America Amplified: Life, Community, and COVID-19 Public radio stations across the country team up each week and invite Americans to share their diverse experiences during the coronavirus crisis. The program allows us to step back and gain a sense that we're all in this together. The weekly show provides insight into how communities are responding to this crisis and charting a new future.
America Amplified: Life, Community, and COVID-19

America Amplified: Life, Community, and COVID-19

From WABE 90.1

Public radio stations across the country team up each week and invite Americans to share their diverse experiences during the coronavirus crisis. The program allows us to step back and gain a sense that we're all in this together. The weekly show provides insight into how communities are responding to this crisis and charting a new future.

Most Recent Episodes

How are we finding community during a pandemic?

The stay-at-home orders to curb the coronavirus pandemic have canceled sports, closed museums and moved church services online. These are all places where we have traditionally found community, and people have had to turn to other ways of creating that sense of communal experience. Hosts Brian Ellison of KCUR of Kansas City and Maiken Scott of WHYY in Philadelphia explore how different groups are still finding that connection during the pandemic. How are these groups adapting? How do they plan to move forward, as localities ease restrictions on gatherings? What are our long-term concerns? Guests include: The Rev. Alyn E. Waller, Senior Pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia; Kaitlin Abdelrahman, organizer with On Call Halal, which delivered meals to hospital staff in Kansas City to break the daily fasts required during Ramadan; Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake, executive director of Global FC, which works with refugee youth in Kansas City to provide access to soccer opportunities; Dr. Joi Lewis, who works on the ground to create healing space to address trauma and grief in Minneapolis; and Boi Boy, Kansas City artist and drag performer.

Examining the future of health care

The coronavirus pandemic's impact on our health care system may be seen in more ways than in how we manage people with COVID-19. Since March, routine care, scheduled surgeries and wellness exams have been put mostly on hold or done via teleconference. Primary care physicians are at the front lines of care and can help identify issues before they develop into something more serious. Hosts Maiken Scott of WHYY in Philadelphia and Brian Ellison of KCUR in Kansas City discuss what the future of health care may look like. Will physicians rely more on telemedicine? How will this affect the future of the medical profession? What should patients expect of their physicians? You'll hear from: Dr. Neda Frayha, internist and primary care physician in Baltimore; Shantell Williams, recent Truman Medical Center patient; Dr. Catricia Tilford, Pediatrician at Samuel U. Rodgers Health Clinic; and Raina Merchant, Director of Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health.

Our cancelled summer plans and the economic impact

With the cancellation of long-standing festivals, new rules at theme parks, and concerns over traveling, this summer will be like no other in recent memory. Hosts John Dankosky of New England Public Radio and Rose Scott of WABE in Atlanta discuss the loss of summer as we knew it. We look at the impact on towns that rely on summer tourism, the loss of summer jobs, and what all this means for the future. In addition to callers from across the country, our guests include: Lora Bottinelli, Executive Director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, based in Maryland; Tom Smith, Associate Finance Professor at Emory University's Goizueta Business School; and Paul Gribble, President at Georgia Mountain Cabin Rentals in Blue Ridge, Georgia

The pandemic's unequal toll on communities of color

A virus doesn't discriminate, so why is it that communities of color have been more vulnerable to COVID-19? Hosts Rose Scott of WABE in Atlanta and John Dankosky of New England Public Radio examine how the coronavirus presents stark racial disparities. According to APM Research Lab, "black Americans represent 13% of the population in all U.S. areas releasing COVID mortality data, but they have suffered 25% of deaths." Latino and Asian Americans have died at rates roughly equivalent to their population. By comparison, though white Americans represent 61.7% of the combined population, they have experienced 49.3% of deaths. Why is this happening? What is being done to help? And how can we move forward in a way that addresses their needs? In addition to callers from across the nation, our guests include: Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine; Dr. Orlando Torres of Baystate Health-High Street Health Center in Springfield, Massachusetts; and Vanesa Sarazua, executive director of the Gainesville-based Hispanic Alliance of Georgia, which has worked to combat the pandemic by connecting quarantined poultry plant employees with food assistance.

Why the tension over face masks runs deeper than politics

Though the CDC now recommends everyone wear a cloth mask in public, it has changed its stance in the past. Hosts Mina Kim of KQED in San Francisco and Marty Moss-Coane of WHYY in Philadelphia peel back the complicated layers to the act of wearing a face mask. It's become a divisive political issue, leading to protests and complaints from residents who don't want to wear them. For others, it's a matter of personal safety that has nothing to do with health. Will black men be stereotyped for wearing a mask? Now that more businesses are reopening, what's on people's minds about face masks? And how do we navigate tense situations? Our guests include: Seema Yasmin, public health doctor and epidemiologist, director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative University, and an Emmy-award winning journalist; Will Joyce, mayor of Stillwater, Oklahoma, whose city reopened with a plan that included a strong recommendation for masks, requiring employees and customers to wear masks; and Chris Norris, journalist and professional drummer, currently serving as WHYY's Community Contributor and Engagement Editor.

Is there a way out of the unemployment crisis?

One of the most destructive effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been on jobs. Nationally, more than 36 million people have applied for unemployment benefits. Hosts Marty Moss-Coane of WHYY in Philadelphia and Mina Kim of KQED in San Francisco dive into the challenges facing those whose jobs may never return to pre-pandemic levels. Among the hardest hit: women and people of color who work in retail, hospitality, healthcare and education. What will the future hold for employees of these sectors? What should people expect of the job market? And what solutions are there for returning to stability? Our guests include: Bill Rodgers, professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and former chief economist for the U.S. Labor Department; Shonda Woods, who lives just outside Philadelphia and lost her job as home health care contractor and work as ride-share app driver. She's a single mother of two with one son with disabilities. She also has two degrees and is unable to find a stable job; and Miguel Velasco, the workforce development program manager for MEDA (Mission Economic Development Agency) in San Francisco.

Can we provide effective mental health care during the pandemic?

In rural and already vulnerable regions of the country, mental health issues are challenging an already stressed health care system — but also creating new coping techniques. Hosts Charity Nebbe of Iowa Public Radio and Gemma Gaudette of Boise State Public Radio look at how mental health professionals are helping those dealing with loneliness, anxiety, depression and more during the pandemic. What does the future hold for providing help to those with mental health disorders? Guests include: Chris Edwards, psychologist with St. Luke's Clinic Behavioral Health Services in Twin Falls, Idaho; Daniel Finney, former Des Moines Register columnist and mental health blogger in Des Moines, Iowa; Myra Campbell, therapist at the Nimiipuu Health Clinic on the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho; and Heath Druzin, Guns & America reporter based at Boise State Public Radio in Boise, Idaho.

Is the U.S. food supply chain in trouble?

Hosts Gemma Gaudette of Boise State Public Radio and Charity Nebbe of Iowa Public Radio take an inside look at the pandemic's impact on our food system. For instance, what to do with all the turkeys? And pork farmers who have built their operations on efficiency are looking at a logjam of pigs ready to be processed. Plus, a look at the work environment like inside processing plants. As the country moves toward a post-shutdown life, what changes should farmers and producers make? And what should consumers be prepared for? You'll hear from Chad Hart, Associate Professor of Economics, Crop Markets Specialist and Extension Economist, Iowa State University; Mike Paustian, President, Iowa Pork Producers Association and a farmer in Walcott, Iowa; Margarita Heredia, Business Agent with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Marshalltown, Iowa; Madelyn Beck, Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau; and Louise and Vance Ehmke, who own Ehmke Seed Farm in western Kansas.

What has the pandemic taught us about how we care for our seniors?

In Massachusetts, half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred among nursing home residents, according to the AARP — and that's just one of the many startling statistics about the virus' deadly impact on this vulnerable population. Hosts John Dankosky of New England Public Radio and Brian Ellison of KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, explore what the crisis has taught us about how we care for our seniors. You'll hear from: Patricia McCreary, founder and owner of Margaret's Place, a senior recreational center in Kansas City, Missouri; Beverly Murray, a 91-year-old who lived alone in an apartment in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, until she moved in with family because of the pandemic; and Tamara Blue, a caretaker in Detroit, Michigan.

Are we ready to reopen more businesses right now?

It's May, and that means more states across America will begin lifting stay-at-home restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Are we, as a nation, ready for this? Hosts Brian Ellison of KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, and John Dankosky of New England Public Radio explore the economic and emotional strife we're facing. On the one hand, businesses that have been closed and people out of work need to restart. On the other, widespread testing and a vaccine are not yet available. You'll hear from Pedro Soto, entrepreneur and president and CEO of Hygrade Precision Technologies in Plainville, Connecticut, Laura Norris, owner of Ragazza Italian restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, Karen Sedatole, interim dean of Emory University's Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia, and Rashaun Clark, owner of a salon and Urban Cafe in Kansas City, Missouri.

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