health | Connecticut Public Radio


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There is a very special reason why you’re hearing a rebroadcast of this show: This episode of Audacious just won a Gracie Award!

When you have Cystic Fibrosis - a genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections - a lung transplant can be a life-saving surgery. But what if you’re not sure you want it? And if you do get it, what new challenges will they present to your newly-extended life? 

Pereru, Wikipedia

What happens when you do a DNA test from a company like or 23andme, and you get some life-shattering information, like your sibling is really your half-sibling, or that you may have a life-altering medical condition, or that you thought you were half Black, but the test says you’re barely Black at all.

Before you spit in that tube, hear from people who’ve been stunned and spun around by DNA tests.

Magicpiano / Creative Commons

The state Senate has passed a bill declaring racism a public health crisis in Connecticut. However, not every community in the state agrees. The town of Old Lyme just rejected a resolution to do the same.

Mark Buckawicki / Wikimedia Commons

Using our private bathrooms while working from home opened our eyes to how uncomfortable it can be to use public bathrooms at the office - especially when you have a digestive issue.

Also this hour: "Familect" are the invented nicknames, references, and jokes shared by people who live together. For example, my husband calls me "diller," because I remind him of the hard-headed armadillo that kept crashing into our tent on our honeymoon. 

Lastly, the semiotics of unmasking. 

FEMA launched a mobile vaccine unit at the Beardsley Zoo in March 2021 to bring more COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable communities. Health care workers administer vaccines.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

More than 7 in 10 adults over the age of 18 in Connecticut have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. And on Monday, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for children age 12-15 under its Emergency Use Authorization. This will expand the pool of residents eligible to be vaccinated to an even younger cohort--starting later this week.

But as more workers come back to in-person offices, can employers mandate the vaccine for workers? This hour, we talk to an employment law expert.

First, we hear from Connecticut's Acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford about the state's vaccine program and more. What questions do you have?

Steve Jurvetson / Creative Commons

Alex Trebek’s imprint as the host of "Jeopardy" looms large over the show, making it hard for anyone else to live up to the impeccable standard he demanded during his 37 seasons as the show's iconic host. But more than a dozen guest hosts have tried, from big winner Ken Jennings to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Who will the next host be and what will the next iteration look like?

Tanya Miller

Cities around New England have declared racism a public health crisis. Scholar-activist Katharine “Kat” Morris is especially interested in the intersection between racism, health and environmental justice -- something she talked about in her 2019 TEDxUConn talk. Morris noted that a fifth of Connecticut’s pollution is concentrated in five cities where the majority of the state’s people of color reside: Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Stamford and Waterbury.


This hour, we speak with Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo on his public option proposal to give more people the chance to join a health insurance program overseen by the state.

The Connecticut Partnership Plan is already offered to municipal workers and school employees. 

But how would he pay for it?

And how would he avoid frightening away insurance companies that are big employers in the state?


Apr 30, 2021
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When I say BLINK! What do you think? 

Of that American POW who blinked the word “TORTURE” in Morse code live on Vietnamese television? 

Or do you think of someone with locked-in syndrome who can only communicate by blinking? 

Werner Schutz / Creative Commons

We're so caught up in fetishizing (mostly) female breasts in film, literature, art, and in the anatomy-defying breasts of comic book heroines, that we overlook the breast as a vital source of food and and as a body part vulnerable to cancer, including young women under forty. How often should we get that mammogram? To breastfeed - or not?

Lastly, how come men can go topless in America but women can't?

Senate Votes To Repeal Connecticut's Religious Exemption To Mandatory Vaccinations

Apr 27, 2021
Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

A measure repealing Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory school vaccinations is headed for Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk, after the Senate gave final passage to the bill in an evening vote Tuesday over the objections of several Republicans and thousands of protesters who gathered outside the state Capitol.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

As Connecticut legislators debated a proposal Tuesday to remove the religious exemption to mandatory vaccination for school-aged children, a large crowd of people opposed to the bill gathered outside the state Capitol in Hartford in protest. 

Patrick Fore - Unsplash / Illustration by Chion Wolf

Mason Masteka/flickr creative commons

If you feel like you might have tipped the scale a bit during this pandemic, you’re not alone. A recent study by the American Psychological Association says more than 61% of U.S. adults reported an undesired weight change in the pandemic.

According to the CDC, 42% of adults in the United States are obese and that number is still climbing. 

Chris Rakoczy / Hartford Hospital

Cliff O’Connell’s future was once pretty murky. By 2019, he’d had kidney disease for 14 years.

Dr. Khuram Ghumman asks patient Tully Zorick, 5, to hop on one foot during a checkup at East Granby Family Practice, LLC where he is in private practice. Dr. Ghumman takes care of the entire Zorick family.
Cloe Poisson

Every day, Dr. Leslie Miller of Fairfield thinks about selling her practice to a hospital health system.

“Everybody who is in this environment thinks every day of throwing in the towel and joining a hospital,” said Miller, a sole practitioner in primary care for 20 years. “The business side is the problem,” she said, referring to expensive and time-consuming requirements of medical insurance and government regulations.

RN Jenni Eckstrom draws 0.5 ml of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as the City of Hartford’s Department of Health and Human Services hosted a vaccine clinic for Hartford residents 75 and over at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford on February 06, 2021
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Connecticut has been among the states leading the pack nationally on vaccinating its residents overall, but deep disparities remain. This hour, we get the latest from Connecticut Public Radio reporters about what’s driving the state’s racial inequities in vaccination rates.

10% of Americans are living with diabetes. Are you one of them? Managing a chronic illness can already be difficult, but managing it during a pandemic can be nearly impossible.

Protesters waved flags and carried signs outside the state Capitol in January in opposition to the state’s COVID restrictions and in protest of a proposal to eliminate the state’s religious exemption from mandatory childhood vaccinations.
Stephen Busemeyer /

Legislation that would remove Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory school vaccinations is now headed to the House and Senate, after the Public Health Committee approved two identical bills Wednesday, saying it wanted to give the proposal the best chance of succeeding by sending it to both chambers at once.

Guy Walker Wolf III died on February 13th, 2021. He was 77 years old.

There are many ways to describe Guy, but I’d say we who knew him would all agree that he could be described as the captain of his own ship. And he was my stepfather. I’ve known him since I was 11.

Throughout the process of his death at home, I was compelled by the people who were a part of guiding us through it.

So today, I’m gonna introduce you to the people who helped Guy die, and who helped us celebrate him. From the hospice workers who came to the house, to the funeral home director, to the cantor who sang at his mass.

You’ll meet his wife, my mom, and hear about how she made the choices she did, and how it feels to be a new widow. And at the end of the show, you’ll hear a little something from Guy.

Ahjané Forbes / Connecticut Public

With the state recently opening up its COVID-19 vaccine program to Connecticut residents who are 45 to 54 years old, more people are now in the queue to get shots.

But some people are finding they don’t have to get in line.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

Imagine feeling like you have glass shards running through your blood, and imagine your doctors don’t believe how much pain you’re in.

Then, imagine you’re in a different body, incapable of feeling any pain at all.

Then, in body number three, you inflict pain on yourself so you can rate it. For science.

HARTFORD, CT - December 14, 2020: Hartford Healthcare workers receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine following a press conference at Hartford Hospital announcing the vaccine’s arrival in Connecticut earlier that morning.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

What will you do once you’re vaccinated? The CDC says people who’ve been vaccinated can gather together.  And grandparents who got the shots can visit with grandchildren.

Connecticut residents may soon be able to return to some type of “normal” now that Gov Lamont has just announced all residents over 16 are eligible for the vaccine starting April 5th, 2021.

We want to hear from you. How will these latest guidelines affect your interactions with relatives/friends?

  An unprecedented year; how many times have you heard that one? Did you anticipate that masks would become a staple part of our wardrobe?

Last Saturday marked the anniversary of the Connecticut pandemic lockdown. This hour, Yale Health epidemiologist Dr. Albert Ko joins us to reflect on one year in the coronavirus pandemic. 

We want to hear from you. What has this last year been like for you and your family? 


Connecticut AFL-CIO (Screengrab)

Essential workers infected by the coronavirus want Connecticut’s workers’ compensation system updated to meet their needs.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Federal data this week showed Connecticut lagging the national average on fully completed COVID-19 vaccinations. But federal and state officials now say those numbers were reported in error. 

The first people are brought in as the City of Hartford’s Department of Health and Human Services hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Hartford residents 75 and over at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut on February 06, 2021.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The pandemic has put public health in the spotlight across the world. But in the United States local public health departments have been chronically underfunded, and Connecticut is no exception.

This hour, we hear from a local health director about the challenges public health departments in Connecticut are facing, even as the state celebrates high vaccination rates compared with other states.

And, we look beyond the pandemic: what should the public health workforce of the future look like?

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

When Gov. Ned Lamont announced he was switching to an age-based vaccine rollout plan going forward, he made a carve-out for teachers and child care workers to jump to the head of the line. They’ll be eligible to sign up for an appointment on March 1 along with folks over the age of 55.

The state’s chief medical examiner said Wednesday his office identified more than 100 deaths that should have been reported as COVID-19-related, including dozens originally certified as non-COVID fatalities.