|New "Voices" series on North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC focuses on health care|
|Thursday, September 27, 2007|
North Carolina is not healthy. The state is ranked 36th in the nation in terms of citizens’ health – and its ranking relative to other states has declined over time.
A new in-depth radio news series, “North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care,” will explore the connections between health and health care in the state when it airs on North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC (91.5 FM) Oct. 4-16. The series, broadcast during “Morning Edition,” the midday talk program “The State of Things” and “The Story” with Dick Gordon, will examine what factors make a state – or an individual – healthy and why North Carolina ranks so low. The series will also explore whether and how the health care system and access to health insurance contributes to overall health and what changes could make the state healthier.
Here are some statistics about North Carolina that prompted the series’ focus on health: One in four residents is obese, up from 13 percent in 1990, making obesity not just a personal health concern, but also a public health epidemic. Diabetes is on the rise, particularly in rural areas of the state. The disparities in lifespan by race and gender are troubling: A white girl born in North Carolina can expect to live until she is nearly 80 years old, but a black boy, statistically, will only make it to 68 – and he is likely to be sick for 15 years of his life. More than 16 percent of North Carolinians have no health insurance, and those who do not have insurance tend to be sicker than those who do. In addition to the physical and emotional toll, unhealthy lifestyles are costing North Carolinians an estimated $24 billion a year.
A second public forum, “Improving Rural Health,” will air on “The State of Things” Oct. 10 from noon to 1 p.m. This forum was recorded before a live audience at East Carolina University Sept. 19.
“These issues are particularly timely and provocative in the midst of the presidential campaign, when the debate about health care reform seems to be gaining traction again,” said Emily Hanford, senior editor and producer. “This series will add insight to that dialogue. We hope it will provoke listeners to think about the debate around health care reform in new, engaging and perhaps surprising ways. At the heart of the ‘Diagnosing Health Care’ series are questions about how the current health care system promotes good health and what reforms could actually improve health in this country.”
Support for “North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care” comes from Dominion, Duke University Health System, GlaxoSmithKline, the North Carolina Humanities Council, the North Carolina Medical Society Foundation, the Julian Price Family Foundation, the John Rex Endowment and the “Healthy Weight Initiative,” and UNC Health Care. Support also comes from the listeners of North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC.
“North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care” extends an approach piloted by North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC to transcend daily news coverage by taking an in-depth look at large-scale, complex issues that deeply touch the lives of North Carolinians. The “North Carolina Voices” series has put a face and voice on issues such as poverty, war, unemployment and education. Through the station’s dedicated documentary unit, North Carolina Public Radio devotes significant resources to call attention to these issues. Each series has won national and regional awards for excellence in broadcasting. The 2005 series, “Understanding Poverty,” received the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award – the broadcast equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize – and many segments have aired on public radio stations around the country.
North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC is a service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, broadcasting at 91.5 FM in the Triangle and Triad, at 90.9 FM in Rocky Mount/Wilson, and at 88.9 FM on the Outer Banks.