couches in the entryway, or slouch at tables nearby. Despite the fans the air is stale from too many… Read More

Regional Hep A Outbreak Linked To Ohio Valley Addiction Crisis

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A Hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a Hep A vaccine. Soon, Kentucky’s Acting Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Jeffrey Howard was pushing back. “Let me say that it IS safe… Read More

Surgeon General Supports Needle Exchanges To Limit Disease From Opioid Crisis

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U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams threw his support behind syringe exchange services as an important tool to address the Ohio Valley’s high risk of needle-borne disease associated with the opioid epidemic. Adams visited Florence, in northern Kentucky, for an event to encourage more people to get trained to administer the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. Dressed in a full,… Read More

GregLee

Exchange of Ideas: How A Rural Kentucky County Overcame Fear To Adopt A Needle Exchange

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Greg Lee, Kentucky’s HIV/AIDS educator, starts the town hall on a somber note. “How many people in this room know someone who has died of an overdose death?” It is a standing-room only crowd. Most hands go up. “Amazing,” he says, sadly. The meeting is at the Bourbon County Public Health Department, just next to… Read More

Fracking Waste Disposal: Still A Hot Mess

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  The slogan for Estill County is “where the bluegrass kisses the mountains.” But since 2015 the county, population 15,000, is widely known as the place where radioactive material generated by the oil and gas industry in a process known as fracking was dumped near some schools. As the Ohio Valley ReSource reported in 2016, tons of waste from the drilling… Read More

Trump’s First Year Leaves Obamacare on Life Support in Ohio Valley

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Remember the American Health Care Act, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, or the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act? They were among the many Congressional proposals to end the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. If 2017 was the year of endless Obamacare debates, 2018 could be the year when we see the effects on… Read More

Restricted Right: Ohio Valley Women Face Abortion Barriers

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A small gaggle of reporters points their microphones at reproductive rights activist Marcie Crim as she bluntly decries  the shrinking access to abortion in the region. Crim stands just a few feet from the open door of the office of Governor Matt Bevin near the Capitol rotunda. Crim and Bevin may be physically close in… Read More

Tobacco’s Toll: New Push To Stop Smoking In Country’s Sickest States

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Hundreds of kids scurrying to buses are oblivious to a sign above them declaring Bourbon County High School “100 percent Tobacco Free.” But upstairs in the library, sophomore and anti-smoking advocate Jacob Steward unfurls a six-foot scroll with earth-toned papers trapped between clear sheets of laminate. He begins reading the anti-smoking slogans he’ll post around… Read More

The Big Latch: Rising Breast-feeding Rates Could Boost Region’s Health

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Edwin Hall is dressed in a footed onsie covered in the pastel shades of monkeys and hippos. Although Edwin’s just seven weeks old he already tells his mom when he’s hungry with a sharp and persistent yelp. Soon after he gets her attention, Edwin is practicing his sucking technique. His mom, Sarah, with the dazed… Read More