Sakuto via flickr creative commons /

People in need of warmth and shelter in eastern Iowa can find around the clock services during this week’s cold snap. Meterologists and public health officials are warning the blast of Arctic air can be life-threatening, and anyone exposed can develop hypothermia or frostbite within a matter of minutes. Here are some of the services and resources available in the eastern part of the state for those looking to get out of the cold:

Photo Courtesy of Courtney Crowder / Wes Craft Photography

After years spent struggling with and recovering from severe anorexia Courtney Crowder experienced a painful moment when she was preparing for her wedding, the kind of moment that could trigger a relapse. After she dried her tears, she opened up and shared that moment and her years of struggle with readers in the Des Moines Register. 

"Keeping myself thin and keeping the disease a secret became my life," she says. "There was a time when I was eating 400 calories a day."

Vaping360 via flickr creative commons /

Iowa public health officials are considering allowing medical marijuana access for some children with severe autism. But advocates are pushing to expand that access to all patients regardless of age.

Wikimedia Commons

For children or adults with intellectual disabilities who exhibit disruptive behaviors, medication is usually the first response. A psychologist in Des Moines is trying to change that.

Maria Valdovinos is a professor of psychology at Drake University. She is helping to train others in applied behavior analysis, an approach that can dramatically improve lives for those with behavioral challenges and the people who love them and work with them.

During this Talk of Iowa conversation, she talks with host Charity Nebbe.

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons /

Starting this month more hepatitis C patients can qualify for care under Iowa Medicaid. But some doctors and advocates argue the remaining restrictions are immoral and illegal. 

Marco Verch / flickr

A year-end report shows that the obesity rate in Iowa has jumped from 32 percent in 2016 to 36 percent in 2017. That's the steepest increase in over a decade. 

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Nicole Kennedy, director of operations for Live Healthy Iowa, and Jacque Schwartz, a clinical dietician at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines about the increase and how to set healthy new year weight loss goals. 

Penn State via flickr creative commons /

The first class of physicians’ assistants from the University of Dubuque graduated Friday. The new program is coming online as Iowa is facing a potential shortage of PAs. 

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons /

Hundreds of Iowans are traveling out of state to get an abortion. Advocates say the relative cost of the procedure, and the lack of available appointments and providers are pushing some to travel hundreds of miles to get care.

John Pemble

Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and makes it harder to breathe over time. It causes a sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, and also in the pancreas and other organs.

While the condition is difficult to live with, methods of treatment have improved vastly in the past few decades.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Iowa’s long awaited medical cannabis program began Saturday, as people with certain medical conditions were able to buy medical marijuana at five dispensaries in the state.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Five dispensaries across Iowa will begin distributing medical cannabis products for approved patients on Saturday.

The head of Iowa’s Department of Human Services says the state’s regional mental health system is working, despite some counties leaving their regions and joining others. In Iowa, counties group together to manage and deliver their own mental health and disability services.

Joyce Russell/IPR file

Iowa’s outgoing state auditor says the Department of Human Services is correctly calculating the savings from having private companies manage Iowa Medicaid. But the lawmaker who asked for an audit says the report doesn’t provide good answers.

The management of Iowa Medicaid was handed over to private companies in 2016. Auditor Mary Mosiman, a Republican, says the state’s estimate of $126 million in savings this year, as of early November, is accurate.  In May, the state projected $141 million in savings, nearly triple last December’s projection of $47 million.

Rob Kall/flickr


When should you start talking to kids about sexuality, consent, and safe relationships?


“Birth,” says professor Alison Oliver, who teaches courses on human sexuality in the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa.

World Food Prize


This week, British economist Lawrence Haddad and physician David Nabarro received the World Food Prize at a ceremony in the Iowa State Capitol.


The Des Moines-based prize honors the pair’s use of research to show political and business leaders that improving pregnant mother and child nutrition is critical to economic health. This work has been credited with reducing the number of stunted children globally by 10 million between 2012 and 2017.


Katie Peikes/IPR

Dentists from around the state gave free care to hundreds of people in Sioux City Friday. For many of the patients, it’s difficult to afford such care on a routine basis.

hiv test
Katarina Sostaric/IPR file

Public health researchers believe illegal needle exchanges are reducing transmission of hepatitis c in Iowa. Advocates hope the data will help build support for legalizing the practice in the state. 

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons /

Some public health advocates say Iowa’s Medicaid program is illegally denying treatment for certain hepatitis c patients. With drugs that can cure 98 percent of patients, care for the potentially deadly disease is incredibly effective, but also incredibly expensive.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline


A significant community push from the community is supporting the opening of a detox center in Sioux City.

On this hour or River to River, Executive Director Siouxland Human Investment Partnership Matt Ohman and Director of Four Directions Community Center in Sioux City and native community advocate Frank LaMere join host Ben Kiefer to discuss efforts to establish comprehensive care for community members struggling with addiction and homelessness in the Sioux City area.

Todd Huffman / Creative Commons


Opioid-related deaths are on the rise in Iowa, and research suggests that needle exchanges may be effective in decreasing drug-related deaths.


Rehab Center Vita / (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Advocates for a planned western Iowa detoxification center for people recovering from addiction say there is a real need for one that serves Native American and homeless people.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

When bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics, people can end up with infections that don’t respond to available medicines. Now Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and other partners are creating the Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education. The goal is to bring together human, animal and environmental studies of antibiotic use and resistance.

Charity Nebbe



What happens after we die? It’s a question that we can’t answer. But more and more people are reporting what happened to them during a "near-death experience." And if you listen closely to their stories, some fascinating clues to the question emerge.

OTA Photos / Flickr

Single mothers living in poverty can improve their health when they take charge of their financial lives, according to preliminary findings that researchers now hope to demonstrate in a much larger study.

Vaping360 via flickr creative commons /

The mayor of Cedar Rapids says his city is ready to capitalize on the state’s medical marijuana industry. That's after state officials awarded a license to the company Iowa Relief, LLC to build a cannabis manufacturing center in the city.

suzanna de baca
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a law Friday requiring women seeking abortions to wait 72 hours between an initial appointment and getting the procedure.

In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled the waiting period violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution.

Courtesy of The National Institute on Drug Abuse

A new addiction treatment clinic is now open in Burlington. The facility will offer medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, a somewhat controversial approach that pairs behavioral therapy with medication. Staff members behind the new center hope to counteract the stigma some drug users are facing. 

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Liliana Moreno

Days after her son Sergei died by suicide, Mary Neubauer and her husband Larry Loss, decided to publicly share their story.

“It was just heartbreaking for Larry and me, as his parents, to watch this vivacious funny loving outgoing kid just disintegrate in front of our eyes,” says Neubauer, “and no matter how much we helped, or how much we loved him, we just couldn’t stop it from happening.”

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Neubauer about her family’s struggle to get Sergei the mental health care he needed.

Emily Woodbury

Hippotherapy, or therapeutic horseback riding, uses the movement of horses to help individuals improve their neuromotor function, including coordination, balance, and strength.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe visits Miracles in Motion, where children and adults with special needs come for hippotherapy and therapeutic riding lessons. 

Country View Care Center /

Black Hawk County officials are considering two offers to take over the county-run nursing home. But some community members don’t want the center to be privatized.