Rebecca Smith

Health Reporter, KBIA

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk and Side Effects Public Media. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Aside from her work, she is partial to long runs, good books and nerdy television shows.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

As the outreach counselor for Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri. Dana Harris’s job is connecting students with services when they have mental and emotional troubles such as ADHD, anxiety or depression.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When Joe Morris had a heart attack last Easter and had to be rushed to the ER, it was the first time he’d been to the doctor in more than 40 years — since high school.

Back home in the small community of Neosho, Mo., Morris needed follow-up care to manage his heart disease and diabetes, but he didn’t have a doctor — or insurance.


frankieleon / Flickr

Caroline Brown, a sophomore at the University of Missouri got a fever over Thanksgiving break. Soon it became painful to bite down, and her cheek began to swell. A trip to her physician confirmed it – Caroline had the mumps.

“Mumps kind of sounds like this archaic thing,” Brown said. “We get vaccinated for it - it just sounds like something that nobody gets.  So I just didn’t think that it was possible that I would get it.”


Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects

As of the September 30, a relatively unknown herbal supplement called kratom will likely join the ranks of Schedule 1 drugs in the U.S. - alongside drugs like heroin, LSD and marijuana.

This supplement has been traditionally used in Southeast Asia, but has recently gained popularity in the United States as a way to manage opioid withdrawal or chronic pain without the use of prescription medications.

Researchers and people using the herb decry the DEA’s move to criminalize it, which they say will stall research and deprive many Americans of a presumably harmless substitute to stronger prescription painkillers.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects

29-year-old Zach Heath was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer on Christmas Eve last year. His response was to bury himself in his basement with a PlayStation 4 and Call of Duty. 

“[I] just shot people in video games for about eight hours, and that was how I kind of released my frustration,” he says.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Laldin Liana, a recently-arrived refugee, sits in his doctor’s office in Columbia, Missouri, talking about his life – his favorite Jason Statham movies, life in Myanmar and his three children. He’s speaking with two nursing students from the University of Missouri, who are here to help him navigate his appointment.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

With just a little over a month left in the third open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, some people may need a little additional help getting insurance through the ACA.

Health insurance can be a confusing topic, with its array of terminology and choices to puzzle through, from premiums and co-pays, to deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

A national survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that more than 70 percent of people surveyed after the last open enrollment period said they wanted one-on-one assistance enrolling in insurance coverage.

And people can find the help they seek in an unexpected place: their public library. While libraries are better known for books, story time and due dates – since the launch of the ACA, many libraries across the United States have embraced a new role as a go-to community resource for information on health insurance.


In rural communities, finding transportation to basic health care services can be difficult. So what if instead of making people come to health care – the health care came to them?

Well, the Mobile Mammography Van through Ellis Fischel Cancer Center is working to do just that - bringing preventative mammogram screenings to rural communities.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Teens may not be the first demographic to come to mind when thinking about solving the problem of domestic and sexual violence, but for Becky Vermeire, who runs a domestic violence agency in rural Missouri, they are key.

“The way that we are going to prevent [domestic violence] is working with our kids,” Vermeire said. “If we are really going to make a dent in what we are doing for the future, it’s that prevention piece.”


Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Medical abortion services at the Columbia, Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic are under threat, due, in part, to political pressure from the Missouri legislature. This clinic is one of only two places in the state where a woman can get an abortion, but following an announcement made by the University of Missouri Health Care system last Thursday, they may not be available for much longer.

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