Coming Home Project
4:22 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Formerly Homeless, An Army Vet Prepares for Christmas

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

It's been five months since 16 homeless veterans moved into permanent supportive housing thanks to the American Legion Post in southeastern Connecticut. The Jewett City Post renovated its own building to create the apartments. The project was funding by the federal VA with help from private donations, Second district Congressman Joe Courtney, and the state of Connecticut.

This past summer, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil introduced us to one of the new tenants, an Army veteran. She visited him recently as he prepares for his first Christmas inside his own place.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:44 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

The State of Mental Health Care in Connecticut

Chion Wolf

I'm not a big fan of getting ready to fight the previous war. Our next crisis will not be Adam Lanza. It will not be an exact replica of the facts of his life, not that we know those for sure yet. (I would say, parenthetically, that the worldwide rush to diagnose Lanza makes me massively uncomfortable.)

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Coming Home Project
5:42 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Suicide 'Epidemic' Among Active Duty Military and Veterans

Photo courtesy of

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called on military leaders to explore a "epidemic" of suicide among active duty servicemembers and veterans. Each day, 18 veterans kill themselves according to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. In Connecticut, 30 veterans have died this way since 2009, but those are only the suicides that the VA knows about.

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Economic Development
3:31 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Connecticut Health Council Launches

Today was the launch of something called the Connecticut Health Council. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the council's ultimate goal is to attract new healthcare industry jobs to the state.

The council will have meetings every six weeks or so to talk about topics in health care, and representatives from various areas within the industry are planning to take part. It's part education, part networking, and part Connecticut sell job.

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Less Reimbursements
11:10 am
Tue December 11, 2012

The "Doc Fix" Set To Expire


On December 31, doctors will experience a 30% decrease in reimbursements through Medicare and Tricare,  the federal programs that provide care for people over 65 years of age and active and retired members of the military, unless Congress acts to stop it.

In 1997, Congress created a formula that tied increases in physician payments from  Medicare and Tricare to economic growth, a formula that leaves a shortfall in payments to doctors when health care costs rise faster than the nation's economic growth. 

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Mandatory Shots
12:54 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Hospitals Prepare For The Flu

United States Army Corps Of Engineers

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this year's flu season is off to it's earliest start in nearly a decade. Many hospitals nationwide, including 19 in Connecticut, have implemented mandatory flu shots for it's workers. 

But, there has been some pushback from unions representing hospital workers, and at least a few workers have been fired for refusing to get the flu shot. 

Dr. Mary Reich Cooper, Vice-President and Chief Quality Officer at the Connecticut Hospital Association talks about it.

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Where We Live
11:42 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Living With The Mystery Of Our Death

Rebecca Dubell

Religious leaders get to oversee some of life’s happiest moments, but they’ve also seen enough death to last a lifetime.

They officiate funerals, bless graves, and provide comfort to those who are suffering loss.  So it makes sense that we expect them to have some kind of wisdom about death.  

But how do their experiences influence their views of their own mortality?

Today we’ll talk with philosopher Shelly Kagan and pastoral care professor Kristen Leslie about the mystery of death.  

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Where We Live
10:27 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Cheers To Living To 100! Or... Forever?

dark_ghetto28, creative commons

Are there places where people just live longer?

We’ve been hearing about this phenomenon for years, but our guest today has proof.

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Child Health
4:15 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Study: Hartford Children Have High Rates of Obesity

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

A study of Hartford pre-school students shows that many of the city's young are obese by the time they are four or five years old. The study by UConn's Center for Public Health and Health Policy shows that Hartford has roughly the same rates of preschool obesity as other U.S. cities. Seventeen percent of the children measured classified as overweight; 20 percent of them qualified as obese. Both rates, though, are significantly higher than national averages.

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Where We Live
12:10 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Surviving Cancer


More people than ever are surviving after treatment for cancer, but sometimes living a life after cancer is almost as difficult as having the disease.

Many people expect that when their treatment for cancer is complete, they’ll go back to feeling the same as they did before they got sick.

Instead, survivors live with the lingering physical and emotional complications of the treatment that saved their lives.

But this is changing.

Programs are growing to meet the demands of survivors wanting more out of post-cancer life.

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Health Care
4:42 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

New Law Allows Non-Nurses to Administer Medications to Patients at Home

A new state law was just passed that will eventually give non-nurses the ability to give medications to poor and disabled patients living at home. The governor's bill lets trained home care aides -- who cost about half what nurses do -- administer medications. 

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Health Care
6:16 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Need for Primary Care Doctors Touches Community Health Centers, Too

With legal and political battles over the Affordable Care Act all but settled, it now appears that the health care overhaul law is here to stay. The goal of the law is to promise insurance coverage for more Americans and, if it works, increase access to care.

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Where We Live
10:41 am
Fri November 16, 2012

A Moment of Solitude

Natesh Ramasamy, Creative Commons

If Einstein was right that "The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind," why don’t more of us seek it out?

Sure, we all say we want a little “me time” or want to “get away from it all” but how often do we really spend time alone and quiet. Not just “unplugged” - an adjective that Einsten, Emerson and Thoreau never had to deal with - but truly engaged in a state of being by oneself.

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Where We Live
12:06 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Small Business Breakfast: Health Care

Chion Wolf

We get together a few times a year to talk about the issues that face small businesspeople in Connecticut.  And today's topic is Health Care.

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Health Care Regulation
10:40 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Regulating Pharmacies To Protect Public Health

Diane Orson

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro met Thursday in North Haven with public health officials and pharmacists.  She heard their views on how the federal government could better regulate compounding pharmacies. 

The fungal meningitis outbreak that infected more than 400 people and caused 31 deaths across the country has been traced to a pharmacy in Massachusetts.    

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Where We Live
11:12 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Medical Advertising: Educational or Promotional?

benjamin sTone (Flickr Creative Commons)

Driving on I-84 in Hartford, have you seen a billboard from Hartford Hospital. It's the one that asks, "What’s scarier -- a colonoscopy or cancer?"

What’s the point of an ad like that? Does it inform us? Does it freak us out?

Rexford Santerre is a finance professor and healthcare management at the UConn School of Business. He says the ultimate test would be to see whether advertising improves our health.

But that’s pretty hard to do. So here’s how economists think about it.

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Where We Live
12:52 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

A Patient-Centered Medical Home

Chion Wolf

The "patient-centered medical home" is a fairly new way of talking about what medical care used to be. The idea is that a patient has a primary care doctor who does more than just see them when they’re sick, but actually knows them, has all their records at hand, can suggest specialists, and most importantly, work with the patient on keeping him or herself healthy.

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Where We Live
10:52 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Sick and Tired from Sugar


Sugar is getting a lot of the blame these days for its role in obesity and other illness from heart disease to cancer.

We’ve been eating sugar for a long time, so, what’s changed?

According to the USDA, Americans now consume approximately 156 pounds of sugar, per person, per year--much of it hidden in the foods we eat, even when those foods don’t taste sweet.

Doctors say that willpower alone may not be enough to counter our love for sugar. Yeah, you heard right in that we eat about 156 pounds, per person, per year!!!

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Homemade Wine
6:40 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Capturing Summer's Harvest, One DIY Wine Bottle At A Time

Customers at a Hartford produce market, choosing grapes to turn into homemade wine.
Jeff Cohen NPR

If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.

Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.

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Public Health
3:09 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

City Concerned About, and Testing for, Hepatitis C

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Hartford public health officials say they are concerned with new data on Hepatitis C in the city. The numbers show ten to 20 cases a month of people newly-diagnosed with a chronic form of the disease. The city is using computer mapping to help it better target, test, and treat its residents. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:05 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Replacing Joints, Organs, And Tissues

Tareq Salahuddin

I need a knee replacement, but I don't want one.  

I keep thinking if I wait long enough, something new will happen. There will be a great leap forward in technology and knee replacements will become easier or somehow better. 

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Lyme Disease
2:21 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Public Hearing in Stamford Looks at Connecticut's High Rate of Lyme Disease

Scott Bauer (Wikimedia Commons)

As Lyme disease continues to spread across New England and into parts of the Midwest, more than 100 people gathered in Stamford on Thursday morning, August 30, to discuss ways to fight it. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who hosted the hearing, is proposing that Congress create an advisory committee on tick-borne related diseases that can help advocate for better diagnosing and prevention: “We share a common concern with a disease that has really reached epidemic proportions.

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Need Shades?
11:09 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Artificial Lighting and Our Health

Chion Wolf

Remember those big storms that left many of us in the dark for days and even weeks? We all went scrambling to power up our computers, recharge our smart phones, and grab a bite to eat in a warm and well-lit restaurant. The dark didn’t feel quite right.

But, maybe a little more dark is what we need.  

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Coming Home Project
6:12 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Attorney Seeks to Improve Claims Process for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma


A Connecticut attorney testified before Congress Wednesday on ways to improve the claims process for veterans who've been sexually assaulted while in the military. 

When veterans are raped or sexually assaulted while in the service, it's called military sexual trauma or MST.

The Department of Defense estimates more than 19,000 sexual assaults happened in 2010, but it's a problem that's often under-reported.

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The Faith Middleton Show
7:30 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Conversations About Caring for Sick Loved Ones

TheGiantVermin/flickr creative commons

Join Faith and Gina Barreca to explore what things in life give you a sense of permission. And, Bruce Clements on the physical and emotional challenges of caretaking.

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Coming Home Project
7:34 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Homeless Rural Vets Find A Place To Call Home

American Legion Post Cmdr. Mark Czmyr and his father, Navy veteran William Czmyr, originated the idea to create permanent apartments for homeless vets in Jewett City, Conn.
Lucy Nalpathanchil for NPR

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own, thanks to the American Legion.

The organization's post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional but permanent supportive housing in their rural community.

For 55-year-old Army veteran Jeff MacDonald, the new facility in Jewett City, Conn., was like "winning the lottery."

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Community Health
4:36 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Ruling To Benefit Patients At Fair Haven Community Health Center

Diane Orson

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling is expected to have a big impact on many patients who use community health centers. Patient Millie Cejas is leaving the Fair Haven Community Health Center with medication to control her blood sugar levels.  

"He tenido que pedir la medicina. No la puedo comprar..."

Cejas says she had to ask for medicine because she couldn’t afford to pay for it.  Cejas works ten hours a week for $8 an hour, and like about a third of the patients at the clinic has no health coverage.

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Not-So-Easy On The Eyes
9:04 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Health Risks of Artificial Light


The American Medical Association has adopted the recommendations of a report that links health problems, including cancer, to exposure to artificial light. Joining us is one of the co-authors of the report, and perhaps the first scientist to make this link, is Dr. Richard Stevens, professor in the University of Connecticut School of Medicine Department of Community Medicine and Health Care. 

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Health Care
4:03 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Proposed State Medicaid Changes Prompt Concern

State officials say a recent Medicaid expansion is over enrolled and costs too much money, so it's asking the federal government for permission to ramp the program down a bit. That move is being met with objections.

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