Carter Barrett

Carter is a reporter based at WFYI in Indianapolis, Indiana. A long-time Hoosier, she is thrilled to stay in her hometown to cover public health. Previously, she covered education for WFYI News with a focus on school safety. Carter graduated with a journalism degree from Indiana University, and previously interned with stations in Bloomington, Indiana and Juneau, Alaska.

Update, Sept. 9, 2020: AstraZeneca announced that its COVID-19 vaccine trial is on hold. Read more.

The Indiana University School of Medicine announced it has been selected to participate in an international COVID-19 vaccine trial.  

Floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters can devastate a town in just a few hours. But the impact on residents can linger for years in the form of anxiety, depression or other mental health problems. 

As colleges across the country welcome students back to campus, incoming freshmen are starting college in the middle of a pandemic. And, many are struggling with a tough decision to start or defer college this fall.

As national and state leaders struggle to get COVID-19 under control, minority groups are at a higher risk for the virus. And that includes Indianapolis’ Burmese refugees, a tight-knit community. But providing these refugees with accurate information about the virus has been a challenge for public health workers. 

Indianapolis Public Schools leaders hosted a virtual discussion Friday on how to talk to children about race. This was the district’s third and final public event tackling race. 

Ali Schroer was just out of college when she started her first teaching job, but her new insurance plan didn’t cover her allergy medication. 

"So this new allergist that I was seeing in Colorado had said, after several go arounds of me asking to take this medication, said, ‘Oh, well actually know that you can just get it online.”'

This spring, as it became clear COVID-19 was hitting African-Americans especially hard, Indianapolis-area health officials vowed to set up testing sites in “hotspot” neighborhoods. One opened in predominantly Black Arlington Woods, at a respected local institution: Eastern Star Church.

Protesters in downtown Columbus on June 2, 2020.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Columbus City Council last week passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. Cuyahoga County and Summit County leaders have considered similar declarations, as demonstrations flare up across the country to protest the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police.

Here’s something that might surprise you: A new national survey shows that regardless of political affiliation, Americans mostly agree on how to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic—slowly—and with protective measures like face masks.

Some fear the stress of social isolation, historic unemployment and health fears during the pandemic threatens our mental health. Dozens of national organizations raised concerns to Congress that the U.S. is unprepared to handle what may be a mental health crisis.

In partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, Columbia Journalism Investigations and Side Effects Public Media.

Every year, weather-related disasters ravage communities across the United States: floods in the Farm Belt, fires in the West and hurricanes along the South and East coasts.

Scientists say these disasters also lead to skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. One survey of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that a third had mood disorders, and suicidal thoughts more than doubled. Many studies suggest similar outcomes after wildfires and floods.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced hospitals and doctors to move much of their work online. That shift to telehealth required big changes -- from relaxing federal regulations to getting buy-in from doctors. Now the question is whether it can sustain the momentum built amid "stay-home" orders.

A medical professional performs the COVID-19 test at a drive up testing site in Merrillville, Indiana.
Justin Hicks / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Behind a nondescript strip mall in Carmel, Indiana, a short line of cars gathers mid-afternoon next to a large tent. Medical professionals stand out front, dressed head to toe in blue medical gear. People in the cars – many of them first responders – drive up to get checked for COVID-19.

This story is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Alfarena McGinty is the chief deputy coroner for Marion County, which oversees metropolitan Indianapolis -- which has had the largest outbreak of the new coronavirus in the state. She spoke with Side Effects reporter Carter Barrett about what it’s been like on the front lines of the county’s morgue, tough choices during this crisis, and how the pandemic reached personal life too. 

This story is produced in partnership with Columbia Journalism Investigations, the Center for Public Integrity and Side Effects Public Media.

The coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on Indiana 211, the phone and text service that connects Hoosiers with resources was swamped last month with calls. 

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