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Every Other Tuesday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee Nursing professor emerita Dr. Carole R. Myers, HealthConnections examines the intersections between people, health, and policy.

What constitutes health? What does it mean to have or lack access to healthcare services? What are our most vexing health and healthcare challenges and how are they influenced by public policies?

In this biweekly series, Dr. Myers and her guests sort through these issues and more, giving you tools for understanding what you hear on the news and for separating fact from fiction in the healthcare debate.

  • New mothers are subject to powerful emotions: excitement, anxiety, joy, apprehension, and depression. “Baby blues” or other altered moods are not uncommon. However, some mothers face more severe and prolonged symptoms, known as Perinatal Mood Disorders. Dr. Carole Myers speaks with Sarah McNamara, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is certified in Perinatal Mental Health and the Clinical Director of Ready Nest Knoxville, a counseling practice that helps individuals, couples, and families transition through the life stages of conception, pregnancy, postpartum, infertility, or loss.
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state law required that the eligibility of all TennCare enrollees be redetermined, renewed, or verified annually. The purpose of the redetermination is to ensure that enrollees still qualify for coverage. During the pandemic, the annual redetermination was suspended by the federal government. Recently Congress announced the resumption of annual renewals, effective April 1, 2023. Dr. Carole Myers speaks with Tennessee State Representative Gloria Johnson about what TennCare enrollees can expect from the redetermination process and whether Medicaid expansion in Tennessee remains a possibility.
  • Dr. Carole Myers speaks with Dr. Whitney Wharton and Dr. Joel Anderson, who are leading a national study designed to improve age-related resources and to ensure that LGBTQIA+ patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) and LGBTQIA+ caregivers are included in ADRD research.
  • The earlier in life a young person starts using alcohol or other drugs, the greater the lifetime risk of misuse and addiction. Therefore, prevention and early intervention are an absolute necessity. Besides the mandate to prevent the human tragedy of substance use disorder, addiction, and overdose deaths, prevention is a good economic investment. Dr. Carole Myers speaks with Dr. Laurie Meschke of the University of Tennessee Department of Public Health.
  • The move to home-based care got a big boost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now there are questions about the sustainability and demand for this model of care delivery and whether home-based care could be a new normal. Dr. Carole Myers, Professor Emerita in the UT College of Nursing, speaks with Kevin Riddleberger, a co-founder and chief strategy officer for DispatchHealth.
  • If predictions hold true, there will be some vigorous discussions in Nashville and across the state when the 113th Tennessee General Assembly convenes in January 2023. Two issues at the intersection of people, health, and policy are the crisis associated with children in custody of the Tennessee Department of Children Services and possible modifications to Tennessee’s abortion trigger law. Dr. Carole Myers of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing speaks with Tennessee State Senator Dr. Richard Briggs, a physician and retired Army Colonel representing the 7th District.
  • The U.S. government does not track overdose death rates for every drug, but it does for opioids. Dr. Carole Myers speaks with Dr. Jennifer Tourville, Executive Director of the SMART Initiative, which provides leadership in mitigating the opioid crisis in Tennessee and is an agency of the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service.
  • Early childhood experiences have a profound impact on what we call social-emotional development because children grow more rapidly during the first five years of life than during any other time. Social-emotional development and growth include the ability to form and sustain relationships; to experience, manage, and express emotions; and to explore and engage with the environment. Dr. Carole Myers of the UT College of Nursing speaks with Dr. Heather Sedges, associate professor and human development specialist in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department with UT Extension.
  • Homelessness qualifies as a "wicked” societal problem, which have several common characteristics: incomplete or contradictory knowledge about the problem; a wide range of people and opinions involved; associated with a large economic burden; and interconnected with other problems. Dr. Carole Myers of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing speaks with Dr. David Patterson, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tennessee College of Social Work.
  • Dr. Carole Myers of the UT College of Nursing speaks with Dr. David White, Interim Dean of UT's Herbert College of Agriculture about antimicrobial resistance (AMR), named one of the most serious global public health threats of the century.