Natalie Krebs

Health Reporter

Natalie Krebs is the health reporter for Iowa Public Radio.

Natalie joined Iowa Public Radio in May 2019. She previously worked as an independent producer in west Texas covering everything from immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border to environmental issues in the Permian Basin.

Natalie is a native Minnesotan. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Natalie’s favorite public radio program is The World.

Ways to Connect

Just a few weeks ago, some Midwest state legislatures were aiming to raise the legal age for smoking. But Congress moved first, setting a new national age limit of 21. Now, some anti-smoking advocates say that’s not enough. 

The federal government recently raised the smoking age to 21 to help curb teen vaping.  Some are applauding the decision as a win for public health. Others worry it was a knee-jerk reaction.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Department of Human Services Director Kelly Garcia said despite recent payment issues, she is confident that Iowa Total Care is committed to the state's Medicaid program.

mike randol
Katarina Sostaric / IPR File

The state will withhold $44 million from Iowa Total Care, one of the two managed care organizations contracted to run the state's Medicaid program.

calvinnivlac / Flickr

Starting January 1, a mandate goes into effect requiring all Iowa health care providers, except veterinarians, to submit prescriptions electronically.

CBD Collection / Flickr

The state attorney general’s office is reminding Iowans that cannabidiol, or CBD, products are not legal under state law.

VCU Capital News Service / Flickr

A new state program will provide free opioid overdose reversal kits to Iowans.

Jenny Lee Silver / Flickr

Public officials say they're not sure why there has been a sharp decline in the number of people in Iowa using a state family planning program. 

According to a Department of Human Services report presented at a council meeting on Wednesday, 1,502 people used the program in 2018, a sharp drop from nearly 5,857 in 2017.

DHS Director Kelly Garcia said more information is needed to figure out the reasons for the decline.

RelaxingMusic / Flickr

An Iowa State University study has found more Americans are now struggling to fall - and stay - asleep.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Across the country, nearly 95,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant, including more than 500 in Iowa, and that list has been growing for years. This has pushed some to try unusual ways to find donors.

Courtesy of Planned Parenthood

Iowans will now have a new online tool to find the nearest clinic that offers abortions.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

More than two dozen experts, parents and lawmakers gathered in West Des Moines on Friday to discuss issues surrounding childcare in the state.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Judy Morrison said trouble began days after her mom died in 2016. That’s when her father found more than $600,000 missing from her mother’s bank account.

Government of Prince Edward Island / Flickr

The state Department of Public Health has reported that two people have died from the flu. These are the first flu-related deaths reported in the state this year.


Iowa has one of the lowest survival rates for lung cancer in the nation, according to a new report by the American Lung Association.

Courtesy of UnityPoint Health

UnityPoint Health, one of Iowa's largest healthcare systems, has called off its merger with South Dakota-based Sanford Health.

Joyce Russell / IPR file

The state attorney general's office has announced it will launch a tracking and reporting system for rape kits. 

Lisa Nolan / Flickr

A new report has found that nearly one in ten Iowa children are born pre-term. 

Lindsey Moon / IPR file

Open enrollment for Iowans who get their health coverage through the Affordable Care Act begins on Nov. 1. 

John Pemble / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds will not pursue an executive order to ban vaping in Iowa. Instead, state health and education officials will focus on educational programs and a social media campaign warning minors of the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Figuring out America's health care system can be hard for anyone. It can be especially challenging for refugees, who often face significant language and cultural barriers. But one group is trying to bridge that gap by training refugees as health navigators in their own communities.

Gabrielle Ludlow / Flickr

An Iowa State state study has found that two out of five young adults have a substance use disorder.

The study, which was published in the Journal of American College Health, surveyed more than 3,200 young adults both in college and not in college and found nearly 40 percent of college students and more than 44 percent of their non-college peers had at least one substance use disorder within the past year. 

Lindsey Moon/IPR

Health care, and how to pay for it, is one of the biggest topics of debate this election season. More than half the state’s hospitals are operating in the red, according to the Iowa Hospital Association, while the Kaiser Family Foundation found Iowans’ per capita spending on healthcare is sharply increasing

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

More than 50,000 -- or 16 percent -- of Iowa's children ages 10 to 17 are considered obese, according to data released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

Iowa health experts have been awarded a $10 million grant to study the state’s increasing maternal mortality rate.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

Jessica Sheridan’s plan was to have her first daughter at the local hospital, five minutes from her house in Iowa Falls. But when she was seven months pregnant, that plan suddenly changed.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

Schools are often on the forefront in spotting mental health issues in children. But historically educators have received little training in this area. In Iowa, legislators have set aside $2 million to expand mental health training in schools. But when nearly a quarter of kids are estimated to have a psychiatric disorder, some people want the state to do more.

Mike Mozart/Flickr

Iowa has one of the highest obesity rates in the country, according new report by the non-profit Trust for America's Health.

More than 35 percent of Iowans are considered obese, making it seventh in the nation. That's significantly higher than the national rate of about 31 percent, according to the report.

wind turbine
Michael Leland/IPR

At least two dozen people expressed concerns to the Madison County Board of Supervisors Tuesday about an ordinance that would halt the construction of wind turbines for at least two years.


The proposed ordinance has come in response to concerns about potential health impacts from the turbines from the county board of health.


The board has recommended that turbines be built at least a mile and a half from houses.



A recent study by the University of Iowa found many rural Iowans may not be receiving care that meets an accrediting group’s standards.