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At the end of January 2015, KBIA sent reporters down to southeast Missouri to open the “Bootheel” bureau. Their job was to tackle the stories taking place in the towns, fields and health clinics of Missouri’s most productive farmland. On March 23, we kick off the week-long series called “Shortage in Rich Land.” Listen to Morning Edition, All Things Considered and online at kbia.org.00000178-cc7d-da8b-a77d-ec7d2fb50000

Health Barriers: Symptoms of a Rural Economy

On May 20th, KBIA held a community conversation event in Kennett, Mo. The goal was to bring local residents and leaders of rural southeast Missouri to the same table to discuss difficulties in access to health care, the struggling rural economy and how to fix it. It's an event we called Health Barriers: Symptoms of a Rural Economy.

About 25 people joined us at the First Presbyterian Church in Kennett for a barbecue dinner and a panel discussion hosted by KBIA News Director Ryan Famuliner.

On the panel were Kim Hughes, Director of Nursing at the Dunklin County Health Department; Judith Haggard, nurse practitioner at SEMO Health Network; and Victor Wilburn, PhD, from Southeast Missouri State University.

Conversation highlights

Kim Hughes on changing how the community thinks of health care:

"A lot of times people seek help when they're sick...[it's] kind of hard to change the knowledge, attitude and skills of people."


Dr. Victor Wilburn on the barriers poverty creates for health care access:

"Quality health care is preventive, and preventive is long-term thinking." But, "if I am struggling, if resources are scarce, then I'm really not thinking about long term."


Judith Haggard on the importance of educating the community:

"The more education we can get out there about what's going on in our community, the more people can buy into that."

A curious Columbia, Mo. native, Bram Sable-Smith has documented mbira musicians in Zimbabwe, mining protests in Chile, and the St. Louis airport's tumultuous relationship with the Chinese cargo business. His reporting from Ferguson, Mo. was part of a KBIA documentary honored by the Missouri Broadcasters Association and winner of a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He comes to KBIA most recently from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.
Kristofor left KBIA in fall of 2021
Ryan served as the KBIA News Director from February 2011 to September 2023
Travis McMillen is the senior media producer at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. For KBIA, Travis oversees production of Views of the News and The Daily Blend with AC.
Austin Federa left KBIA in May of 2015.
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