Robert Nickles lives in Columbia. He was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and has undergone numerous medical procedures throughout his life - including a colostomy. But there’s a major barrier standing between Robert and a healthy existence: Robert is homeless.
In his own words, he has lived a life that “most people wouldn’t understand.” Robert spoke with KBIA’s Jonah McKeown about the stigma surrounding homelessness and about the barriers he faces getting healthcare.
Katie Burnham Wilkins is the Homeless Program Coordinator at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, and Blake Witter is the Program Coordinator for HUD-VASH, a program that combines Housing and Urban Development Vouchers with VA services to help homeless veterans get stable housing.
While the exact number of homeless veterans is hard to pin down, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released a reportlast year that found that although the number of homeless veterans has overall decreased by 17% since 2015, the number of homeless veterans in Missouri has slightly increased, to nearly 600.
Katie and Blake spoke about the challenges of reaching out to and housing homeless veterans in the Columbia community.
Madi Lawson and Taylor Kinnerup are best friends who attend the University of Missouri Journalism School together.
Madi was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy as a child, and then another rare form of muscular dystrophy year this. These two spoke about the future, their friendship and how it's changing following this most recent diagnosis.
Sam McMillen and Elizabeth Modde are both medical students at the University of Missouri, and they work with MedZou – a free community health clinic run by medical staff and students.
Sam is currently the Director of Patient Advocacy and Referrals, and he sat down with Elizabeth in May to discuss some of the healthcare struggles their homeless patients face, and how their relationships with patients has changed them.
Health reporter Rebecca Smith recently sat down with Dr. John Dane, the current state Dental Director, and Gary Harbison, the Executive Director for the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health.
In this 30 minute Missouri Health Talks Special, they cover the Missouri Oral Health Plan, which runs from 2015 to 2020, advances that have been made in oral health policy and struggles Missourians still face when it comes to accessing quality, affordable dental care.
You will also hear conversations gathered by Smith in June at the 6th Annual MOMOM, or Missouri Mission of Mercy, in Joplin. This yearly, two-day dental clinic put on by the Missouri Dental Association provides free dental care for anyone willing to wait in line. This year approximately 1,200 people were served and more than $800,000 worth of care was provided.
Max Lewis is a lawyer in Columbia. He's also quadriplegic and uses a program called Consumer Directed Services to hire in-home help with personal care. He sat down with Leslie Anderson, the director of policy and advocacy for Services for Independent Living.
They spoke about a significant change Missouri is likely making in how it supports people who need assistance to stay in their homes. In the past, if you were on Medicaid, the state would pay for someone to help an elderly or disabled person with personal care up to the cost to live in a nursing home.
Starting July 1, though, the state will only pay up to 60 percent of what it would cost to live in a nursing home. There are a very limited amount of waivers that would allow people to keep their full care, but these make up for a tiny fraction of the estimated 8,800 Missourians who need this kind of care.
For the rest, these changes may mean getting fewer hours of assistance or ending up in a nursing home.
Dr. Andrew Quint has been the Medical Director at Family Health Center in Columbia for many years. For the past 11 years, he has worked with nurse Beth Rahn. They spoke about the many patients they have seen over the years and how those patients have changed their lives.
Columbia resident Rene Powell spoke with her friend Traci Wilson-Kleekamp about what life has been like with a disability. They also spoke about how life has changed for Rene as her disabilities have become more visible - as she started using a walker recently to assist with her mobility.
Sawsan Hasan and Nadeem Ramiydh both work for the Refugee & Immigration Services office in Columbia. Both of them work with refugees on a daily basis and are from Iraq themselves. They spoke about the need for more mental health care within the refugee and immigrant communities – especially when it comes to dealing with PTSD.
Brothers Chuck and Drew Graham live in Columbia, Missouri, and both have been paralyzed for many years.They spoke about their issues with physical access in the Columbia community and about some of the tough decisions they are forced to make.
Chuck and Drew Graham's mother served as their role model growing up in Louisiana, Missouri. She helped them face the road ahead after they became paraplegic and quadriplegic within a year and a half of each other in their teenage years.
Copyright 2017 KBIA and The University of Missouri. Development and Design by Nathan Lawrence.