Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Durrie Bouscaren

Health and Science Reporter

Durrie Bouscaren covers healthcare and medical research throughout the St. Louis metro area. She comes most recently from Iowa Public Radio’s newsroom in Des Moines, where she reported on floods, a propane shortage, and small-town defense contractors. Since catching the radio bug in college, Bouscaren has freelanced and interned at NPR member stations WRVO, WAER and KQED. Her work has aired on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Harvest Public Media, a regional reporting collaborative. 

Ways to Connect

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

A panel of community organizers, anti-violence experts and Washington University professors are seeking solutions to reduce the number of shooting deaths by identifying gun violence as a public health crisis.

Gun violence hits the St. Louis region in a profound way. Here are just a few of the numbers: 

This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill.
Ameren Missouri

A set of proposed amendments to zoning restrictions in Franklin County may pave the way for Ameren to build the coal ash landfill they’ve been pushing for since 2009, despite environmental concerns from residents.  

Willow Rosen, (left) and Sarah Michelson are opening a midwifery clinic and feminist sex shop at 3350 Ohio Ave. in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Right now, the storefront just off of Cherokee Street is still a construction site. A pile of plaster has been recently chipped away to expose a historic brick wall. A family of squirrels lives in the air conditioning wall unit.  

But Sarah Michelson and Willow Rosen have big plans. The space will house a midwifery center, community space for parenting classes, and “Box,” a feminist sex toy shop.

Willis Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Brittany Packnett. Johnetta Elzie. Patricia Bynes. Pastor Traci Blackmon. Alexis Templeton. The list goes on.

The movement that began in Ferguson last summer has been led by dozens of women; local residents who became activists overnight, state legislators and community leaders who facilitated discussions and protests.

Researchers Laura Jean Bierut, MD (left), and Li-Shiun Chen, MD, examine X-rays of a patient with lung cancer.
Robert Boston|Washington University in St. Louis

Can’t stop smoking? Your genes might be part of the problem.

After a case review of 24 studies involving 29,000 participants, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis determined that smokers who carried a relatively common genetic marker tend quit smoking four years later on average than those without. The genetic variation was also linked to earlier diagnoses for lung cancer. 

Flickr | e-MagineArt.com

Missouri’s Medicaid program — MO HealthNet — failed to follow federal requirements for drug payments that could have saved the U.S. government millions, according to an audit released today. Now, a federal investigator is asking the state to refund about $35 million, the federal share of the total cost of those drugs.

Maria Altman|St. Louis Public Radio

The uncertainty of state and federal incentives for wind and solar power may have hampered some of Missouri's growth in the renewable energy industry in recent years, but companies are pressing on. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

BJC HealthCare took over operations of a 25-bed, psychiatric acute-care hospital near the West End neighborhood in St. Louis on Wednesday. BJC officials said the move was necessary because the psychiatric hospital was financially unstable.

Protesters are greeted by lines of state and county police during a demonstration march on the Ferguson police station on August 11, 2014.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The St. Louis office of the FBI says it is investigating two assaults that occurred last month as potential hate crimes. In both cases, assailants mentioned Ferguson during the attack.

Express Scripts Chief Medical Officer, Steve Miller, at company headquarters in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When two new drugs for hepatitis C hit the market, they were a game-changer.  

About 95 percent of hepatitis C patients can be cured with either Harvoni or Vikiera Pak, two drug regimens developed by two competing pharmaceutical companies. No longer did patients have to endure the severe side effects of older treatments, which were often taken as weekly injections.

St. Louis Health Department

The director of the St. Louis City Department of Health, Pam Walker, has announced her retirement after eight years in the position.

In that time, she has overseen health initiatives, a citywide, secondhand smoking ban, and major changes in St. Louis’ healthcare landscape — including the closure of Connect Care, a clinic that provided urgent care and specialty appointments to people without insurance.  

Jonathan Bailey | NIH

Every day, LaDonna Haley talks to patients who can’t find a psychiatrist or counselor who takes new clients in the St. Louis area. She estimates that 10 percent of those callers live in a rural county.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based Monsanto lined up its experts for a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, to challenge last week’s determination by a World Health Organization committee that the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer could be dangerous to people with frequent exposure. 

Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

A team of 17 cancer experts assembled by the World Health Organization has ruled the most commonly used herbicide a “probable carcinogen.”

Maryland Heights resident Dan Hyatt speaks before the Ferguson Commission about his experience dealing with the municipal court system in Breckenridge Hills.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Seventy-nine municipal courts give the small towns and cities of St. Louis County significant autonomy in judging minor infractions as such speeding tickets, tall weeds or zoning violations. The judges and prosecutors work part time — in smaller jurisdictions, just two or three times a month for a few hundred dollars per each municipal court session.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

Hospitals are pushing for Medicaid expansion in Missouri. Physicians say it’s crucial. And yet, lawmakers in favor of expansion have been unable to offer a proposal that the legislature’s Republican majority will accept. 

Apartments in the Renaissance Place neighborhood in North St. Louis, which includes subsidized and market-rate housing.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s no shortage of incentive programs to install energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in Missouri, but a new report shows that affordable, multi-family housing units are often left out of the mix.

According to the paper from the National Resources Defense Council, only 30 percent of households in those buildings within Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois' service areas are participating in energy efficiency programs. Energy costs can disproportionately impact low-income families, who spend nearly 14 percent of their annual income on utilities, according to the Missouri Department of Energy.

A police officer is silhouetted against Ferguson's police department and municipal court building, during nighttime protests on November 26, 2014.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated at 1:05 a.m. March 13 with comments from the protest.

The St. Louis region is struggling to make sense of the shooting of two police officers during a protest in Ferguson last night, and the violence has drawn widespread condemnation.

A model of the heart of a patient with complex congenital heart disease, created at St. Louis University.
Dr. Wilson King

The development of 3-D printers, which use computer designs to create solid objects, are revolutionizing the way engineers make prototypes, models and even some consumer goods. The practical applications for the health-care industry are huge — and they’re starting to happen in St. Louis.

A police officer is silhouetted against Ferguson's police department and municipal court building, during nighttime protests on November 26, 2014.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Update 03/13/15 at 10:30 a.m.

Ron Brockmeyer has resigned as city prosecutor in Florissant and Vinita Park. He had earlier resigned from the municipal judge post in Ferguson and as prosecutor in Dellwood. Florissant Mayor Thomas Schneider praised Brockmeyer's "efficient service," saying in a statement that "his unselfish resignation will enable our elected municipal judge, Dan Boyle, to continue the work he began after his election in April 2011 to streamline and improve Florissant’s judicial process to make it even more fair, effective and efficient."

S. Wray Clay of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, speaks during a presentation of the annual Kids Count report in East St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

“We need to do something different.”  

That was S. Wary Clay's message to parents during a presentation Thursday of the 2015 Kids Count report at the Lessie Bates Davis Family Development Center in East St. Louis.

St. Clair County, which includes East St. Louis, has a 30.3 percent childhood poverty rate, the second-highest for all counties in Illinois. Nearby Marion County's rate is 30.5 percent.

A U.S. military helicopter in Afghanistan arrives to assist a medical evacuation.
Octavian Adam | U.S. Navy

In October 2011, large transport planes flew three mobile MRI machines into two U.S. military bases in southern Afghanistan with a mission: find the source of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by studying the brains of soldiers in combat.

The machines were installed in military trailers, fortified from the dust and steep temperature swings of the desert outside. The delicate imaging equipment was insulated from outdoor vibrations, sound and electromagnetic rays.

Kathy Smith, Miriam Steinberg, and Max Rosen are 4th year students at Washington University's School of Medicine.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Like many states, Missouri is facing a doctor shortage.

The supply of doctors isn't keeping up, even as the population ages and more people have health insurance to pay for medical care. The American Association of Medical Colleges estimates that the country will have a void of about 90,000 physicians by 2020—half of them in primary care.

Developer Paul McKee outlined his plans for an urgent care hospital at 25th St. and Maiden Ln. in July of 2014.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

When Missouri regulators approved his proposal Monday, St. Louis developer Paul McKee got one step closer to realizing his $6.8-million dollar project to build an urgent care center in north St. Louis. It's a start but won't fully address the area's needs, health experts say.

A participant listens to the discussion during a focus group following the Ferguson Commission meeting.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Using a PowerPoint voting system, more than half the people attending the Ferguson Commission’s seventh meeting on Monday night said that no, they don’t think racial tensions in the St. Louis area will ever be fully eliminated.

A view of Saint Louis University Hospital, taken 02/23/15.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Citing the projected demand for primary care physicians in underserved areas, a California-based foundation is donating $6.6 million to Saint Louis University’s School of Medicine.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

The numbers are in: 253,969 people in Missouri signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov this year, or were automatically re-enrolled in their plan. That’s about 100,000 more than last year’s open enrollment period.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

Administrators for Missouri’s Medicaid program told members of their oversight committee that they are getting closer to fixing their processing delays for new applicants. But the wait can still take months.  

“We are now under 13,000 pending applications. I think we will get into that normal, historical range within the next week,” said Family Support Division Director Alyson Campbell at an oversight committee meeting of MO HealthNet, the social services division that administers Medicaid in Missouri.   

File photo of Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Measles have not yet reached the St. Louis area but, in an effort to thwart an outbreak, area clinics are reaching out to a group of parents whose children aren’t fully vaccinated. These children missed their vaccinations not for medical or religious reasons but because, quite simply, they may have forgotten.   

That’s now a relatively easy problem to address because of the widespread use of Electronic Health Records, or EHR’s.

Measles has not reached the St. Louis area this year, but that hasn’t kept it from stoking fears.  

Local public health officials are encouraging parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up-to-date by checking with their individual health providers. With worries that last month’s outbreak in Disneyland could continue to spread, officials in Illinois are investigating the source of five infants diagnosed with measles at a day care center outside Chicago.

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