Health News Florida

Since 2006, Health News Florida has provided in-depth journalism on health policy issues in our state.

Health News Florida is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at http://health.wusf.usf.edu

USF Health Communications

Less than two months after USF Health opened the doors on its Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), one of its creators is leaving to become Florida's Surgeon General. 

CAMLS chief medical officer Dr. John Armstrong has also been named Secretary of the Florida Department of Health. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia

More than two dozen cases of whooping cough have cropped up in Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County Health officials say an entire family came down with pertussis also known as whooping cough and individuals who came into contact with that family helped to spread it around.

USF Health

A day after Governor Scott signed a state budget that approved $6.9 million in funding for USF's new Health Heart Institute, the Hillsborough County Commission gave the okay to another $2 million.

Eric Younghans / USF Health

An antidepressant drug that some USF officials hoped would be the university's version (at least from a royalty standpoint) of the University of Florida's Gatorade isn't having that kind of success.

According to an article by Robert Trigaux in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times, the drug, known as "TC-5214" has produced disappointing results in clinical trials:

WUSF Public Media

It's been formally open less than a month, but the USF Health Center of Advanced Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) has already been named by the American College of Cardiology as its first Center of Excellence in Education and Training.

Starting today, you can join a friendly competition, get healthy, and be part of an effort to walk 238,857 miles--the distance of Earth to the moon.

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.

The Twitterverse was really rocking with discussion of what's been happening in the U.S. Supreme Court today.  It was the final day of oral arguments over the centerpiece policy of the Obama Administration, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

The Hillsborough Sheriff's Department is recruiting 200 women into its force. Right now, only 19%  of field positions are filled by women.

This campaign to attract more women officers comes as more women are graduating with criminology degrees.

Detective Andrea Davis said women are vital to the force. They're especially valuable in cases involving violence against women and in certain undercover situations.

She said for some women, the idea of becoming an officer doesn't cross their minds.

TAMPA - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is back in the news - this time, he's been sued for jailing minors near adults.

That's according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group argues that putting minors as young as 8 in the same building with adults is a violation of their rights. Members declined to say why any of the minors had been arrested.

Lisa and Kevin Jobe say their 15-year-old son was mistreated at the jail. The couple spoke earlier today on the steps of the Tampa Federal courthouse.

USF Corrals Smokers on Tampa Campus

Mar 21, 2012

TAMPA - The University of South Florida's Tampa campus has become one of the biggest places in the state to ban smoking outdoors. Today was the first day where smokers had to drag their butts to a handful of designated areas around campus.

"Actually, somebody told me I needed to go to the smoking area," says Maura Barrios. "They threw me off my usual bench over there."

TSA Tries to Relax Rules for Adults 75+

Mar 15, 2012
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

The Transportation Security Administration  is moving away from a "one size fits all approach" for airport screenings-- adults 75 and older are getting a break and being allowed to keep their shoes and light jackets on. They can largely avoid pat downs too at the Orlando International Airport. 

 It's like the procedure now used for children 12 and younger.

It's all a test program TSA has launched in four airports across the country including Chicago's O'Hare International, Denver International, Orlando International, and Portland International Airport.

USF Tampa Has New Smoking Policy

Mar 13, 2012

Starting March 20, USF will have 25 designated smoking areas on campus. The idea is to help reduce the risks of secondhand smoke, promote overall wellness, and keep the campus clean.

The new smoking policy applies to USF buildings, grounds, and parking lots and includes the smoking of cigars, cigarettes, and hookah pipes. The USF website also provides resources for those who want to quit smoking.

courtesy USF Health

“It's the best of healthcare from a futuristic, entrepreneurial and academic point of view.”

That’s how USF Health CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko describes an agreement between his organization and Florida Hospital—an arrangement that puts university medical research into practice in Florida Hospital locations around the Bay area.

The partnership, which was formally announced Monday, will see Florida Hospital invest about 14 million dollars to expand four specialty areas in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

A "Magic Kingdom of Medicine" will soon open in Florida--but it's in downtown Tampa, not Orlando.

USF Health is preparing for the formal opening of its new high-tech Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) at the end of the month. 

This week's University Beat on WUSF Public Media takes you inside the new center. 

Courtesy of Quantum Leap Farm

I've seen first hand the horse power of animal healing.  Years ago, I had to opportunity to volunteer at Quantum Leap Farm, in Odessa, Florida.  I only spent a couple of days working there, but even a few hours showed me that this was no fluke.

Volunteering there was a family affair that started with my sister, then me, and eventually my husband, Frank Wantuck.  He forged friendships with the people who worked there and those who were served there and of course, the animals, like Sonic the horse. 

Some time ago, I produced this Florida Story featuring Frank and the founder of Quantum Leap, Edie Dopking.  I knew it was a good one, because even while recording it, I was overwhelmed with the beauty and power of the story.

All of this came to mind when I heard Julie Rovner's feature on NPR about animal therapy.

Ryan Haczynski was 22, a college drop-out who worked at an auto parts store and smoked. No girlfriend, no future. He was depressed, and he had the body to show for it.

While doing laundry at his mom’s house one day, the 6-foot-1 Haczynski stepped on her bathroom scale.

257.

“That was my rock bottom,” Haczynski says. “I actually had to lean forward to look past my stomach to see what the number was on the scale. I just snapped.”

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