Carter Barrett

Reporter, Side Effects Public Media

Carter is a reporter based at WFYI in Indianapolis, Indiana. A long-time Hoosier, she is thrilled to stay in her hometown to cover public health. Previously, she covered education for WFYI News with a focus on school safety. Carter graduated with a journalism degree from Indiana University, and previously interned with stations in Bloomington, Indiana and Juneau, Alaska.

Ways to Connect

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@nci?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">National Cancer Institute</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/telehealth?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&am

As soon as COVID-19 hit, there was a massive jump in telemedicine visits. A Centers for Disease Control study found that in March 2020 there was a 154% increase compared to the previous year.

Now it’s clear the coronavirus has dramatically changed the way Americans get medical care. But some of these virtual options remain out of reach for the most vulnerable populations, like seniors.

Pixabay

On Dec. 4, Dr. Susan Moore posted a video from her hospital bed in the Indianapolis area. Short of breath and with an oxygen tube in her nose, she said that she was denied proper care while being treated for COVID-19.

Less than three weeks later, she died from the virus. 


Courtesy of IU Health.

Medical professionals across the country are being vaccinated against COVID-19. For Dr. Gabriel Bosslet, a pulmonologist in Indianapolis, it was a day he'll never forget. He spoke with Side Effects Public Media's Carter Barrett, before getting the vaccine — and just hours after the first dose.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The pandemic has left millions of Americans without jobs, and as a result, nearly 14 million people lost employer-sponsored health insurance.  For the one-in-10 Americans with diabetes, this poses a potentially life-threatening problem. 

Retha Ferguson | WikiMedia Commons

Drug manufacturers have released promising early results for their COVID-19 vaccines, but skepticism among Americans remains high -- especially for African Americans, who the virus has hit harder than other groups.

For Thanksgiving this year, Kurt Beard was planning to travel from Indianapolis to Ohio and meet family for an outdoor hike, but as he watched COVID-19 rates spike he decided even that was too risky. Instead, his family is ordering pizza, video chatting with relatives and playing games.

However, when weighing spending time with elderly family members versus the coronavirus threat, Beard is conflicted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention // CCO

Pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine and receive FDA approval. In the meantime, states are finalizing plans to distribute the vaccine — and overcome potential challenges. 

Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca.

State health leaders are beginning to release their plans for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine — whenever one becomes available. 

Photo by SJ Obijo / CCO Unsplash / https://unsplash.com/photos/K2Eb0BV4Jgk

Now that summer is over and temperatures are dipping across the Midwest, people are headed indoors, some experts fear the already striking rise in cases is the beginning of another wave of COVID-19.

“I think that as fall moves forward ... what we're seeing right now is kind of a preview of what we can expect, as we even see colder temperatures come,” says Brian Dixon, director of public health informatics at the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute. 

Photo by: Bram Sable-Smith

There is just one hospital in western Indiana’s Vermillion County. The slender, 37-mile long county is dotted with corn and soybean fields, and driving from one end to the other would take nearly an hour. 

Union Hospital Clinton is small, only 25 beds, but it also serves parts of two neighboring counties. The area suffers from some of Indiana’s highest rates of heart attack and stroke. 

Photo courtesy of Indiana University

Update, Sept. 9, 2020: AstraZeneca announced that its COVID-19 vaccine trial is on hold. Read more.

The Indiana University School of Medicine announced it has been selected to participate in an international COVID-19 vaccine trial.  

Photo contributed by Sharon Stewart.

Floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters can devastate a town in just a few hours. But the impact on residents can linger for years in the form of anxiety, depression or other mental health problems. 

Eric Rudd|Indiana University

As colleges across the country welcome students back to campus, incoming freshmen are starting college in the middle of a pandemic. And, many are struggling with a tough decision to start or defer college this fall.

CREDIT: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As national and state leaders struggle to get COVID-19 under control, minority groups are at a higher risk for the virus. And that includes Indianapolis’ Burmese refugees, a tight-knit community. But providing these refugees with accurate information about the virus has been a challenge for public health workers. 

Indianapolis Public Schools leaders and members of the community met online to discuss how to talk about race with children. July 2020.
Indianapolis Public Schools

Indianapolis Public Schools leaders hosted a virtual discussion Friday on how to talk to children about race. This was the district’s third and final public event tackling race. 

Photo by Gabrielle Rocha Rios / Unsplash CCO

Ali Schroer was just out of college when she started her first teaching job, but her new insurance plan didn’t cover her allergy medication. 

"So this new allergist that I was seeing in Colorado had said, after several go arounds of me asking to take this medication, said, ‘Oh, well actually know that you can just get it online.”'

This spring, as it became clear COVID-19 was hitting African-Americans especially hard, Indianapolis-area health officials vowed to set up testing sites in “hotspot” neighborhoods. One opened in predominantly Black Arlington Woods, at a respected local institution: Eastern Star Church.

Justin Hicks, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Demonstrations are flaring up across the country to protest the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police. They’re also calling attention to broader inequalities. One of those areas—health disparities—kills Black Americans in massive numbers.

Bigstock.

Here’s something that might surprise you: A new national survey shows that regardless of political affiliation, Americans mostly agree on how to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic—slowly—and with protective measures like face masks.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Some fear the stress of social isolation, historic unemployment and health fears during the pandemic threatens our mental health. Dozens of national organizations raised concerns to Congress that the U.S. is unprepared to handle what may be a mental health crisis.

Natural Disasters Are Bad For Mental Health. Tell Us Your Story.

May 6, 2020
Photo by 272447/ Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/tornado-destruction-joplin-missouri-1650683/

In partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, Columbia Journalism Investigations and Side Effects Public Media.

Every year, weather-related disasters ravage communities across the United States: floods in the Farm Belt, fires in the West and hurricanes along the South and East coasts.

Scientists say these disasters also lead to skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. One survey of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that a third had mood disorders, and suicidal thoughts more than doubled. Many studies suggest similar outcomes after wildfires and floods.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced hospitals and doctors to move much of their work online. That shift to telehealth required big changes -- from relaxing federal regulations to getting buy-in from doctors. Now the question is whether it can sustain the momentum built amid "stay-home" orders.

Photo contributed by Alfarena McGinty.

This story is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Alfarena McGinty is the chief deputy coroner for Marion County, which oversees metropolitan Indianapolis -- which has had the largest outbreak of the new coronavirus in the state. She spoke with Side Effects reporter Carter Barrett about what it’s been like on the front lines of the county’s morgue, tough choices during this crisis, and how the pandemic reached personal life too. 

Justin Hicks/Indiana Public Broadcasting.

Behind a nondescript strip mall in Carmel, Indiana, a short line of cars gathers mid-afternoon next to a large tent. Medical professionals stand out front, dressed head to toe in blue medical gear. People in the cars -- many of them first responders -- drive up to get checked for COVID-19. 

Photo by Justin Hicks/Indiana Public Broadcasting.

This story is produced in partnership with Columbia Journalism Investigations, the Center for Public Integrity and Side Effects Public Media.

The coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on Indiana 211, the phone and text service that connects Hoosiers with resources was swamped last month with calls. 

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