HealthConnections

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.

More than half a million Tennesseans have filed for unemployment since March 15. Many of them likely lost their health coverage along with their regular paycheck (national figures show about half of Americans have employer-provided health insurance). For those now living through an unexpected loss of coverage during a health crisis, a critical question is, what now?

COVID-19 is affecting minority populations at a disproportionately high rate. There are number of causes, from background health problems that make a person more vulnerable to coronavirus complications, to the high number of Minorities, particularly African Americans, are also tested less frequently than white people.

With the field of major-party presidential candidates down to two -- presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump -- we thought it would be a good time to explore what we know about the respective candidates' plans for health care in America.

Like any specialized field, epidemiology has a language all its own. While its vernacular may be well understood in medical circles, it's less known to a public whose understanding of the words pandemic or contagion comes from Hollywood medical thrillers.

In this edition of HealthConnections, we define and explain some of the terms most commonly used to describe the scope and nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic. UT's Dr. Carole Myers is your guide.

How are you spending your time during this period of social distancing? When the weather permits, lots of people are heading outside, whether for a walk around the block or a bike ride down the street.

But those kinds of activities are feasible only where it's safe to walk or bike. In many parts of East Tennessee, streets aren't ideal for anything but cars. On this edition of HealthConnections, Knoxville/Knox County Planning transportation planner Ellen Zavisca shares why it's important to make the built environment safer for people in all modes of getting around.

In little more than a year, CBD-related products went from virtual obscurity to mainstream offerings at pharmacies, convenience stores and dispensaries. The produucts on the shelves range from liquid shots for your morning cuppa, to ointments, to shampoos and conditioners. And they promise relief from a host of medical issues, from inflammation and anxiety to more serious conditions, such as epilepsy.

For years, economists talked about health and economics as something of a one-way street: Countries with strong economic growth would produce better health outcomes. But now, thinking is morphing into a two-way model: Better economic conditions can help health outcomes, and healthier people benefit themselves and regional, state and national economies.

Trauma suffered in childhood can have lasting effects, well into adulthood. But there are ways to reduce those effects and help children cope. In this edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Allyson Neal of the University of Tennessee talks about resiliency and hope in the face of childhood trauma. Dr. Neal speaks wirth HealthConnections creator Dr. Carole Myers.

An estimated 50 million American adults endure daily chronic pain. About a third of that group experiences chronic pain so severe that it interferes with daily life. But the quick reaction - issuing a prescription for painkillers - carries with it a risk of addiction. Recently, a national task force examined problems with prescription painkillers; last May, the panel offered recommendations to improve how healthcare providers and patients manage chronic pain.

Winter doesn't feel like an ideal time to get out and exercise. The days are shorter, the weather generally colder, and the landscapes less verdant than in spring and summer. As a result, many Americans let their outdoor time dwindle in the winter months. UT's Dr. Carole Myers says that can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

In this year-end edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Myers tries to convince a skeptical Brandon Hollingsworth that winter is the right time to get out of the house and get moving. Will he be swayed? Listen and find out!

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