Robert Joiner

Health Reporter

Robert Joiner has carved a niche in providing informed reporting about a range of medical issues.  He won a Dennis A. Hunt Journalism Award for the Beacon’s "Worlds Apart" series on health-care disparities. His journalism experience includes working at the St. Louis American and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he was a beat reporter, wire editor, editorial writer, columnist, and member of the Washington bureau.

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Public Health
10:45 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Health Departments Still Mastering The Art Of Tweeting

Health departments aren't making the best use of Twitter.
Credit (Twitter)

Public health departments are trying to reach their audiences through social media, but most have yet to learn how to "tweet" beyond the choir.

That’s the basic finding of a study out of Washington University in St. Louis that looked at how effectively local health agencies reach audiences through Twitter. Based on the study’s findings, health department tweets are more likely to connect with other health experts, educators and non-profit groups rather than ordinary consumers in need of reliable health information.

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Asthma study
10:56 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

A New Hypothesis For Asthma in Blacks: Are Medications Part Of The Problem?

Dr. Leonard Bacharier, a Washington University pediatrician and asthma expert, consults with a patient at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Credit (Credit: St. Louis Children's Hospital)

Medical researchers have been trying for years to figure out why asthma is much more prevalent among African Americans than whites.  The easy answers include numerous environmental factors, such as allergens associated with pollution, cockroaches, dust mites and mold. These can be found in any household, but are thought to be more common in substandard dwellings in poor neighborhoods where asthma is more widespread.

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Rural medicine
10:13 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Building A Pipeline Of Doctors To Help The Shortage In Missouri's Rural Communities

The University of Missouri system is working to fill the shortage of rural doctors with a pipeline students who come from rural areas.
Credit (Credit: University of Missouri Health System)

Part three of three

For someone who was clueless about what he wanted to do after finishing high school, Luke Stephens has done quite well in life. 

He’s now Dr. Luke Stephens, with a degree in cell and molecular biology from Missouri State University in 2004, and a medical degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

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Challenges to rural health care
11:24 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

The Doctor Shortage In Rural Missouri: Are Advanced Practice Nurses A Solution?

Missouri has about 5,000 nurse practitioners, but laws restrict how much medicine they can practice. Some say loosening the laws would help ease the shortage of doctors in rural Missouri.
Credit (Credit: Flickr/Free Grunge Texutres

Part two of a three-part series.

Lisa Schofield regards her business as an example of the future of health care in rural Missouri.

She owns the Theodosia Family Medical Clinic in south central Missouri, a region with a big demand for medical care and too few doctors to meet it. Theodosia is situated in Ozark County near the Arkansas border. The clinic serves about 900 patients, all of whom are treated by a nurse practitioner, or an N.P.

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Medical Care Shortage.
11:56 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Is There A Doctor — Or Nurse Practitioner — In The House? Not In Rural Missouri

Missouri's shortage of doctors in rural areas causes physical and financial hardship for thousands of people.
Credit (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Steve Morgan)

Part one of a three part series:

He woke up in the middle of the night late last year, one hand swollen and the rest of his body was shaking all over.

John Redford realized the symptoms were the consequences of several bites and scratches the day before from his struggle to put the family's 40-pound cat into a cage. He managed to calm himself enough that night and drive an old Mustang 50 miles to a hospital emergency room  in Jefferson City. There doctors began weeks of  treatment  and ultimately saved Redford from losing a finger.

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civil rights act
2:55 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Gathering Of Aging Activists Recalls A Protest And A Federal Law That Changed St. Louis

Frankie Muse Freeman
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio intern

St. Louis attorney Frankie Muse Freeman helped to set the tone Wednesday when she summed up what it meant to be a young civil rights activist during the '60s.

“We were all branded troublemakers,” she said, “and I’m proud of that.”

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for sake of all
4:04 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Public Comment Encouraged On 'For The Sake Of All' Research

For the Sake of All researchers explored how the health of African Americans is affected by a variety of social, economic and geographical factors.
Credit Nanette Hegamin

Scholars involved in a five-part study that examines the well-being of African Americans in the St. Louis region will seek public feedback on their research during a forum on March 3 at the Forest Park Visitor Center. The session, from 2 to 5 p.m., is free, but participants must sign up through the event registration page.

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Heroin Epidemic
12:45 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Actor's Apparent Heroin Overdose Points To Widespread Trend

The number of deaths in Missouri from heroin overdose has risen exponentially in the past four years.
(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

Experts who study drug trends say the presumed fatal heroin overdose of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman shines the spotlight anew on the need for society to come to grips with widespread heroin abuse across the nation and in St. Louis.

Among those who have studied the issue is Theodore “Ted” Cicero, a  professor in neuropharmacology in psychiatry at Washington University Medical School. He has tracked patient trends in 150 drug treatment facilities nationwide for more than seven years.

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Healthcare and Medicaid
3:59 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Sebelius Puts A Price And Face On Health Insurance Coverage In Missouri

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius holds a press conference with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in north St. Louis. Law student Nathaniel Carroll spoke about the benefit of having health insurance.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to put a price tag and a face on the government’s health reform push in Missouri when she visited the Grace Hill Water Tower Health Center on Friday. 

The price tag: $5 million a day. That’s how much she says Missouri is losing by refusing to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

The face: a local resident who praised the law for the help it is providing his family while he attends law school.

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sickle cell anemia
1:05 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

SLU Tests New Treatment For Easing Pain Of Sickle Cell Anemia

The Jones family (from left) Delores, Diamond, Davon, and Dayvin.
Credit Robert Joiner

With her oversize black frame glasses, 9-year-old Diamond Jones projects an image of being a kid who is thoughtful, inclined to study, and who loves reading and attending school. All that is true. In fact, she’s so adamant about going to school that she has been known to pout occasionally on days when her parents keep her home for health reasons. 

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