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, 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

The Weather Channel

Weather Channel meteorologist Bryan Norcross has a reputation as the reasoned voice that guided South Florida through the lowest moments of Hurricane Andrew.

And now, he’s trying to help South Florida prepare to survive Hurricane Irma.

Norcross spent an hour on WLRN’s Topical Currents Thursday giving solid advice and answering questions from listeners. You can hear the discussion below:

Some of the major takeaways:

Sammy Mack / WLRN News

There are more than 4 million children in Florida and Dr. Jeffrey Brosco just became responsible for them.

Brosco is a pediatrician at the University of Miami and a bioethicist with Jackson Memorial Hospital. And as Florida’s new deputy secretary for Children’s Medical Services, he now oversees everything from Florida’s poison control hotline to a state-run insurance program for extremely sick children.

bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It costs American hospitals about $622 million every year to admit patients with gunshot wounds—and it turns out, we’re all paying the bills.

That’s according to a new study in the journal Injury Epidemiology that tapped into a national sample of hospital records to gauge the cost of admitting patients with firearm injuries.

The researchers broke the costs down by injury type, demographics and insurance status.

Among the findings:

coniferconifer / flickr

When Monroe County held a nonbinding referendum last year on whether  to allow the experimental release of genetically modified mosquitoes, most voters said yes.

This was as the mosquito-borne Zika crisis was exploding. The Food and Drug Administration had already started to clear the way for the field trial.

But residents of Key Haven--the proposed site of the mosquito control experiment--voted against it. And the company that breeds the mosquitoes started looking for another site.

“I'm tired of operating on 14-year-olds,” says trauma surgeon Dr. Tanya Zakrison of the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

She’s one of the surgeons who’s operated on the more than 850 children and teenagers with gunshot wounds who came through the trauma center in the past decade.

What got them there and what happened to them afterwards—those are questions Zakrison would like answered. But she was initially advised by mentors and research advisors that she should avoid focusing on gun-related trauma.

When children and teenagers survive gun violence it can have an impact on their mental health.

In a series that started this week, Health News Florida partner station WLRN is exploring what the trauma of shootings can do to the mental health of children and families.

nature.mdc.mo.gov

Mosquito populations may be dropping with the temperature outside right now, and that means this is the right time to ramp up mosquito prevention efforts, says Dr. Uriel Kitron.

Kitron is an expert on mosquito-borne diseases and a professor and chair of  environmental sciences at Emory University. He was recently in Miami to give a talk about his research. He sat down with Health News Florida to talk about mosquito control and the Zika virus. 

www.i-bug-you.com

There is a room in artist Beca Gilling’s Miami house that looks a little like it should belong to a mad scientist: Candy-colored, amoeba-shaped critters smile out from specimen jars. There’s a row of tools you wouldn’t be surprised to find in a dentist’s office.

South Florida has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in new HIV cases.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks the South Florida metro area as number one for HIV diagnoses in 2015.

NIH.gov

South Floridians have one more reason to avoid the Zika virus—and this one’s especially for the men out there: New research using mouse models shows the Zika virus can shrink testicles.

“We started looking at the placental barrier and seeing if the virus could cross there,” says Dr. Jen Govero, a scientist who worked on the study at Washington University in St. Louis.

alex_ugalek / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Temperatures may be dropping a little in Florida, but that doesn’t mean the Zika virus is going away anytime soon, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Here’s the plain truth,” Frieden told an audience at The Atlantic magazine’s CityLab conference in Miami. “Zika and other diseases spread by Aedes aegypti are really not controllable with current technology. So we will see this become endemic in this hemisphere.”

American College of Emergency Physicians

According to a new national poll from the American College of Emergency Physicians, the view on health insurance from the emergency department is pretty grim.

The report released on Tuesday links fear of high costs with worsening health.

Among the findings:

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