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HealthConnections
Every Other Tuesday 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?

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In this biweekly series, Dr. Myers and WUOT's Chrissy Keuper 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 Chrissy Keuper.

  • 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.
  • Mental illness is a significant global health crisis. In late 2021, the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory about the youth mental health crisis. In Knoxville and East Tennessee, youth are struggling with depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders. In Tennessee, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10 to 17. Dr. Carole Myers speaks with Dr. Stephen Loyd, Chief Medical Officer for Cedar Recovery, VP of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, Chair of the Tennessee Abatement Count, and a member of the University of Tennessee SMART Policy Network.
  • Knox County fares well in the County Health Rankings, but those rankings do not reflect two important concerns: Overall Tennessee is a relatively unhealthy state, with a ranking of 42 among the 50 states. Within Knox County, there are subpopulations that fare far worse than other subpopulations. The differences between top-performing groups of people in Knox County and the East Tennessee region and those with poor performance, is significant. We call these differences health disparities. Dr. Carol Myers of the UT College of Nursing speaks with Dr. Keith Gray, Chief Medical Officer of the UT Medical Center.
  • There are certain groups of people that are afflicted with stigmatizing disorders: Substance Use Disorder (SUD), HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis C, all of which are stigmatized and not well understood by the public. Stigma has a negative impact on access to health care services, as well as the quality of services received, and can be linked to policies that perpetuate inequities. Dr. Carole Myers of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing speaks with Wanda Montalvo, Senior Fellow and Team Lead for the National Association of Community Health Centers.
  • Humans are social animals and human contact and connections are essential for good mental, emotional, and physical health. Dr. Carole Myers of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing speaks with Dr. Kristi Gordon, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Engagement for the University of Tennessee College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences; Director of the Gordon Couples Research Lab; Executive Director of Healthy Connections Knoxville; and a clinical psychologist in private practice.
  • About 1 in 6 people living in the U.S. are Hispanic/Latino. This number is expected to grow to 1 in 4 by 2035. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population grew by 3.8% from 2020 to 2021, the largest growth among any group. The Hispanic population in TN is the third largest racial or ethnic group behind Whites and Black/African Americans. Dr. Carole Myers of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing speaks with Cristina Cáceres, Director of Community Resources at Centro Hispano de East Tennessee about the healthcare challenges facing this community.
  • Each year about 1 in 10 infants in the United States is born prematurely. Prematurity is defined as being born before 37 weeks of gestation. Due to major advances, babies born very prematurely are more likely to survive than even a few decades ago. Dr. Carole Myers of the UT College of Nursing speaks with Dr. Kathy Newnam, Associate Professor in the UT College of Nursing and a neonatal nurse practitioner at UT Medical Center.
  • Dr. Carole Myers of the UT College of Nursing speaks with Dr. David Bassett, UT Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, about his studies of physical activity and energy expenditure, especially the impact of walking on body weight, blood pressure, blood lipids, and other cardiovascular risk factors, and about how many steps are enough for good health.
  • Dr. Carole Myers of the UT College of Nursing speaks with Robin Cogan, a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN) currently in her 21st year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District, and Allyson Neal, Assistant Dean in the UT College of Nursing and a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who specializes in child and adolescent mental and behavioral health.