health

Every Rhode Island county with an air quality monitoring device had slightly more smoggy days this year compared to last year, according to a report issued this year by the American Lung Association. The state will likely see those smoggy days dwindle in the future.

Courtesy Brown Medicine Magazine

This week, Rhode Island Public Radio is recognizing Brown University’s 250th anniversary with a series of conversations with Brown leaders and alumni.  We’re looking forward at what the future might hold for this institution of higher learning in our backyard.

Today, Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay speaks with Fox Wetle, head of Brown’s new school of public health. She asked Wetle, why start such a school to begin with, at Brown, when the university already has a medical school that’s starting to focus on public health issues, too?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s department of health director doctor Michael Fine plans to brief state lawmakers Wednesday on the state of the state’s health.

Fine will update lawmakers on the state’s progress on certain health indicators. Smoking rates are down to about 17 percent. New cases of HIV are falling. But since his last briefing for the General Assembly, Fine said, the needle hasn’t moved in the right direction on another major health challenge – drug addiction and overdose.

“Drug overdose death is what’s keeping us up at night. That’s our single biggest slippage," said Fine.

Lots of news organizations, including this one, are ticking off the year's top 10 stories. I'd like to run through some of Rhode Island's bottom health stories, meaning the ones least likely to have appeared on radar screens - but which should have. And don't worry: there's some good news in here too!

In no particular order:

Imagine riding in an ambulance without heat. That’s apparently been the reality for some people who use the New England Ambulance Company.  The state Health Department is putting a stop to the practice.

The Rhode Island Health Department has ordered the New England Ambulance Company to stop running vehicles without heat.  The department says it will issue fines of 100 dollars a day if the Johnston firm continues to do so.

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