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The Check-In: Rural Health, Tennessee Williams

KBIA host Janet Saidi is ready to take calls.

After weeks of re-opening our main streets and venturing out of our isolation, coronavirus cases are rising and things aren’t going the way we’d like. And now, the data show a changing picture of COVID-19 in Missouri.

It’s not the hot spots of Kansas City and St. Louis that have the largest infection rate - it’s Jasper County and McDonald County in the far southwest corner of the state that get a red- level-4 for highest risk. And other rural counties are also showing a fast upward trend in cases. 

So how do we put the brakes on this acceleration? How are Missouri's rural county health providers - who are already struggling with a lack of funding, less access to care and more at-risk populations - going to turn this around?

In this episode, we talk about the care and funding that’s needed in the highways and byways of our state.

We also discuss one of the best kept secrets in Missouri: Famous playwright Tennessee Williams grew up largely in St. Louis and attended MU.

Many Missourians don’t tend to know about this or perhaps celebrate it as much as we should because Williams didn’t have a wonderful time here. The early 1930s was a really tough time to be a young, gay man at the University of Missouri.

One group does celebrate Tennessee Williams and his Missouri connection. Every summer, the Tennessee Williams Festival of St. Louis produces a series of plays, seminars and discussions in an annual festival. 

This year the festival, like so many things, is not happening in person. But a series of Williams one-act plays will be recorded and broadcast with discussions on the radio. 

Our guests:

Kathleen Quinn, associate dean for Rural Health at MU’s School of Medicine.

Chiquita Chanay with MU Extension’s Community Health initiative.

Carrie Houk, executive director of the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.

Tom Mitchell, professor of acting and Theatre Studies at the University of Illinois.

To hear the live show, tune in Thursdays at noon. Also, you can leave us a voicemail on our listening line at 877-532-0971. Tell us about how you are handling the current crises our region is facing and any questions you have.

Janet Saidi is a producer and professor at KBIA and the Missouri School of Journalism.
Zia Kelly graduated with degrees in journalism and public health at the University of Missouri - Columbia in May 2020.. Outside of the newsroom, she works part-time as a personal trainer and competes as an Olympic-style weightlifter.
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