Sammy Mack

Reporter

Public radio. Public health. Public policy.

Most days, Mack covers health care policy for WLRN. Her health care journalism is supported by a fellowship with the Kaiser Health News and NPR Health Care Reporting in the States project.

Like most folks who've worked at a member station, she's worn a lot of hats: interim digital editor during the re-launch of WLRN.org, assistant producer for The Florida Roundup, morning news producer, intern coordinator, party planner. She was one half of the StateImpact Florida education reporting team. 

Her stories have appeared on NPR, Monocle 24, the Miami Herald, Global Health, Health News Florida, Gambit Weekly, MAP Magazine, Gulfshore Life, Philadelphia Weekly, the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and other outlets.

Mack’s work has been honored with A Green Eyeshade Award for Investigative Journalism, and Florida AP Broadcaster and SPJ Sunshine State awards. She’s collaborated on projects that have won a Third Coast International Audio Festival bronze award, an Emmy, national and regional Edward R. Murrow awards, a Wilbur Award and a Dart Award. Mack was a writing fellow during the 2008 Poynter Summer Fellowship for Young Journalists.

She was recognized by her colleagues as the 2011 Herald Top Chef. She’s happy to share her recipe for garam masala macarons with lemongrass filling.

Ways to Connect

anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hurricane season officially kicks off June 1, which means it's time to review emergency plans. And for South Florida residents with medical needs, that can involve extra work to ensure a spot on county lists for emergency evacuation assistance.

Florida counties maintain special needs registries for emergency situations. During hurricanes, people who have pre-registered on these lists are eligible for priority evacuation help and medical shelters—depending on their level of need.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

We'd like to take a second to talk to you about poop.

Yeah, that's right.

Poop.

USDA.gov

The Florida Department of Health says a food service worker at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens tested positive for hepatitis A. Customers who ate or drank there may have been exposed to the virus between May 1 and May 12.

DOH is encouraging diners who were at the restaurant between May 9 and May 12 to talk to a doctor and get a hepatitis A vaccine--it can be effective up to two weeks after exposure.

More from the DOH press release:

Sammy Mack

The state legislative session is over and the fate of a bill that would allow the expansion of needle exchanges throughout Florida is now up to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Infectious Disease Elimination Programs bill creates a legal mechanism for counties to authorize programs that swap clean syringes for dirty ones. Needle exchanges have been shown to reduce the spread of blood borne infections—like HIV and hepatitis C—among injection drug users.

The bill passed 111-3 in the Florida House and unanimously in the Florida Senate.

Hansel Tookes

The Florida Legislature has approved a bill that will allow the expansion of needle exchanges throughout Florida.

The Infectious Disease Elimination Programs bill—which passed a house vote on Wednesday and has already passed in the Florida Senate—creates a legal mechanism for counties to authorize programs that swap clean syringes for dirty ones. Needle exchanges have been shown to reduce the spread of blood borne infections—like HIV and hepatitis C—among intravenous drug users.

Courtesy Pedro Neves Marques and Galleria Umberto di Marino / PAMM

In a dark gallery at the Perez Art Museum Miami, two screens on opposite sides of the room play a pair of films on an alternating loop—one follows scientists working in a lab to create genetically modified mosquitoes, the other is a portrait of a polyamorous relationship that unfolds under the canopy of a Brazilian jungle.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

April is national poetry month and the O, Miami poetry festival wants to reach every resident of Dade County with a poem—including a group of South Florida students with severe disabilities.

WLRN went to one of the O, Miami-sponsored poetry workshops at the Brucie Ball Educational Center and has this audio postcard from the young poets:

"I'm hoping to give them an entryway into the genre and into self-expression and eventually self advocacy," says Donald Welch, who helped run the workshop for the kids at Brucie Ball.

tawatchai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mental health providers in South Florida are stressing the need for more trauma awareness and suicide prevention resources following the apparent suicide deaths of two young survivors of last year's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

There's a proposal in Tallahassee right now that could make it easier for injection drug users to trade dirty needles for fresh ones -- preventing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.

A trial project in Miami Dade County is the only legal needle exchange in Florida. The bill would let the other counties to create something similar.

Alexandria Friedlander / courtesy Luna Medina-Wolf

It's been exactly a year today since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and anniversaries can be particularly hard on survivors of trauma.

courtesy Leonor Muñoz

In May, we brought you the audio diary of Leonor Muñoz, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the class of 2018.

Leonor carried a recorder and documented life in the aftermath of the shooting—her activism, her trauma, her family.

 

Leonor's in college now. The recorder went with her. And she has this update on how she's doing—a year later.

 

This post was updated at 3:18 p.m. on March 25, 2019. 

The aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continues to ripple through the community around the school and beyond.

The journey to healing is unique for each person, but no one should have to walk that path alone.

WLRN has compiled a list of mental health resources to help. We will periodically update it. 

David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We're well into flu season and South Floridians are feeling it.

The Florida Department of Health tracks new flu cases and outbreaks, and according to its weekly report, flu is on the rise in Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. And while most of Florida is reporting new flu cases, the rates appear stable in Broward and even dropping in Palm Beach.

The first anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is less than two months away, and, starting Friday, Professionals United For Parkland is offering a series of workshops to help the MSD community prepare for traumatic reactions associated with the milestone.

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