(Photo: John Partipilo)

COVID toll rises in Tennessee’s DIDD community

BY: - September 13, 2021

As the COVID-19 delta strain continues to infect more Tennesseans, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities supported by state programs, and the staff members who care for them, have seen a notable uptick in infections since July as well. DIDD programs serve a total of about 12,500 people with disabilities. At least 1,692 tested positive […]

Bo Linam, right, with sign, and Mike Washington protest outside the patient entry to Planned Parenthood's Nashville Clinic. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Texas law sets stage for Tennessee’s next abortion battles

BY: - September 2, 2021

On the same day a Texas law went into affect banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, advocates on both sides of the abortion debate were preparing for impact in Tennessee. Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and Northern Mississippi is on standby and ready to offer financial and logistical assistance to Texas women who decide […]

Shelby County Commission

Shelby County approves $11 million to boost hospital staffing

BY: - August 24, 2021

On Monday, the Shelby County Commission approved $3.6 million in funds for Regional One Health Medical Center in order to increase the facility’s ability to provide emergency medical treatment. Regional One has closed 21 beds over the last year due to staffing shortages, said Reginald Coopwood, Regional One’s president and CEO.  Because the hospital lacks […]

A woman winces as she gets her COVID-19 vaccine during a pop-up clinic at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in South Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Vaccination rates of Tennessee youth among the lowest in the nation

BY: - August 18, 2021

In Sullivan County, where COVID cases have tripled in the past two weeks, the local health department’s medical director has started to see a slight but notable shift among the attitudes of parents whose children are old enough to get a vaccine. Public schools have been back in session for just over a week, and […]

Maya Gana, 13, was pleased to become vaccinated during a pop-up clinic at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee lawmakers want to know if kids in state custody are getting vaccines; DCS isn’t saying

BY: - August 11, 2021

As COVID infections rise among Tennessee children, two Democratic lawmakers say they have tried — and thus far failed — to learn how the state’s Department of Children’s Services is providing kids in their custody vaccinations. DCS bears the singular responsibility for the care and well-being of about 9,000 Tennessee kids at any given time, […]

Metro Public Healthy Molly Shine preps a vaccine while sisters Maya and Sara Gana wait at a Nashville mobile vaccine clinic in 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Vanderbilt to host virtual event about vaccine hesitancy

BY: - August 9, 2021

Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy will host a virtual event August 18 at noon to “offer evidence-based context and perspective to de-escalate current heated rhetoric and dispel commonly held misunderstandings about vaccine development and efficacy. Panelist for the event, Vaccine Hesitancy: the Politics of Public Health in […]

 COVID-19 Nurses at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in protective gear. (Photo: John Partipilo)

“This is real and this is happening”: Tennessee pediatricians urge masks, vaccines as kids’ COVID cases rise

BY: - August 5, 2021

The pediatricians at Niswonger Children’s Hospital had an urgent message for the community they serve in the northeastern-most corner of Tennessee, where 46 new COVID cases in one day this week — 22% of all positive tests — were among kids under the age of 18. “It hurts me to say that in the past […]

Shelby County Commission

Shelby County funds programs to tackle vaccine disparities and mistrust

BY: - August 5, 2021

Shelby County Commission buckled down on vaccine disparities and low vaccination rates by passing several resolutions to combat vaccine mistrust in at-risk zip codes. “Having that immunity is what is going to get us out, if we are to ever get out of the shadow of this virus,” said Commissioner Mick Wright, R-Memphis.“The way out […]

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 21: Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen announces that Purdue Pharma LP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin during a news conference at the Justice Department on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty Images)

Commentary: Tennessee plunges deeper into the opioid crisis 

BY: - August 3, 2021

Alarming statistics indicate a sharp uptick in opioid-related deaths in 2020. About 90,000 people across the country died from drug overdoses in 2020, up nearly 30% from 2019, when overdose deaths were the leading cause of death in Americans under 50. Tennessee is far above the national average, with overdose deaths jumping 45% in 2020. […]

Drama Bryant, 38, with her brother Jay, 32, on the front porch of their family's home in Greene County. She is his primary caretaker. (Photo: John Partipilo

Tennessee families struggle with state agencies to get home-based care for those with disabilities

BY: - July 29, 2021

MOHAWK, Tenn. — Drama Bryant’s entire life has revolved around caring for her little brother, Jay, who — at 32 years old — requires 24/7 assistance as a result of congenital conditions that leave him unable to eat, bathe, go the bathroom, speak or walk unassisted. Jay Bryant has Down syndrome and autism, suffers seizures, […]

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, center, and Sen. Kerry Roberts, right, chair the Joint Government Operations Committee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Griffey stance conflicts with Senate leadership

BY: - July 27, 2021

Rep. Bruce Griffey says he’s not “anti-vax,” yet he is one of a growing number of legislators leery of masks and vaccination campaigns and gaining a bigger voice in the General Assembly. In fact, the Paris Republican believes only a small group of people should take the shots, those over 60 with co-morbidities. That outlook […]

 COVID-19 Nurses at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in protective gear. (Photo: John Partipilo)

‘Going in the wrong direction’: positivity rates surge in 10 rural Tennessee counties

BY: - July 26, 2021

In 10 rural Tennessee counties, a key indicator of COVID-19 spread — the testing positivity rate — is surging to levels not seen since the spring. Positivity rates measure the number of positive tests among all those testing for COVID-19.  In June, Tennessee was seeing a positively rate, also known as “attack rate,” under 3% […]