Claire Heddles

Morning Edition Host/Reporter

From Tucson, Arizona, Claire has a master’s from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism. Most recently, Claire worked at NPR West in Culver City, California, assisting NPR’s western correspondents with research and production. Claire’s own work has been featured nationally on NPR’s All Things Considered. 

Contact Claire at 

Claire Heddles

University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd gave his annual State of the University address Friday, describing his vision for the university using the tag line "Be One UT." According to Boyd, the acronym represents university values like being bold and impactful and embracing diversity. 

Moments after Boyd's address concluded, students and union organizers gathered on UT Knoxville's campus, contrasting the tag line against the recent layoff of 70 facilities workers at UT Health Sciences Center (UTHSC) in Memphis.

Claire Heddles

Knox County Health Department has begun vaccinating about five hundred people a day at a former Food City building in Knoxville. County health director Dr. Martha Buchanan said the plan is to administer 1,500 vaccines a day by next month. She said it takes about seven minutes from when someone arrives at the vaccination site to receive a shot and be moved to a post-vaccination waiting area.

Claire Heddles

Sitting in front of Knox County’s Park and Recreation building in Lakeshore Park, birds are chirping, people are walking and kids are playing soccer. What is now a bustling park was once home to the state-run Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, shut down in 2012 in an attempt to decentralize care into the community.

Nearly a decade later, some advocates say there are still major gaps in care. There were almost 200 inpatient, psychiatric beds in Knox County in 2010. Now, there are less than 40.

University of Tennessee Medical Center

In response to a public records request, Knox County Health Department says it requested more than 9,000 first-dose vaccines from state health officials this week and is receiving just shy of 6,700.

Knox County Health Department determines how these vaccines are distributed to authorized community vaccination sites. Up until this week, KCHD has not publicized which providers are receiving vaccine doses or how many. 

Public Domain


Knox County Health Department announced Wednesday 975 doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine are missing. County health director Dr. Martha Buchanan said she believes the health department inadvertently threw them away. 

Courtesy of E. Patrick Johnson

Scholar and author E. Patrick Johnson writes about Black, gay identity in the South. He is giving a virtual lecture Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the University of Tennessee.

Tennessee's General Assembly spent a week in January working through new education legislation that aims to address pandemic learning loss. Advocates say there's still a long road ahead to equity in education both during, and after the pandemic.

Office of the Governor

When the federal government asked the public to weigh in on Tennessee’s proposal to receive its Medicaid dollars as a modified block grant, it received more than 6,100 comments. Just 14 of them supported the plan.

Knox County Health Department

The Tennessee Department of Health has published an updated list of counties with available COVID vaccines. According to the report, Blount, Anderson, Sevier, Union and other East Tennessee counties have doses available. 

White House Coronavirus Task Force report, January 24

UPDATED: January 28

The White House's new COVID data director under the Biden administration is making these Coronavirus Task Force reports available to the public.


To date, both President Trump and Governor Bill Lee have declined to publish Tennessee's weekly reports from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. WUOT News is collecting these reports through weekly public records requests to the Knox County Health Department and sharing them below.