Sammy Mack

Reporter

Public radio. Public health. Public policy.

Most days, Mack covers health care policy for WLRN. 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, national and 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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Most Floridians knew about the Zika virus and how it spread—but that wasn't enough to get them to protect themselves, according to a new study in the journal Risk Analysis.

As the Zika virus emerged in the United States two summers ago, researchers from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed more than 12,000 Americans. They asked people what they knew about Zika, and how they were reacting to it.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

A timeline along the wall of the Historic Lyric Theater's current exhibit, on Miami's black health care history, looks like an EKG. The first beat of it, beginning in 1896, belongs to the city's first black doctor, Dr. Rivers.

"It starts with Dr. Rivers and we still haven't gotten his first name yet," says Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, founder of the Black Archives and chair of the committee that assembled pieces for the show, The Evolution of Black Health Care In Miami-Dade County From 1896-2018, In Parallel With Jackson Memorial Hospital's Evolution.

Ryan McBride / Courtesy of the Boston Herald

Every high school graduation is a triumph in its own way — a mix of beginnings and endings.

And there’s another story that now belongs to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School class of 2018: the journey that comes after tragedy.

The former head of the Miss Venezuela contest—who had ties to pageant-style television programming in Miami—has been accused of pimping out pageant contestants.

Osmel Sousa ran the Miss Venezuela pageant for nearly four decades. But he stepped down in February.

stockdevil / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dr. Ralph Sacco has his own way of thinking about time:

“Time is brain,” says Sacco, a neurologist at the University of Miami and chair of a registry that collects hospital data on what happens to stroke patients in Florida and Puerto Rico.

During a stroke, he says, “every minute, millions of brain cells die and we can't salvage them. You need to get urgent attention ... you need to get to a stroke center.”

For most strokes, the window for treatment is six hours. Depending on the kind of stroke, treatment can be effective within 24 hours.

More Floridians get their health insurance through their jobs than from any other source—about 42 percent of us, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Courtesy NAMI Miami

Young people’s experiences with mental illness are in the spotlight this weekend as the third annual Reel Minds Miami Mental Health Film Festival returns to the University of Miami on Sunday.

This year’s festival includes a collection of six short films, along with discussions between mental health providers and advocates. The event is sponsored by the Miami chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which works to educate the public and offers free resources to support people affected by mental illness.

James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Following a rabid raccoon attack, the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County is advising residents to be careful around wild animals.

The raccoon in question scratched and bit a worker in the community of Breakers West last week. The attack was reported to the county. A local trapper caught the animal, which then tested positive for rabies.

The victim of the raccoon attack started a five-shot course of rabies vaccines.

This is the fourth confirmed rabid animal case in Palm Beach County this year.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

More Floridians get their health insurance through their jobs than from any other source—about 42 percent of us, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Which, when you start talking about making choices in healthcare, has some interesting implications for your personal health and your financial health.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

The pedestrian bridge at Florida International University 's Modesto Maidique Campus was touted as a marvel for traffic-burdened Southwest Eighth Street. An average of 66,500 cars a day crossed the intersection with Southwest 109th Avenue in 2016.

Last weekend, the $14.2 million project was installed. By 2019, the cable-supported bridge would link the city of Sweetwater, where about 4,000 students live, and the school’s main campus across the street.

Almost immediately after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Melissa Kornhaus, a licensed mental health counselor with a specialty in trauma therapy, was looking for a way to help.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

As Florida’s legislative session winds down, the clock is running out on a bill that would expand legal needle exchange access in Broward and Palm Beach counties—and the doctor behind the proposal says he’ll keep pushing for a vote until the handkerchief drops in Tallahassee.

Camila Kerwin / WLRN

In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, politicians and activists have discussed funding more gun injury research.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

The day of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the team that first found student Maddy Wilford briefly thought she was dead. A week and three surgeries later, Maddy was discharged from the hospital with little outward sign of the multiple gunshot wounds she sustained.

At a press conference at Broward Health North on Monday morning—flanked by her parents and the medical professionals who saved her life—Maddy and her family had a message of gratitude and hope.

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