Sammy Mack


Public radio. Public health. Public policy.

Most days, Mack covers health care policy for WLRN – Miami Herald News. Her health care journalism is supported by a fellowship with the Kaiser Health News and NPR Health Care Reporting in the States project.

Like most folks who've worked at a member station, she's worn a lot of hats: interim digital editor during the re-launch of, assistant producer for The Florida Roundup, morning news producer, intern coordinator, party planner. She was one half of the StateImpact Florida education reporting team. 

Her stories have appeared on NPR, Monocle 24, the Miami Herald, Global Health, Health News Florida, Gambit Weekly, MAP Magazine, Gulfshore Life, Philadelphia Weekly, the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and other outlets.

Mack’s work has been honored with Florida AP Broadcaster and SPJ Sunshine State awards. She’s collaborated on projects that have won a Third Coast International Audio Festival bronze award, an Emmy, regional Edward R. Murrow awards, a Wilbur Award and a Dart Award. Mack was a writing fellow during the 2008 Poynter Summer Fellowship for Young Journalists.

She was recognized by her colleagues as the 2011 Herald Top Chef. She’s happy to share her recipe for garam masala macarons with lemongrass filling.

Ways to Connect

Baitong333 /


Florida legislators have been grappling with the problem of balance billing—also known as “surprise billing”—and now the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a broader rule aimed at fixing the issue.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

It’s a bustling morning in terminal D at  Miami International Airport and 11-year-old Jonathan Mizrachi is checking in for his flight.  

“I’d like to go to Paris,” he tells the agent at the counter.

He’s not actually going to Paris. That’s make-believe. But everything else about his travel through the airport on this day is real: a TSA screening, gate agents, flight crew, boarding and eventually de-planing.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Exhibits throughout the Miami Children’s Museum turned into makeshift courtrooms Friday as part of a National Adoption Day event.

More than 60 children had their adoptions finalized at the museum.

“It means we are complete, our little puzzle pieces are all there,” said Alexis Capin, who legally adopted her daughter, Eve, at the event. “Nothing’s missing—we have our little boy, our little girl—and we’re the perfect little family.”

Miami Dade College

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell stopped at Miami Dade College on Wednesday to drum up excitement around open enrollment for health insurance plans—though during her stop she was not keen on addressing some of the problems that have come out of Obamacare.

She began her tour of MDC in a computer lab on the second floor of the downtown campus where there’s a bank of computers dedicated just to helping students enroll in Obamacare.

cooldesign /

A new analysis of Florida’s health care markets finds that as the state’s hospitals consolidate and expand, new business models are shifting the negotiating power.

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute / County Health Rankings Health Gaps Report 2015

A new study of state death rates shows more Floridians die early in some counties than in others—and researchers have a few ideas about how to change that.

The Florida State Health Gaps report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute examines factors that influence health—everything from smoking and obesity rates, to unemployment, to air pollution—alongside county-by-county death rates. 

March of Dimes

The March of Dimes has  issued its 2015 report card on early births across the country and Florida gets bad grades for its premature birth rates.

The state earned a C this year for having a premature birth rate of 9.9 percent—just about one in every 10 babies born in Florida. The March of Dimes goal is 8.1 percent.

The owner of the now-defunct Dade Medical College, Ernesto Perez, has been charged with making illegal campaign contributions. 

Wilfredo Lee / AP via Miami Herald

At about 12:30 on Thursday afternoon, Dynamic Air Flight 405 was taxiing on the north runway of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. It was full of fuel and about to take off for Caracas, Venezuela.

What happened next shut down the airport for three hours and delayed hundreds of flights. 

Before the plane got off the ground, passengers heard what they described as a loud boom.

Andres Gallegos, in seat 12 A, turned to see flames outside. In the cockpit, the pilot was reporting a fire in the left engine.