Robert Joiner | St. Louis Public Radio

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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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri Education Commissioner Chris L. Nicastro raised questions Friday about the financial survival of the Normandy School District in the wake of the decision by more than a quarter of its students to transfer to schools in accredited districts.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon Data is as of Tuesday, 7/30/13

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mehlville School District is so far the first choice of more than 600 students seeking to transfer from the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The person who answered the phones for the Riverview Gardens School District was quite busy Wednesday morning. Phone calls are so plentiful that she cannot answer them all. Most of the calls apparently came from residents wanting confirmation that students could apply to Kirkwood School District this fall.

Herman Smith, Bryant Kirby and Robert Redmond hold a sack of produce for distribution to coop members.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon:Yvette Batey was among those who showed up Saturday to shop at a new food co-op organized by Central Baptist Church in midtown St. Louis.  She left with a generous supply of  fruits and vegetables, including plutos and peaches, corn and cauliflower, and sounded delighted that her bill for two weeks’ worth of produce came to only $23.50.

“I live about 10 blocks from here and I had to take a bus,” says Batey, “but it is very convenient to have access to so many fruits and vegetables so close to my home.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon The topic of race was everywhere and nowhere in the room recently when Francis Howell School District officials hosted a town hall meeting about plans to accommodate students wishing to transfer from the failing Normandy School District.

Wikipedia

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A major effort to slow the arms race among superpowers occurred in 1963 when the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain signed a Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The key players were Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, and British Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home. France and China were urged to back the accord, but both refused.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Michael McMillan has spent a good part of his career in politics and government, but he is no stranger to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. His goal -- to make community service his life mission -- was fulfilled this week when the local league’s board of director selected him as the group’s next chief executive, replacing James Buford, who is retiring after running the agency for 28 years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Jason Purnell was a fourth grader, his mother gave him a book on Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. From that moment on, Purnell quips that he had hoped to become the second black Supreme Court justice, “but Clarence Thomas beat me to it.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sandra Garrett knew something had gone wrong inside her body a decade ago when her left hand became limp, falling from her chin and sliding down her chest. She later found a lump on her left breast and “had no idea how long it had been there.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but finding money for prevention can be elusive when it comes to health care. Case in point is what is happening with the federal health reform law. Unprecedented spending to prevent illness and improve public health is one key promise of the Affordable Care Act.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It isn’t often that a developing nation outstrips the United States in vaccination rates for a potentially deadly but preventable medical condition. But that’s happening in the case of vaccinations against certain types of HPV or human papillomavirus infections, which can cause cervical cancer. The data show that while the United States is making major progress against this disease, it still has a long way to go to match vaccination rates in many other countries.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: David Glaser wasn’t in St. Louis three decades ago during the height of public opposition to the region’s first interdistrict school desegregation program. He’s learning about some of the old outcry as emotions rise in St. Charles County where the Francis Howell District is preparing to take students wishing to transfer there from Normandy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When an obese patient walks into a doctor's office, the physician isn't likely to talk about weight unless it's the reason for the visit. That attitude might change now that the American Medical Association has classified obesity as a disease. Among other things, this means doctors are more likely to engage patients in a discussions about their weight, while insurers will be more likely to cover weight-loss treatment.

Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There was a time, more than two centuries ago, when the term “British invasion” would have instilled fear or outrage rather than hope. You know the story.

Fifty years ago, however, that term was more welcoming to American ears -- younger ears, anyway. It signaled the coming of a fresh song, its lyrics upbeat and memorable, by a rock group called the Beatles. They would set a new solid-gold standard for popular music, beginning with the release of their first studio album, "Please Please Me” in 1963.

Some health providers, administrators and volunteers got a glimpse Thursday at how they and others could help the working poor reap the benefits of medical care through an insurance exchange system that will open for business in the fall.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Pemiscot Memorial Hospital, in Hayti, Mo., is on the equivalent of life support, unsure how long it will survive without an infusion of more federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Medical researchers in St. Louis believe the U.S. Supreme Court has strengthened the area’s biotechnology industry in its ruling Thursday that companies can patent synthetically produced genetic material but not isolated human genes.

While local scientists say the ruling could bolster the growth of  biotechnology research and make certain testing more accessible and less costly, one national biotech industry group argued that the ruling could stifle innovation.

Missouri Couny-Level Report, 2011 Comparative risk factors and chronic diseases and conditions
Report

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Eduardo Crespi says he puts in long hours promoting healthy habits among blacks and Latinos in the Columbia and Joplin regions of Missouri. Poli Rijos does the same in the St. Louis area. But the two and others like them still have plenty of work to do, judging from findings in two statewide reports from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In an era of increasingly high-tech medical care, some potentially deadly health problems turn out to respond best to low-tech remedies.

Case in point is the ongoing federal effort to encourage hospitals and other providers to protect patients from potentially deadly infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis and St. Louis County started a promising pilot program last year to extend medical care to more of their working poor. Called Gateway to Better Health, the program offered the uninsured the chance to trade costly emergency room health care for a better-coordinated system that links people to medical providers at health centers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A minister and a civil rights group are credited with pulling together what’s being described as the first city-county effort to focus on addressing crime, building trust and reducing conflict among young people, and improving the quality of life in underserved communities.

Shermane Winters-Wofford
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Turkey, ham, and veggie sandwiches on whole wheat bread from Subway, along with bananas, apples and oranges, probably are not part of a typical meal after worship service at Central Baptist Church in midtown.

Following Sunday’s service, however, many from the congregation gathered in the church’s annex across the street and munched on the nutritious sandwiches and fruit. They later listened to an expert talk about the value of healthy eating and exercise in order to prevent stroke.

Wikipedia

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The 2600 block of Washington Boulevard is still remembered as the spot marking the beginning of what would become the largest civil disobedience demonstration for economic equality in St. Louis. Launched on Aug. 30, 1963, the protest involved about 150 blacks and whites who gathered outside of what was then the headquarters of the Jefferson Bank & Trust Co. The goal was to prod the bank to hire blacks for white-collar jobs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released hospital data on average Medicare charges and payments for the 100 most common procedures and treatments. The data show wide variation in hospital billing across the nation, Missouri and the St. Louis area.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Writer Alice Randall triggered a lot of discussion last summer when she argued in a New York Times column that “many black women are fat because we want to be.”

Some black women prefer bulk over thinness, according to Gary G. Bennett, a psychologist who heads the Duke University Obesity Prevention Program. In a speech today at noon at Washington University, he argues that it might make more sense to make obesity the new normal for some black women rather than preaching weight loss to them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Edward Spann first heard about the Men on Deck tour, he had no idea it would mean beginning his day at a jail and ending it with an undertaker. These were among the extreme destinations that he and other young men journeyed to discuss the consequences of making good or bad choices in life.

In addition to visiting a funeral home and a jail last Thursday, the men visited the Better Family Life Cultural Center, People’s Health Centers, St. Louis Community College, the New Life Evangelistic Center, and the Father’s Support Center.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: About 525,000 Missouri residents will be eligible for premium tax credits to help them buy affordable health insurance, starting this fall, according to a study by Families USA. The number offers one answer to what happens if Missouri refuses to expand Medicaid. Some of those left without health coverage could conceivably get help under the exchange program.

Estimates in Families USA’s study are limited to individuals earning between 138 percent and 400 percent of poverty. But insurance exchange benefits can extend to individuals earning down to 100 percent of poverty.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Scheronda Gregory grew up in a household where her mother disdained exercise and prepared meals with “a lot of butter, a lot of salt, things that we know we are not supposed to have.”

On Sunday, during the second session of a health and wellness program called Fit City, Gregory talked about the difficulties of having a conversation about health and physical fitness with a mother who, at age 66, weighs more than 300 pounds and needs 14 pills and two insulin injections to get through the day.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Tracey Mack used to cringe at the sight of an older photo of himself  as an overweight man. That image -- and a fear of becoming obese -- prompted him to get serious about physical fitness.

JeWania Grandberry reached a similar conclusion about the value of regular exercise because being overweight meant enduring times when “everything hurts.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri hospitals are expected to avoid about $27 million in cuts in federal reimbursements.

The Obama administration's next budget eliminates about $500 million nationally in what’s known as disproportionate share payments, or DSH, to hospitals under Medicaid. These payments are made to certain urban and rural hospitals that treat large percentages of poor patients lacking health insurance. Ozark Medical Center in West Plains, Mo., was among rural hospitals concerned about the cuts. It was set to lose more than $600,000 in DSH payments, starting in the next federal fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1.

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