Tuesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections brings the often-abstract world of health care, coverage and policy to a human level. What is access? How do marketplaces work? What's the future of health insurance? In this biweekly series, Dr. Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth sort through these issues and more, all to give you a toolbox for understanding what you hear on the news, or to separate fact from fiction in the health care debate.

Support for HealthConnections is provided by PYA.   
PYA underwrites HealthConnections, but the segment’s topics and guests are selected with editorial independence by Dr. Carole Myers and WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth.

It is assumed that Joe Biden will be sworn in at noon January 20 as the 46th president of the United States. As we transition from one administration to the next, we wanted to take a look at what might be expected in the realm of health care. There’s of course a lot we don’t know yet, but Dr. Carole Myers from the University of Tennessee College of Nursing will shed some light on what President-elect Biden has shared about his vision for health care in the U.S.

State Senator and surgeon Dr. Richard Briggs joins HealthConnections creator Dr. Carole Myers for an update on the state’s COVID response, efforts to neuter county health boards, and how the pandemic relates to broadband access.

The beginnings of wearable health technology date to an experimental step counter invented in Japan in the mid-1960s. Some watches were able to keep tabs on heartbeats in the 1980s. But the current boom in wearable health monitors was spurred by the development of smaller, faster devices.

Before Thanksgiving, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna announced encouraging news from their experimental COVID-19 vaccines: They worked.

When gyms, yoga studios and other exercise spaces closed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials recommended people head outside. And many did. Now that cooler months are setting in, how can you stay physically active, maintain physical distancing and keep yourself safe?

Everyone gets nervous from time to time. Most of the time, anxiety is about something specific, like flying on an airplane, or giving a speech, or looking over the edge of a canyon and seeing how far down the bottom is. And there is also a moment of release. When that plane lands or your speech is done, you feel better and the anxiety goes away.

On November 3, the nation will vote to determine who will be President of the United States for next four years.

While the major-party presidential contenders have not made health care a front-and-center issue this year, the topic is a perennial priority for voters.  In this election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden offer starkly different approaches for health care.

The pandemic, political chaos, disruptions to old norms of social contact, economic worries, concerns about the present and future -- the events of 2020 are enough to get anyone down. Unsurprisingly, more Americans have reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially younger adults, people of color and people in the health care field.

In the dark days of the Second World War, the letter V meant victory. Today, the letter V stands for something just as hoped-for: a vaccine against COVID-19. Pharmaceutical companies around the world are scrambling to invent a vaccine that will protect us from the pernicious effects of the novel coronavirus. But any vaccine must also be safe for humans.

A word of caution: This topic may upset some listeners.

The suicide rate among the general population has increased 30% since 2000. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people 10-34 years old.

Suicide is an even more challenging concern in the world of health and medicine.  Health care professionals, including physicians, veterinarians, and nurses have considerably higher rates of suicide than the general population.  Sadly, we even sometimes see suicide referred to as an occupational hazard for health care professionals.