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

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.

anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Florida has confirmed its first case of acute flaccid myelitis, or "AFM"—a rare, serious illness that affects the nervous system, particularly among young children.

The symptoms of AFM look like polio: muscle weakness, facial drooping, trouble swallowing or speaking. At its worst, AFM's been linked to respiratory failure.

The Florida Department of Health hasn't released many details about the confirmed case—not the condition of the patient, their age, or location.

pennekamppark.com

Florida State Parks want to help you usher in the New Year with a "First Day Hike."

More than 35 events are planned at parks across Florida on Jan. 1 as part of a national initiative to get folks out to their state parks. And unlike national parks, the federal shutdown won't affect state park facilities on the first day of the new year.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Nobody does quirky news stories like Florida does. And from the Great Lake Worth Zombie Scare of 2018, to the one about the horse who walked into a bar, the past 12 months of headlines have been no exception.

As is tradition for us this time of year, we're taking a moment here in this South Florida newsroom to reflect on the year in oddball stories—the ones that tickled us, or left us shaking our heads, or made us say, "this is why we can't have nice things."

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

The fall semester is over for students across South Florida—and at Exchange for Change, it's been a particularly meaningful semester. 

The program teaches writing and fosters literacy within South Florida prisons, and earlier this month, it hosted a formal graduation ceremony at Everglades Correctional Institution.

There were no caps or gowns, just the same blue uniform of every other day, but graduates were called up to a microphone to read their work to the audience of fellow inmates, guards and civilian teachers and visitors.

Khotcharak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Floridians living with HIV are increasingly getting the medications they need to stay healthy and prevent the spread of the virus, according to a new report from the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Federal law requires prisons and jails to provide medical care to people who are incarcerated. But in a recent medical journal, a group of South Florida researchers make the case that too many inmates suffer and die in part because "they lack adequate access to timely care."

"We wanted to know: what are people dying of while they're incarcerated in Miami-Dade County?" says Dr. Tanya Zakrison, a trauma surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission

Day two of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission hearings began with an examination of the blueprints of the school—a breakdown of whether architecture and building materials were a factor in the February massacre of 17 people there—and ended with public anger at the more disturbing examination of how Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies remained away from the school that day instead of moving toward the shooting.

tiramisustudio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A pair of redistricting proposals in Broward County have passed.

The proposed changes to the Broward County Charter were modeled on the state's fair districting standards.

The first change explicitly says districts can't be drawn to help or hurt a party, or single out minority groups.

The second change is aimed at making the redistricting process more transparent. It requires the process be overseen by an accredited college or university--as opposed to a private consultant.

Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

South Florida's green spaces got some serious green from voters Tuesday.

A half dozen municipalities across South Florida asked voters to weigh in on bond items that would help pay for parks and recreation initiatives. The projects involved everything from improving lighting and walkways to creating entirely new parks.

With little exception, the cities that asked for bonds to fund parks and rec, got them. And there were a lot of places asking:

Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

South Florida voters passed a series of tax increases on their ballots.

Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties asked for tax hikes to pay for public institutions and services. All of them got them:

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