Rebecca Smith | KBIA

Rebecca Smith

Health Reporter

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO.

Ways to Connect

Jessica Trussell, left, has long, dark hair and is wearing a black and white checkered shirt. Amy Bartells, right, wears glasses and a bright yellow blouse.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

This week’s Missouri Health Talks is a collaboration with Vox Magazine.

Jessica Trussell and Amy Bartels are both human development and family science specialists with the University of Missouri Extension. Jessica in Livingston County – Chillicothe – and Amy in Camden County.

They both teach a class called mental health first aid – essentially a training that gives adults tools to use to help identify mental health crises and connect others with resources. Amy focuses on teaching people who work with youth in schools.

Dr. Val Farmer, left, has gray hair and wears a dark brown polo shirt. Jason Medows, right, wears a ballcap and a red and blue checkered button-down shirt.
Will Robinson / KBIA

Dr. Val Farmer is a clinical psychologist in Wildwood that specializes in rural mental health, and Jason Medows is a pharmacist and cattle rancher in Rolla.

They spoke about the stigma surrounding mental health in rural communities and some of the ways that all people – not just mental health professionals – are breaking down stigma and promoting good mental health.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Lily Kraxberger, left, wears a bright striped T-shirt. Dr. Jennifer Su, right, has on a sleeveless black top.
Veronica Mohesky / KBIA

Dr. Jennifer Su is an OB/GYN in Jefferson City and Lily Kraxberger is a student at the University of Missouri. Lily uses an online service to prescribe and mail her monthly birth control pills.

They spoke about how services like Pill Club and Nurx change the accessibility of birth control.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Tagnan Ribaudo, left, is much taller than his mother and holds his arm around her. Michelle Ribaudo, right, wears a T-shirt that says “Advocate like a Mother.”
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Tagnan and Michelle Ribaudo are a mother and son in Columbia. Tagnan is currently in high school and also has high functioning autism. They spoke about some of the struggles Michelle faced when trying to get Tagnan diagnosed with autism as a child.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Tagnan Ribaudo, left, is much taller than his mother and holds his arm around her. Michelle Ribaudo, right, wears a T-shirt that says “Advocate like a Mother.”
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Tagnan and Michelle Ribaudo are a mother and son in Columbia. Tagnan is currently in high school and also has high functioning autism. This past spring he spoke to Missouri state legislators about the importance of therapies for people with disabilities.

Dr. John Dane, left, wears a light blue polo and glasses. Gary Harbison, right, wears a dark blue button up and glasses.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

This week on Intersection we bring you a special on oral health from Missouri Health Talks. KBIA’s Rebecca Smith spoke with Dr. John Dane, the State Dental Director, and Gary Harbison, the Executive Director for the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health.

They followed up on their conversation with Smith in August 2017. They spoke about the current status of oral health care in Missouri, advances that have been made in oral health policy and struggles Missourians still face when it comes to accessing quality, affordable dental care.


Dr. John Dane, left, wears a light blue polo and glasses. Gary Harbison, right, wears a dark blue button up and glasses.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

This week we hear a selection from an interview with Dr. John Dane, the state dental director, and Gary Harbison, the Director of the Missouri Oral Health Coalition. They were guests on KBIA’s Intersection – you can hear that longer interview here.

They spoke about some of the ways that oral health is impacting Missourians and about the relationship between physical and oral health.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

I have always been a nerd about comic books. I can remember reading issues of X-Men and Teen Titans and whatever I could get my hands on, as a kid. So when I walked into the Univerity of Missouri's Special Collections and Rare Books at Ellis Library and saw four ten-foot tables covered in comics and comic art – I kind of freaked out.

Christina Ingoglia, left, wears a black and red blouse and has bright red hair. Michelle Ribaudo, right, wears a striped shirt, black cardigan and glasses.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Christina Ingoglia and Michelle Ribaudo are both board members for the Missouri Disability Empowerment Foundation, or MoDE Foundation, in Columbia. Christina is the current President and Michelle is the current Vice President of this organization that works to advocate for people with disabilities and promote inclusion. 

They spoke about the use of restraint and seclusion rooms for students with special needs and about the potentially dangerous ramifications of such policies.

Christina Ingoglia, left, wears a black and red blouse and has bright red hair. Michelle Ribaudo, right, wears a striped shirt, black cardigan and glasses.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Christina Ingoglia and Michelle Ribaudo are both board members for the Missouri Disability Empowerment Foundation, or MoDE Foundation, in Columbia. Christina is the current President and Michelle is the current Vice President of this organization that works to advocate for people with disabilities and promote inclusion.

Rebecca / KBIA

An outbreak of Hepatitis A continues to spread across portions of southeast Missouri and is starting to make its way to more populated areas.

The outbreak was first identified in September 2017, but as of July 23, 2019, there have been 378 confirmed cases throughout 33 Missouri Counties. Some of the hardest hit include Butler, Howell and, more recently, Franklin counties.  


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Laurie Hines is the director of the Missouri Kidney Program and a living kidney donor for her partner, Ted.

She spoke at an event hosted by KBIA and Missouri Health Talks at Café Berlin this past winter a little bit about how being involved with a paired kidney transplant has impacted her and her advocacy.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Libby Brockman-Knight, left, wears a bright red blazer and smiles into the camera. Gaurav Kulkarni, right, wears a black shirt and multi-colored tie and looks into the camera.
Trevor Hook / KBIA

Libby Brockman-Knight and Gaurav Kulkarni both work at Compass Health Network in Columbia. Brockman- Knight is the Deputy Chief clinical officer of substance use disorder services and Kulkarni is a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction.

Brockman-Knight spoke with Kulkarni about treatment for substance use disorders - specifically alcohol addiction and the numerous barriers that can exist for their patients.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

JT Thomas sits in front of a dark blue background covered in silver stars.
Rebecca A Smith / KBIA

JT Thomas is a senior at the University of Missouri and is studying biology and business. He spoke at an event hosted by KBIA and Missouri Health Talks at Café Berlin this past winter about organ transplantation.

JT was diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 20, and he spoke about the struggles that still exist in the life of a kidney transplant recipient – even four and a half years post-transplant.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Robyn Schelp and Molly Myers sitting inside Robyn’s home
Isabel Lohman / KBIA

Robyn Schelp and Molly Myers are both moms of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities here in Columbia.

Robyn has three sons, and her 11-year-old has an unknown genetic disorder. Molly has an 8-year-old son who is missing a part of his brain, twin girls who were born prematurely and another three-year-old daughter.

They spoke about what it’s like to care for a loved one who has a disability in today’s “Supermom” culture, and about how they have built their own support systems.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Audrey Aton and Cortney Bouse sitting on a bench outside on MU’s campus.
Isabel Lohman / KBIA

Recently, there have been multiple challenges to abortions in the state. In late May, Governor Parson signed a ban on abortions after eight weeks  - and Missouri could soon become the first state without an abortion provider as the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic is currently trying to retain their abortion license in court.

Caryn Meyer / VOX Magazine

This week’s Missouri Health Talks is a collaboration with Vox Magazine.

Last fall, Matthew and Christy Nevels, who already had six children, adopted their five foster children. Making them a family of 13. They spoke with reporter Mimi Wright about speaking some of the challenges they have encountered trying to balance all of their children’s needs.

You can read more of the Nevels’ story in the June issue of Vox Magazine - available now around town and online: “A local couple with an abundance of love — and kids — adopts more children.”

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Melanie Hickcox, left, wears a gray hoodie. Bree Broadus, right, wears a black jacket and a pink T-shirt.
Jamie Hobbs / KBIA

Melanie Hickcox and Bree Broadus work together here in Mid-Missouri. Melanie is the SNAP Project Manager for Feeding Missouri and Bree is the SNAP Outreach Coordinator for The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri

They both work to provide access to SNAP benefits, otherwise known as food stamps, to inmates getting ready to reenter society – even helping people with paperwork and applications before they’re released.

They spoke about why food stamp access is so important – especially among this vulnerable population.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Kevin Wehner, left, wears glasses and a bright red flannel shirt. Scott Miniea, right, wears a tan shirt.
Regan Huston / KBIA

Kevin Wehner and Scott Miniea both have backgrounds in education, but now, they work for nonprofit organizations in Columbia and use their teaching skills to help people navigate the healthcare system.

Kevin is a Certified Application Counselor for Central Missouri Community Action and Scott is the Executive Director of the Primaris Foundation. They spoke about some of the biggest issues for people when trying to enroll in health insurance and how people can take advantage of free resources to get the best possible health care.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Officials associated with Columbia’s Planned Parenthood clinic are reminding the public that it remains open for other healthcare services even as its partner clinic in St. Louis is under threat as the last abortion provider in the state.

It was announced Tuesday that the St. Louis Planned Parenthood Clinic may have to stop performing abortions as of Friday, May 31, which would leave Missouri without an abortion provider.

Libby Brockman-Knight, left, wears a bright red blazer and smiles into the camera. Gaurav Kulkarni, right, wears a black shirt and multi-colored tie and looks into the camera.
Trevor Hook / KBIA

Libby Brockman-Knight and Gaurav Kulkarni both work at Compass Health Network in Columbia. Brockman- Knight is the Deputy Chief clinical officer of substance use disorder services and Kulkarni is a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction.

They spoke about treatment for substance use disorders - specifically alcohol addiction, which according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, as of 2015, more than 15 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.

Cindy Polfelt, left, wears a denim jacket and a floral shirt. She stands next to her daughter, Jessica Hosack, left, who wears a dark denim jacket and a striped shirt.
Trevor Hook / KBIA

Cindy Polfelt has lived in Columbia for six years.

Cindy’s mother has Alzheimer's, and since her father passed away, Cindy has taken on the role of her mother’s personal caretaker. She feeds and clothes her mother every day, and can’t leave her house unless she finds someone to watch her mother – even then, it’s only for a few hours at a time.

Cindy says that it has affected her social life, and her independence. She spoke with her daughter, Jessica Hosack, about some of the stresses of being a caretaker. 

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

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