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Heard On Sundial: Florida’s Ousted Data Scientist, Telemedicine & Minorities, Hallandale’s SWAT Team

Health News Florida
A new study from Florida International University looks at how telemedicine is utilized among uninsured, low income minority groups living in South Florida.

On this Wednesday, June 24, episode of Sundial:

Florida’s Ousted Data Scientist & Her Own COVID-19 Dashboard 

Rebekah Jones was a manager in the Florida Department of Health and played a critical role in creating the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. She says she was fired after refusing to manipulate data on the dashboard. A statement from the department says she was fired for “repeated acts of insubordination.”

Jones created her own COVID-19 dashboard that’s being funded through a GoFundMe account. She joined Sundial to discuss the discrepancies she sees in the state’s handling of coronavirus data. 

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Telemedicine In Minority Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of aspects of our life. Even how we receive medical treatment. Instead of showing up at a clinic, many patients are being urged to download an app, turn on their webcam or call in to an office.

Studies suggest that telemedicine and in-person visits have similar outcomes. A new studyfrom Florida International University will look at what this means for uninsured and low-income minority groups.

“In order to provide tailored telemedicine services to these vulnerable communities we need to first understand how they are using it to take the next steps,” said Dr. Sahar Ajabshir, an assistant professor at FIU's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the principal director of the study.

We spoke Dr. Ajabshir and Dr. Sarah Stumbar, an assistant dean at the university and a co-investigator on this project, about their new study that looks at the use of telemedicine in South Florida’s most vulnerable communities. 

Members Of Hallandale Beach’s SWAT Team Resign 

As protests continue across South Florida calling for criminal justice reform and an end to police brutality, there’s been a shakeup in the Hallandale Beach SWAT team.

Ten members resigned earlier this month, citing a lack of training, equipment and feeling they were “being restrained by the politicization” of their tactics.

“Things got heated when a city commissioner, Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana, participated in one of the [police brutality] demonstrations,” said Sun Sentinel reporter Brooke Baitinger. “They say that these conditions need to be rectified and addressed and until then they cannot, in good faith, carry out their duties.”

We spoke with Baitinger about why those members resigned and what that means for the city’s law enforcement.

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.