Sarah Boden

Science, Health And Tech Reporter

Sarah Boden covers health, science and technology for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

Sarah’s reporting has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and WBUR's Here and Now. She has won multiple awards, including a regional Edward R. Murrow for her story on a legal challenge to Iowa's felon voting ban.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Labor organizers demonstrated outside UPMC headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday to highlight two August rulings by the National Labor Relations Board that found the state’s largest hospital system violated workers’ rights.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A clean needle exchange that provides free syringes to drug users could soon open in the Carrick neighborhood, making it the first needle exchange in the southern part of the city.

Jeff Chiu / AP

New research from Duquesne University finds when a patient requests a high dose prescription for a certain epilepsy medication, it could be a warning sign of illicit drug use.

Carnegie Mellon University

The dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science is leaving higher ed at the end of the year to lead Google Cloud AI.

DIANE CORDELL / Flickr

UPMC patients can get their flu vaccines starting this week, but unlike previous years, these immunizations were not manufactured with chicken eggs.

When Ray Santori was 10, his mother died. His father had died the year before, so an aunt and uncle near Pittsburgh took him in.

Not long after that at Saint Bernadette Church in Monroeville, Pa., Santori met Father William Yockey, who according to the recent grand jury report, sexually assaulted him for about two years.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researcher has received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a pilot program to help HIV patients manage their chronic pain.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

“We’re still hiring humans” proclaims a billboard situated just east of the 31st Street Bridge near Lawrenceville. On the sign, a coy, Pixar-looking automaton beckons engineers and programmers to apply to nearly a dozen positions at Carnegie Robotics.  

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

US Steel says it will replace equipment, hire more staff, improve training and increase monitoring at its Clairton Coke Works plant.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A program that works to improve health outcomes by providing stable housing is expanding from Allegheny County to other parts of Pennsylvania.

Julio Cortez / AP

Bishop David Zubik said over the course of 30 years, the Pittsburgh Diocese has made changes in how it prevents and responds to accusations of clergy abuse, including psychological screenings of seminarians so as to identify potential issues in men before they enter the priesthood.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Similar to infant changing tables, an adult changing table is basically a cot, but one that’s sturdy enough to support several hundred pounds of weight, and can be adjusted for height. Many people may be unaware that these tables even exist, in part because there are so few of them. But they’re necessary.

Mark / Flickr

A new analysis estimates that Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market will rake in $60 million in revenue this year, a number that's expected to quadruple to about $240 million by 2020.

Jim Stauffer / Flickr

The Allegheny County Health Department will spray select areas with pesticide Thursday evening, following recent samples of mosquitos that tested positive for West Nile Virus.

tengrrl / Flickr

The suicide rate among survivors of head and neck cancers is more than four times higher than suicide among the general U.S. population; male survivors of these cancers are six times more likely than females to commit suicide.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Pennsylvania is one of six states starting a pilot program providing reemployment services to people with a history of opioid use.

Funding comes from a $22 million grant overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly $5 million of which will go to Pennsylvania. The grant will run through the end of June 2019, and be administration by the state Department of Labor and Industry.

Daveynin / Flickr

A new health insurance rule from the Trump administration is being criticized by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. The agency said the policy, issued Wednesday, would jeopardize those who buy health insurance on the individual market. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Kids from the Homewood-Brushton YMCA recently explored outer space – by journeying to a Bridgeville business park.

The space-themed, three-day field trip was hosted by DDI tech workers, a leadership consulting company. They invited kids from the Y Creator Space program, which teaches, “innovation, collaboration, and problem-solving skills through projects involving 3D printing, robotics, graphic design, circuitry, engineering, and more," according to the program's website.

David Zalubowski / AP

Starting Wednesday, people with medical marijuana cards will be able to buy the product in dry leaf form at more than a dozen Pennsylvania dispensaries, including stores in Squirrel Hill and the Strip District.

Previously, medical marijuana first had to be processed into other forms, such as pills, liquids or topical ointments. Patients are still prohibited from smoking it, but can consume the product with a vaporizer.

Gov. Tom Wolf said the new policy increases access and options for consumers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is back in compliance for the amount of lead in its drinking water, according to results from the latest round of testing showing levels at 10 parts per billion.

UPMC

A march is scheduled on Tuesday ahead of a public hearing at Pittsburgh’s city council about a proposed UPMC vision and rehabilitation hospital in Uptown.

Colin Charles / Flickr

New analysis from the University of Pittsburgh has found a link between alcohol and perceived physical attractiveness. In other words, “beer goggles” are real.

Researchers looked at data from some 1,800 people collected from 16 previous studies. Participants rated the attractiveness of people in photographs, about half were drinking, and the other sober.

The intoxicated group gave modestly higher scores.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh ranks fourth out of all large U.S. metropolitan areas in the number of days where the air posed moderate-to-serious health risks, according to new analysis from a statewide environmental organization.

Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research

The virtual reality simulation “Opioid Rescue” opens with an unconscious man lying on a basement floor next to an empty syringe.

“The first thing I’m going to do is try to talk to him and see if he’s conscious,” said Grace Mueller, an intern at the University of Pittsburgh’s Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research, also known as WISER.

“Are you OK? Wake up!” a female voice asked the unconscious man.

“It seems like he’s not responding so I’m going to try and shake his shoulders,” she said.

Sarah Boden / WESA News

The death of black teenager Antwon Rose at the hands of a white police officer has been a catalyst for social activism in Pittsburgh, and might also stir up past trauma for people of color.  

Sue Ogrocki / AP

A new algorithm created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University could help geneticists understand the DNA replication process and how it varies from organism to organism. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Protesters gathered in Mellon Square in downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, calling for an end to the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families that are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Patrick Semansky / AP

In January, 39-year-old Damian Chadwick died at a Bethel Park barbershop a little before 2 p.m. According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, the overdose death was due to a combination of cocaine, alcohol and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

As the opioid epidemic rages on, more and more places from libraries to Goodwill stores are keeping the anti-overdose drug naloxone on hand. 

Since September, all YMCAs of Greater Pittsburgh have had somoene on duty who’s trained to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of an overdose by restarting a person’s breathing.

Mel Evans / AP

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health finds that opioid-related overdose deaths are being underreported, and this means the epidemic may be worse than it appears.

Potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national estimates between 1999 and 2015. Researchers estimates that 1,307 of those deaths where in Pennsylvania, the largest number of any state.

Mark Thiessen / AP

Microscopic mites are causing extreme itching in Pennsylvania’s black bears, leading to hair loss, lesions, infections and even death.

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