Sammy Mack

Reporter

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 WLRN.org, 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 A Green Eyeshade Award for Investigative Journalism, and 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

Sira Anamwong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About a year ago, the journal Health Affairs published a study of the top 50 American hospitals with the highest cost markups, based on what the hospitals were charging compared to what Medicare would actually pay for services.

Twenty of the top 50 hospitals were in Florida.

South Florida has one more reason to hate mosquitoes: Miami-Dade County Health officials announced a case of locally-acquired Dengue fever Tuesday night.

In a press release, the Florida Department of Health  (DOH) in Miami Dade County announced it had confirmed a case of dengue fever that had been caught in the County.

The individual reportedly received treatment and is  “expected to make a full recovery,” althought the DOH indicated that it is "investigating close contacts around the individual to determine if additional people are infected."

CDC

Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood may be celebrating this week’s lifting of the suspected Zika transmission map, but Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people in Miami-Dade County not to let their guards down.

Miami Herald

I’m the health reporter here at WLRN, but a couple of weeks ago, I declined to go to a town hall meeting in Miami Beach about the city’s very new status as a Zika transmission zone.

Kyle Holsten / WLRN

A group of researchers and doctors convened in Miami this week to discuss how different specialists are responding to the Zika virus.

Organized by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the conversation ranged from mosquito control to pediatric research—but one of the hottest topics at the discussion surrounded Zika virus testing.

Researchers at UM have applied for a grant to develop rapid Zika testing.

gutcheck.cancer.gov

When Brenda Sokolowski turned 50, she followed national recommendations and made an appointment for her first screening colonoscopy.

everydayplus / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Health care prices are notoriously difficult to come by ahead of a procedure, but Jackson Health System in South Florida is experimenting with a new approach in price transparency.

Hospitals keep a list of what they charge for health care services—but if you have insurance, that charge may have nothing to do with what your insurance company has negotiated and what your out-of-pocket expenses would be.

What makes Jackson’s Care Quote different from a typical estimate is how it accounts for an individual’s insurance plan.

Officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture have found three Zika-positive mosquito samples in Miami Beach.

Key Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): A Systematic Review and Presentation of Early Research Findings / Health Services Research

The Affordable Care Act has achieved at least part of what it set out to do—but there are still quite a few questions about the long-term impact of the health legislation, according to a new study published in the journal Health Services Research.

There's only one place in the continental U.S. where mosquitoes are known to be transmitting the Zika virus: Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. Pregnant women are arming themselves against mosquitoes.

Trina Sargalski / The Wynwood Yard

It’s been a little over a week since it was confirmed that the Zika virus has spread locally in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

In the heart of that neighborhood is The Wynwood Yard—an all-outdoor food and culture venue. Within hours of the Zika announcement, Della Heiman—founder of the Wynwood Yard and owner of Della Test Kitchen—temporarily closed the space. She decided not to charge rent to the six other businesses at the Yard for the week they’ve been closed.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Airplanes dispersed insecticide over Miami early Thursday morning, and according to officials they’re already seeing a lot of dead mosquitos.

Gov. Rick Scott and Dr. Tom Frieden—who heads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—made the announcement at a press conference in Doral on Thursday afternoon.

“As you know, they did aerial spraying this morning and they killed a lot of mosquitoes,” said Scott.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Late last fall, Dr. Christine Curry was at a faculty meeting with her colleagues when the conversation turned to new reports linking the Zika virus to a surge in microcephaly in infants in Brazil.

"I think it’s fair to say that most obstetricians had never heard of this virus a year ago," said Curry, who is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

SportzSafe.com

Dr. Gillian Hotz is not your typical gamer. But wearing a white lab coat and tapping furiously at a tablet screen—trying to get her football-playing cartoon avatar in position for a tackle—it’s clear she knows what to do.

Elbows in. Head up. Arms ready.

Another cartoon character runs in for the hit, and Hotz is ready.

“Good job!” shouts a coach somewhere off screen.  

“That was a successful tackle; I’ve had a lot of practice,” says Hotz.

Associated Press

Pregnant women are being asked to stay away from Wynwood.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  has issued a Zika-related travel warning for pregnant women to an area just north of Downtown Miami.

 

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