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

KBIA's Rebecca Smith's cat, Pip, sleeps on his windowsill bed while keeping her company in her home office.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

When my cat, Pip, started sniffling and sneezing a few weeks ago, I didn’t give it much thought. But as the sneezing continued, I started to get worried – both about Pip, of course, and about how I was going to safely get him to the veterinarian during Columbia’s stay-at-home order.

So, I called my vet and found out they had changed the way appointments were handled. Instead of going into the office with my cat, I would call when I was parked outside, hand Pip over in a carrier from my car, and then talk to the vet over the phone about a treatment plan.

A drive-up, hands-off vet clinic.


Provided by Matthew Huffman

As COVID-19 cases have gone up in Missouri, more and more stay-at-home orders have gone into effect. But these orders, which are an attempt to reduce transmission, could, in some cases, be increasing the risk of domestic and sexual violence.

Matthew Huffman is the Public Affairs Director for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and he spoke with KBIA’s Rebecca Smith about how domestic violence programs offering direct services to survivors – things like shelter, counseling, food, and more – are adapting and where people can still turn for help.


Sarah Hallam / VOX Magazine/KBIA

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

Hilary and Chad Hardesty have been trying to have a baby for more than seven years now, and while their doctors tell them they’re good candidates for IVF, the enormous price tag on the procedure has been a challenge for the couple.

They spoke with reporter Sarah Hallam about their efforts to raise money for IVF, in part, through their website, https://hardestyhouseinfertility.com.

Samantha Waigand / The Columbia Missourian, VOX magazine

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

Kelly Gilion is the owner of Plume, a local gift shop here in Columbia. She also started a support group for women dealing with fertility issues called Graceful Wait in 2010.

She spoke with reporter Sarah Hallam about how she was inspired to create this group by her own desire for support during her own six-year struggle.

You can read more about Kelly and the support group in the March issue of Vox Magazine - available now around town and online: What does it cost to undergo IVF?


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

By now, most people will know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider older individuals "at higher risk" for serious complications of COVID-19, but there are several other groups that also have higher risk – and are maybe not as obvious to the naked eye. 


Christina Ingoglia stands, holding her five-year-old daughter, Lilly, in her arms.
Provided by Christina Ingoglia

According to the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, all 555 of Missouri’s schools are currently closed in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19, but for the parents of children with disabilities, this can present even more challenges.

Christina Ingoglia is the President of the Missouri Disability Empowerment, or MoDE, Foundation, and the mother of Lilly – a five-year-old who has cognitive disabilities from a rare genetic condition.

She spoke with KBIA’s Rebecca Smith about how she and her family are coping, and about how they are keeping Lilly busy at home.


Regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, also known as DESE, has made the decision to close all Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled. The closure begins on Wednesday, March 18.

Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, the Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention for MU Healthcare, left, Dr. Ashley Millham, the Medical Director for Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services, middle and Lucio Bitoy talked COVID-19 prep in MO
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

“The ultimate goal is to slow down the spread and decrease the transmission.”

KBIA’s Rebecca Smith sat down with Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, the Medical Director of Infection Contol and Prevention for MU Health Care, and two individuals from Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services – Medical Director Dr. Ashley Millham and Public Inforamtion Officer Lucio Bitoy – to discuss some of the preparations that are underway to prevent, and if necessary, manage the spread of COVID-19 in Mid-Missouri.

There have been six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri: two in St. Louis County, three in Greene County, and one in Henry County. 


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Mataka Askari lives in Columbia with his family and works as a certified peer specialist for those dealing with substance use disorders. He’s also actively using his experiences from spending 23 and a half years in prison to help others.

He's been out of prison for approximately 18 months, and, in this special, he reflects on his childhood and his personal growth during those many years in prison.


Jannis Evans, left, wears a gray sweatshirt and bright. Red lipstick. Lynne Meyerkord, right, wears a floral blouse and glasses. They stand in front of a large “Empower Missouri” banner.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Jannis Evans and Lynne Meyerkord both work in HIV advocacy. Jannis is the longtime advocate for people living with HIV and used to work in the field, and Lynne is the Executive Director at the AIDS Project of the Ozarks in Springfield.

I met up with them at the Jefferson City office of Empower Missouri.

They spoke about how the impacts and complications of an HIV diagnosis can go far beyond physical 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

Mataka Askari lives in Columbia and works as a certified peer specialist for Burrell Behavioral Health, but before that – he spent 23 and a half years in prison.

He spoke about post-incarceration syndrome, a form of PTSD specific to those who have been in prison, and some of the ways it impacts his life every day.

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

Friends Amanda Fitzwater, left, and Catrina Huskey, right, both work in HIV management and prevention in Butler County, Missouri. They stand in front of their office’s “condom closet.”
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Catrina Huskey and Amanda Fitzwater both work at the Butler County Health Department in Poplar Bluff. Catrina is an HIV case manager and Amanda is a prevention specialist.

Jack Ramsey, left, wears a navy sweater and kneels next to his wife, Evelyn Ramsey, right, who is seated and wears a gray sweatshirt.
Will Robinson / KBIA

Evelyn and Jack Ramsey live in rural Lincoln County. About half an hour from Troy, Missouri, which has a population of about 12,500 people.

Evelyn used to work as a nurse and Jack in avionics at McDonnell Douglas. They spoke about some of the struggles with access to emergency health care that exist in rural Missouri.

Derek Landes, left, wears glasses and a yellow plaid shirt. Cale Mitchell, right, wears clear-framed glasses and a yellow plaid shirt.
Veronica Mohesky / KBIA

Derek Landes and Cale Mitchell both work at Spectrum Health Care here in Columbia. Derek is a prevention educator and health services coordinator and Cale is the executive director.

They spoke about antibiotic resistant STIs and what simple steps people can take to keep themselves and their partners safe. These STIs have not been found in Missouri, but have been seen in some areas around the United States. 

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

Janet Saidi / KBIA

Kelly Slater, Casey Smith and Matthew Huffman were all guests in October on KBIA's Intersection. You can here that longer interview hosted by KBIA reporter Kassidy Arena – here.

Kelly and Casey are both college students – Kelly is an online student at Arizona State University and Casey is a student at the University of Missouri, and Matthew is with the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

They spoke about resilience after sexual assault and how to rebuild oneself after experiencing trauma.

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

Derek Landes, left, wears glasses and a yellow plaid shirt. Cale Mitchell, right, wears clear-framed glasses and a yellow plaid shirt.
Veronica Mohesky / KBIA

Derek Landes and Cale Mitchell both work at Spectrum Health Care here in Columbia. Derek is a prevention educator and health services coordinator and Cale is the executive director.

They spoke about the rise of STIs in Columbia and how people can work to reduce those numbers.

Deanna Terrien, left, has short brown hair and large gold hoop earrings. Wanda Kelley, right, has long dark brown hair and freckles.
Olivia Love / KBIA

Deanna Terrien and Wanda Kelley are sisters who live in Jackson, Missouri. Several years ago, Deanna was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

They spoke about some of the different ways the disease has impacted her body, and about how exhausting it was to get a diagnosis in the first place.

This piece was reported and produced by Olivia Love.

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

Jannis Evans, left, wears a gray sweatshirt and bright. Red lipstick. Lynne Meyerkord, right, wears a floral blouse and glasses. They stand in front of a large “Empower Missouri” banner.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Jannis Evans and Lynne Meyerkord both work in HIV advocacy. Jannis is the longtime advocate for people living with HIV and used to work in the field, and Lynne is the Executive Director at the AIDS Project of the Ozarks in Springfield.

I met up with them at the Jefferson City office of Empower Missouri.

They spoke about medications that have changed the way HIV is treated and about some of the people who could most benefit – specifically African American women.

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

Denicia Dwarica, left, wears a gray blouse and has long, dark hair. Elizabeth Malm-Buatsi, right, wears a black turtleneck covered in gold flowers.
Veronica Mohesky / KBIA

Denicia Dwarica is a urogynecologist and Elizabeth Malm-Buatsi is a pediatric urologist at the University of Missouri’s Women’s and Children’s hospital.

They spoke about some of the common myths and misconceptions about urinary tract infections, or UTIs, during November – which happens to be Bladder Health Month.

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

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

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