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

 

Every morning at 10:00 a.m., congestive heart failure patient Marilyn Yeats of Naples conducts her own health checkup with the help of a computer.

Call it a virtual visit. She uses a home health guide to send her vitals to her nurse in Tampa Bay via the internet.

“This program is having your own private nurse,” says Yeats.

One Tough Little Girl

Aug 1, 2012
Luc Cohen

For Susan Holtzman, the really terrifying parts of Hurricane Andrew didn’t begin until the day after the storm.  Susan was nine months pregnant at Baptist Hospital in Kendall.  It was the day before she was due to give birth.

She compares what she saw to a movie:

A network of Florida facilities that supports people with disabilities will lose nearly $1.6 million this year – just as the social services provided by the network are needed most.

Last year, Florida legislators passed a bill privatizing the state’s Medicaid program, moving recipients into managed care plans – a model patterned on a pilot program that’s been running in five counties since 2006.

The statewide change still needs federal approval – and for one family already living in a pilot county, it’s a troubling prospect.

Sammy Mack

Fifty years ago, developers dreamed of turning a collection of isolated islands in the middle of Biscayne Bay into a resort destination. This year, the dream of Islandia quietly died.  The Miami-Dade County Commission stripped Islandia’s status as a city. In essence, they voted Islandia out of existence.

The city of Islandia is on Elliot Key. It was never populated by more than a hundred people.  Now the only people who live in Islandia are park rangers.

Patrick Meyers / Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Studies

Have you ever seen a green flash? It is said to happen as the sun dips below the horizon, creating an elusive green light that appears in the sky for a fleeting moment and then disappears. Many people believe the green flash is a myth, repeated for the benefit of tourists. Others swear by its existence. So is it real? If so, what causes it? Under the Sun reporter Sammy Mack – a skeptic when it comes to the green flash – headed to Key West to investigate this phenomenon.

No Simple Answer To Bullying In South Florida

Jun 9, 2011
Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It has been around for decades, but schools across South Florida are reporting that the frequency and severity of the incidents are getting worse. In the past year alone, a West Palm Beach student was attacked in math class and a Deerfield Beach middle school student slipped into a comma after being kicked in the head.

Growing Up With HIV

May 29, 2011
digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net

At age 21, Jeff has legs like broomsticks under his nylon basketball shorts and his cheeks are hollow. Sitting at a table outside the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with two friends of about the same age, he looks young and fragile.

Jeff doesn't like telling people what's wrong. He doesn't like what they say when they learn he was born HIV-positive.

"They say, 'Oh boy, you gonna die,' " says Jeff, who doesn't want his last name used. "They call it 'die-slow,' you got that 'die-slow.' "

Sammy Mack

Journalist Frank Deford spends every winter in Key West with his wife. They rent a house, take long walks and breathe in the island air. Under the Sun producer Sammy Mack listens to Deford marvel at the view from his front porch, a relic of a bygone era. He loves the lushness of the island, so green and beautiful. To him, Key West is soft and peaceful. But above all, it is a warm escape.

National Park Service

Inspired by the peerless film Sahara (starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz), listener Michael Laas wondered about the treasure hunting possibilities in Biscayne Bay.   He submitted his question to us.

There are forty known shipwrecks in Biscayne Bay and hundreds more in the Keys.   Under the Sun producer,  Sammy Mack,  found out more about what lies beneath these attractive, but dangerous waters.

Teens Buddy Up With Quake Survivors

Jan 11, 2011
James Celestin and Michel Philco

After January’s massive earthquake, thousands of Haitians fled to the United States. More than 2,500 of them were school-aged kids who were quickly placed in classrooms across South Florida.

The new students were suddenly immersed in a foreign language, culture, and school system.  It could have been a bewildering experience.  But at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, the Haitian students who lived in South Florida before the quake took the recent arrivals under their wings.

Docs In Haiti

Jul 12, 2010
Dr. Dave Pitcher

Hundreds of medical professionals rushed to Haiti after the quake, working in miserable conditions to save lives, practicing what some called “Civil War medicine.”  Many still return to lend a hand, among them scores of Haitian-American nurses, doctors, and social workers from South Florida.

After The Quake: Patients And Healers

Jul 12, 2010
Dr. Dave Pitcher

This piece reconstructs an inspiring moment amid tragedy and pain, at a makeshift hospital tent in Port-au-Prince. In it, four medical professionals from South Florida recount their experience landing in Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake, and struggling to meet a desperate need for medical help.

One describes the situation as “a war zone.” Another describes a feeling of worthlessness, given the scale of the catastrophe.

Under the Sun listeners were introduced to students James Celestin and Michel Philco from Boyd Anderson High in our “Teens Buddy up with Quake Survivors” story.

Hurricane, I Mean Earthquake

May 13, 2010

Have you heard anyone slip up and say “the hurricane in Haiti,” when they meant to say “the earthquake”?  Hurricanes and earthquakes are both disasters, but could these words become interchangeable?

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