Science, Health & Tech

We cover these essential linchpins of the Pittsburgh regional economy, and how they impact residents' personal health and employment. 

Carnegie Mellon University

In the United States, about a quarter of computer scientists are women. One dozen countries have better representation in the field, a fact that's explored in the book "Cracking the Digital Ceiling," published last month by Cambridge University Press and edited by two Carnegie Mellon University professors.

John Locher / AP


On today's program: How President Trump’s trade deal could affect PA; cyber security experts are looking for protection from Iranian attacks; a proposed EPA rule could limit public policy materials; APM’s Molly Wood talks about Pittsburgh’s shot as a tech hub; and a local exhibit explores Andy Warhol's complex relationship with Catholicism.

Charlie Neibergall / AP

A new app aims to enlist Pennsylvania's outdoors enthusiasts in identifying and cataloging invasive species.  

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

New research finds the violence prevention program Coaching Boys into Men is effective in mitigating harmful behavior among middle school students. The initiative trains coaches to speak to athletes about stopping violence against women and girls and has been a part of high school sports since its creation in the mid-2000s.

Jessica Hill / AP

Last year, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services launched what officials and researchers say is a first-of-its-kind program: a pay-for-performance effort to incentivize hospitals across the state to connect Medicaid patients who visit the emergency room for an opioid overdose with ongoing substance abuse treatment.


NASA is working to send astronauts to Mars, and one of them might bring along a Terrible Towel.

Facebook Page of Endless Mountains Health Systems

A new fiscal model aimed at keeping rural hospitals solvent is expanding in Pennsylvania, though this global budgeting strategy doesn’t always prevent facilities from operating at a loss.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA News

Air quality activists protested at the City County Building in downtown Pittsburgh, before Friday’s Allegheny County Board of Health meeting, to voice dissatisfaction with the county’s efforts to improve air quality.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

People with intellectual disabilities and those who advocate for them visited the state Capitol this week to oppose a bill to keep two Pennsylvania state centers open.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Several Democratic state senators are trying to convince GOP leaders to hold hearings on a raft of bills to guarantee healthcare to certain Pennsylvanians if the Affordable Care Act is struck down.

Two Firearms Safety Instructors Have A Plan To Prevent Suicides

Jan 7, 2020
Brett Sholtis / Transforming Health

 Most days of the week, Sarah Albrecht works as a doula and childbirth educator, where she’s learned to help women dealing with the stress of pregnancy, the pain of miscarriage and postpartum depression that seems to come out of nowhere.

Brett Sholtis / PA Post

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says his administration will work to improve mental health care in the commonwealth and remove the stigma experienced by many people struggling with mental illness.


People are increasingly turning to technology for ways to improve their lives, from saving money with budgeting apps or counting steps with fitness trackers. For people who need help dozing off, the mindfulness company Headspace offers so-called “sleepcasts,” which aim to help listeners wind down for bed with narrated tours of peaceful landscapes, including Pittsburgh.

Governor Outlines Effort To Bolster Mental Health Services

Jan 2, 2020
Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA

A broad effort to improve mental health services and change public perceptions of mental illness was announced Thursday by Pennsylvania' governor.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The organization that represents Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry says the City of Pittsburgh is rushing implementation of a paid sick leave ordinance.

PA Expands New Program To Keep Rural Hospitals Open

Dec 31, 2019
Google Maps

Eight additional hospitals across Pennsylvania will join the new Rural Health Model launched by the Governor’s Office and the state’s Department of Health. The model started off in early 2019 with five rural hospitals, mostly in the northeastern part of the state, and four private insurers, plus Medicaid.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Some Giant Eagle grocery stores are employing a unique method for monitoring inventory: a shelf-scanning robot named Tally. The slender, white, five-foot-tall machine, developed by San Francisco-based Simbe Robotics, has been gliding the aisles of the Aspinwall Giant Eagle for nearly a year now.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvanians working in the behavioral health care field have the chance to receive money from the state to pay off student loan debt.

Glenn Melvin / University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Jariatu Stallone remembers the impact the 2014 Ebola outbreak had on her home country of Sierra Leone.

“I witnessed a lot back there,” Stallone said. “The whole Ebola incident and how we sort of lack doctors back home.”

John Altdorfer / Point Park University

Point Park University won’t have to construct a playing field before its newest varsity sports team competes next fall. It will, however, have to invest in computers, video game consoles, headphones and other equipment.

Richard Vogel / AP

Proponents of marijuana legalization for recreational use often argue that cannabis is a far healthier option than alcohol and tobacco, and there is some data to back this up

David Eggert / AP

Like most people, Brett Stanford likes to unwind after work. Often he smokes cannabis, sometimes while watching the PBS period-drama “Downton Abbey.”

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Nancy Black has a host of health problems, including arthritis, fibromyalgia and asthma, and she used to have to take opioids every 12 hours for her pain. However, in 2018 she decided to stop taking her medication, which included OxyContin, and to use medical marijuana instead. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Telecommunications companies are putting a lot of energy into promoting 5G, the wireless service purported to be faster and better than what customers have ever had before. 


Western Pennsylvania is seeing more flu cases than what’s usually seen at this point during the season, according to state Department of Health data.

So far, Allegheny County is reporting that 1,223 people have gotten the flu. In comparison, only 137 people in the more populous Philidelphia County have reported coming down with the virus.

Eric Gay / AP


On today's program: PA’s Health Secretary considers how medical cannabis could expand; a pain medicine specialist is concerned about how quickly the program has already expanded; dispensary pharmacists have a unique job; and how can differing state and federal cannabis laws co-exist?   

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Markita Wilburn says cannabis got her through pharmacy school.


A new state report indicates that Pennsylvanians are breathing cleaner air. However, one big exception includes residents living near U.S. Steel's Clairton Coke Works facility in Allegheny County.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A student attending Arsenal Middle School in Lawrenceville has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics offer crisis care, substance and mental health treatment, and other crucial support in Pennsylvania and other states.