Matt Alvarez / IPR

Dr. Francois Abboud describes his coming to the United States as serendipitous.

In 1955, as a young up and coming doctor in Egypt, he had little knowledge of the United States' medical offerings. But after a family friend filled out an application for a fellowship at the University of Milwaukee, without his knowledge, he received an acceptance letter. He soon got married and within a few short months was on his way to America. This was the beginning of a medical career that has spanned more than six decades in the midwest

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Emergencies can bring out the best, and unfortunately, also the worst in people.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller about price gouging and other scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. IPR’s health reporter Natalie Krebs joins the program to discuss closures of all kinds, hospital restrictions and how suspected cases are being treated.

mike randol
John Pemble / IPR File

Department of Human Services officials told lawmakers Wednesday that it doesn’t plan to release the millions it’s withholding from one of the state’s Medicaid managed care organizations until 75 percent of provider claims are reprocessed.

John Pemble/IPR file

Last week, U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, stood up in front of the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. to share her painful story of living with endometriosis, a disease she was diagnosed with more than ten years ago.

The campanile on the Iowa State University campus.
Flickr / Alex Hanson

Updated on Thursday, March 12. Iowa's public universities are moving classes online from March 23 through April 3 as part of their strategies to contain COVID-19. The campuses at the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa will remain open, including residence halls and dining halls. 

Drake University in Des Moines is asking students to stay home after spring break and attend classes remotely through at least April 3.

Go here for more on how universities are responding and the latest updates on COVID-19 in Iowa.

Original post on Tuesday, March 10: Iowa’s public universities are preparing to offer all classes virtually in order to stop the possible spread of coronavirus on campus. The Board of Regents is asking the campuses in Ames, Iowa City and Cedar Falls to share their plans by Thursday morning.

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR file

State officials identified five more cases of COVID-19 Tuesday evening, bringing the total number of Iowans who tested presumptively positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus to 13. 

The five new cases are in Johnson County, and all of the individuals went on the same recent Egyptian cruise as the people in the seven other cases in that county. 

Novel Coronavirus Cases In The Midwest On The Rise

Mar 10, 2020

Cases of the novel coronavirus, the disease caused by the virus COVID-19, continue to mount throughout the Midwest. Some states have turned to closing K-12 schools or colleges. 

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The Iowa House has passed five bills related to increasing access to childcare.

Trust "Tru" Katsande / Unsplash

Iowa health officials have identified five additional "presumptive positive" cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. This brings the total cases to eight in Iowa.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa’s first three presumptive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have been detected in Johnson County, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Sunday.

Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier / Flickr

The state Department of Public Health is asking Iowans who have recently traveled to certain countries where the novel coronavirus is spreading to self-isolate for two weeks.

Jessica Hill / AP Photo

In many countries, the novel coronavirus continues to spread at a fast pace. As of March 3, the U.S. has confirmed nine deaths in the state of Washington, and there are 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska. How at risk is the U.S. as the number of confirmed cases increases and what is Iowa doing to prepare for a potential pandemic

Marcelo Leal / Unsplash

An 11-year-old boy playing baseball stops running, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. He cannot be resuscitated. One of his brothers survives a similar attack and no one can figure out why, until a medical team at the University of Iowa discovered an unknown genetic disorder.

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

A new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found the Iowa economy loses close to a billion dollars annually due to childcare issues.

Eelke / Flickr

The Iowa Department of Public Health says it is taking steps to monitor COVID-19 after federal officials say they expect the virus to spread in the U.S.

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The University of Iowa's 2020 What About ME(N) Summit seeks to "explore how our community can redefine masculinity and influence the culture we live in to end gender-based and interpersonal violence." Craig Bidiman, the summit's keynote speaker, joins host Charity Nebbe on this segment of Talk of Iowa to explore the masculine boxes men are placed in and why self-awareness, both mentally and physically, can be difficlut for some men to confront.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

In some parts of Iowa when you call 911, there’s no guarantee that an ambulance will be available, and this is a big problem in rural areas, where volunteers are scarce. That’s because emergency medical services are not considered essential, like fire or police.

Michael Zamora / The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool

Multiple child abuse reports to the Department of Human Services were mishandled leading up to the death of West Des Moines teenager Natalie Finn, according to a report released Monday by the state government ombudsman's office.

Michael Longmire / Unsplash

Iowa’s death rate from opioid overdoses is lower than many states, but it is increasing. A new study from the University of Iowa’s Injury Prevention Research Center presents ideas for getting ahead of this trend.

John Pemble / IPR

An Iowa Senate commerce subcommittee has advanced a bill that would require both of the state’s Medicaid managed care organizations to use the same process for approving payments to providers.

Amy Mayer / IPR File

A report released this week has found Iowa has made improvements when it comes to dealing with public health emergencies.

Presidencia de la República Mexicana / Flickr

A subcommittee of the House judiciary committee heard testimony on Wednesday for a bill that would put a cap on the amount of damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The bill would make $250,000 the maximum amount a jury could award for non-economic damages. The cap would not impact economic damages awarded for lost wages or healthcare costs.

Eelke / Flickr

The Iowa Department of Public Health says it has identified two people in the state who are undergoing evaluation and testing for the coronavirus. 

State medical director Caitlin Pedati said in a press conference on Facebook Live Wednesday afternoon that the two people are in isolation and are being tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lindsay Fox / Flickr

Iowa has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to preventing tobacco use, according to a new report by the American Lung Association. 

The Annual State of Tobacco Control report gave Iowa low grades in nearly every category. This includes failing grades for its tobacco prevention and control program funding and for the amount it taxes tobacco products.


Livia Knipp was only about halfway through her pregnancy when her water broke at 19 weeks. Doctors at the first hospital she visited gave her no hope for the survival of her unborn child. “They told me to start planning a funeral,” Knipp says.

After returning home from her initial hospital stay, Knipp took to Facebook to ask for prayers and support from friends and family and found the miracle suggestion she needed.

JamesYoung067 / Flickr

A simple eye scan could help detect Alzheimer's or determine the risk for this disease even before other symptoms are detectable. Two Iowa State University researchers received funding from the National Institute on Aging to continue a longitudinal study to better understand links between stress and Alzheimer as a means to help predict the likelihood in which people can develop the disease. 

LifeLine Pilots

Traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to seek medical attention is just one of many potential barriers to receiving care. One Midwestern organization is working to break down that barrier, and they're doing it at no cost to the patients in need. 

JD Mason/Unsplash

The impacts of trauma can be unexpected, affecting not only mental and emotional health but also physical well being. Through Trauma Sensitive Yoga, a modified yoga practice that prioritizes a healthy realtionship with one's body and similarly informed tai-chi programs, some survivors have found a new kind of relief.

Benjamin Combs / Upsplash

Have you ever been falling asleep, or waking up, and then become suddenly aware you're unable to move or speak?  

Neurologist and Director of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorders Program, Mark Dyken joins host Ben Kieffer on this edition of River to River to explain the science of sleep paralysis.  Later on, he answers questions from callers across Iowa about a wide range of sleep problems. 

Why This Free Health Clinic Is Pushing To Expand Medicaid

Jan 2, 2020

On a chilly afternoon, Terry Cox has come to Mountain View, Mo., to see a dentist. He’s waiting on a bench outside a converted rectory.

“Came to get a tooth check and see what they got to do to it," Cox says. "Maybe get ‘em all out.”

The 56-year-old works in northern Arkansas, and drove an hour and a half to the Good Samaritan Care Clinic.