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

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.

 

Florida Institute for Health Innovation

Floridians with chronic diseases like asthma and COPD may have one more problem to worry about: sea-level rise.

The Health And Sea Level Rise: Impacts on South Florida report released Monday maps out sea-level rise projections alongside health data from Palm Beach County down to the Keys—and there were some surprises about who’s at risk.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

  Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States. Having health insurance is no guarantee against being swamped by bills after an emergency or a big procedure.

But one Palm Beach County man has found there’s room to negotiate.

Epidemiology Congress of the Americas

Climate change isn’t just an environmental problem. If you ask Michael McGeehin, climate change is a health crisis.

McGeehin is an epidemiologist who spent more than 30 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He developed the CDC’s Climate Change Program.

McGeehin was recently in Miami for an international epidemiology conference. And he spoke with Health News Florida about how public health is threatened by changing rain patterns, sea level rise and heat waves:

Frankie Leon

The Florida Department of Health reports a child in Miami-Dade County has come down with a case of measles.
 

According to a release from the health department, the child who came down with measles had not been vaccinated.

The department said public health officials would be notifying people who may have been exposed.

The health department did not say where the child may have traveled before or after getting sick.

The measles virus can hang in the air and continue to be infectious up to two hours after the sick person has left the room.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  The number of Zika cases in Florida has grown to 188—which includes 38 pregnant women who are being monitored by the state.

So far, all of those cases are travel-related. But public health officials are bracing for local outbreaks.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip was in Fort Lauderdale Thursday to give a presentation on the state’s Zika plans to the Broward legislative delegation.

Philip said that when people get tested for a Zika diagnosis, mosquito control is alerted to where they live—before the test results come back.

Scenes of Grief and Healing in South Florida After Orlando Attack

Jun 13, 2016
Spencer Parts

In the hours and days following the Sunday massacre at a gay club in Orlando, members of South Florida's LGBT community have gathered to mourn and to provide comfort to each other.

Tim Padgett / WLRN

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and local police spent hours  Sunday going through the apartment of the alleged Orlando shooter, Omar Sadduque Mateen, as well as his parents'  house in Fort Pierce. 

A small gaggle of reporters and TV cameras were parked outside the police tape in front of the apartment complex in Fort Pierce where Mateen allegedly lived. The FBI and local police were on the scene, but neither could confirm anything about the investigation.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Mental health care ranks among the most expensive kinds of health care in American medicine—and having a 

mental illness or behavioral disorder can drive up costs for other kinds of care.

But new research suggests that the Affordable Care Act has helped young people with mental illnesses afford health care—especially young blacks and Latinos.

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