Sammy Mack

Sammy Mack loves public radio and public policy.

Mack is the Miami-based education reporter for StateImpact Florida. She is a St. Petersburg native and a product of Florida public schools. She even took the first FCAT.

Mack previously was a digital editor and health care policy reporter for WLRN - Miami Herald News, where she covered the public health and health policy beat. For two years, her health reporting with WLRN was supported by the grant-funded HealthyState.org project. She was selected as a 2012 fellow with the Kaiser Health News and NPR Health Care Reporting in the States project.

Her stories have also appeared on NPR, Monocle 24, the Miami Herald, Global Health, HealthNewsFlorida.org, 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 Florida AP Broadcaster and SPJ Sunshine State awards. She’s collaborated on projects that have won an Emmy, 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.

South Florida continues to have the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in the country, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.

On average, for every hundred thousand Americans, about 15 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2016, the most recent year of data analyzed by the CDC.

When families don’t know where their next meal will come from, it can be especially hard on young children. A new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior shows that 5-year-olds who experience food insecurity are more likely than other kids to have behavior problems.

This week on Florida Matters, we hear the story of a recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland who survived the February mass shooting that killed 17.


Every high school graduation is a triumph in its own way — a mix of beginnings and endings.

And there’s another story that now belongs to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School class of 2018: the journey that comes after tragedy.

The former head of the Miss Venezuela contest—who had ties to pageant-style television programming in Miami—has been accused of pimping out pageant contestants.

Osmel Sousa ran the Miss Venezuela pageant for nearly four decades. But he stepped down in February.

Dr. Ralph Sacco has his own way of thinking about time:

“Time is brain,” says Sacco, a neurologist at the University of Miami and chair of a registry that collects hospital data on what happens to stroke patients in Florida and Puerto Rico.

During a stroke, he says, “every minute, millions of brain cells die and we can't salvage them. You need to get urgent attention ... you need to get to a stroke center.”

For most strokes, the window for treatment is six hours. Depending on the kind of stroke, treatment can be effective within 24 hours.

Young people’s experiences with mental illness are in the spotlight this weekend as the third annual Reel Minds Miami Mental Health Film Festival returns to the University of Miami on Sunday.

This year’s festival includes a collection of six short films, along with discussions between mental health providers and advocates. The event is sponsored by the Miami chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which works to educate the public and offers free resources to support people affected by mental illness.

Following a rabid raccoon attack, the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County is advising residents to be careful around wild animals.

The raccoon in question scratched and bit a worker in the community of Breakers West last week. The attack was reported to the county. A local trapper caught the animal, which then tested positive for rabies.

The victim of the raccoon attack started a five-shot course of rabies vaccines.

This is the fourth confirmed rabid animal case in Palm Beach County this year.

More Floridians get their health insurance through their jobs than from any other source—about 42 percent of us, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Which, when you start talking about making choices in healthcare, has some interesting implications for your personal health and your financial health.

The people behind the Wynwood Yard—the restaurant and culture incubator in Miami’s arts district—are making a bet: selling good, healthy food near a hospital will be good for business.

This week, Wynwood Yard founder Della Heiman and business partner Ken Lyon open Jackson Hall at the Civica Center in Miami’s health district.

The pedestrian bridge at Florida International University 's Modesto Maidique Campus was touted as a marvel for traffic-burdened Southwest Eighth Street. An average of 66,500 cars a day crossed the intersection with Southwest 109th Avenue in 2016.

Last weekend, the $14.2 million project was installed. By 2019, the cable-supported bridge would link the city of Sweetwater, where about 4,000 students live, and the school’s main campus across the street.

At 85 years old, Alpha Edwards did not expect to be out of savings or to have $3,000 of credit card debt.

"I don't do anything that costs money," Edwards says. "I can't."

The problem started four years ago, when Edwards moved to Miami Springs, Fla., with her little brown dog. Her husband had recently died, and Edwards wanted to be closer to her daughter.

Edwards regularly sees doctors for her chronic lung disease and her pacemaker. And not long after she moved, she needed a cardiac procedure.

This December has been one of the wettest on record for South Florida—and while it’s been a couple of days since the hard rains let up, there’s still standing water in fields across the Homestead area.

From the side of the road, you can see yellow squash plants, wilting and submerged in mud. Soft fungus and the pockmarks of rot scar the vegetables.

At about 12:30 on Thursday afternoon, Dynamic Air Flight 405 was taxiing on the north runway of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. It was full of fuel and about to take off for Caracas, Venezuela.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

Students and civil rights activists are still asking Florida to hold black and Hispanic students to a higher standard.

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