Public Health

Latest KFF Health News Stories

Epidemic: Do You Know Dutta?


Who gets credit for wiping smallpox from the planet? American men have been widely recognized while the contributions of South Asian public health workers have been less celebrated. Episode 2 of the “Eradicating Smallpox” podcast tells the story of Mahendra Dutta, an Indian public health leader, whose political savvy helped usher in a transformative approach to finding and containing smallpox cases.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Another Try for Mental Health ‘Parity’


President Joe Biden is kicking off his reelection campaign in part by trying to finish a decades-long effort to establish parity in insurance benefits between mental and physical health. Meanwhile, House Republicans are working to add abortion and other contentious amendments to must-pass spending bills. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KFF Health News’ chief Washington correspondent, Julie Rovner, to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News’ Céline Gounder about her podcast “Epidemic.” The new season focuses on the successful public health effort to eradicate smallpox.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Let’s Talk About the Weather


It’s been the summer of broken weather records around the world — for heat, rain, and wildfire smoke — advertising the risks of climate change in a big way. But, apparently, it’s not enough to break the logjam in Washington over how to address the growing climate crisis. Meanwhile, in Texas, women who were unable to get care for pregnancy complications took their stories to court, and Congress gears up to — maybe — do something about prescription drug prices. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Shefali Luthra of The 19th, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join Julie Rovner, KFF Health News’ chief Washington correspondent, to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Meena Seshamani, the top administrator for the federal Medicare program.

Timeline: The Final Years of the Campaign to End Smallpox

KFF Health News Original

Many people working in global health thought eradicating smallpox was impossible. They were wrong. Season 2 of the Epidemic podcast, “Eradicating Smallpox,” is a journey to South Asia during the last days of variola major smallpox. Explore the timeline to learn about significant dates in the final push to end the virus.

Epidemic: The Goddess of Smallpox


To defeat smallpox in South Asia, public health workers had to navigate the region’s layered cultural ideas about the virus. They also dreamed big. In Episode 1, host Céline Gounder wonders how the U.S. might tap into similar “moral imagination” to prepare for the next public health crisis.

CDC to Reduce Funding for States’ Child Vaccination Programs

KFF Health News Original

Citing the recent debt ceiling deal, the CDC is trimming its funding to child vaccination programs that focus on communities vulnerable to disease outbreaks. The cuts come despite data showing the percentage of children getting vaccinated has dropped in recent years.