Sheilah Kast | WYPR

Sheilah Kast

Host, On The Record

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.  Originally, she hosted WYPR's  Dupont-Columbia University award-winning Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast from 2006 - October 2015.  She began her career at The Washington Star, where she covered the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, utilities, energy and taxes, as well as financial and banking regulation.  She learned the craft of broadcasting at ABC News; as a Washington correspondent for fifteen years, she covered the White House, Congress, and the 1991 Moscow coup that signaled the end of the Soviet empire.  Sheilah has been a substitute host on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Diane Rehm Show.  She has launched and hosted two weekly interview shows on public TV, one about business and one about challenges facing older people.

RX: Laughter

Mar 17, 2017
Poi Photography/Flickr via Creative Commons

Laughter is the best medicine. It turns out there’s science to back up that old adage. Research has shown that a good belly laugh on a regular basis is as effective at lowering blood pressure as medication. Dr. Michael Miller directs the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He’s also the author of “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.” And his prescription doesn’t require a trip to the pharmacy. “We’re looking at about 5 to 15 minutes of laughter that either brings tears to your eyes or after the laughter episode is finished, you feel relaxed,” he says.

Larry C. Price/Undark Magazine

For a long time we’ve heard about the problems our love of cheap clothing causes around the world: problems like lax environmental and safety regulations, and child labor. Today we’re going to zero in on an industry you may not have heard as much about: leather. A riveting four-part visual tour of textile and tannery industries around the globe recently appeared in the online magazine Undark. We plan to focus on the tannery portion. Freelance journalists Debbie and Larry Price produced the series, with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Both are former Baltimore Sun staffers and both join us from a studio near their home in Dayton, Ohio.

The older you are, the more likely you take multiple prescription drugs. More medications mean more risks - potential drug interactions and a greater chance of making a mistake. Dr. Nicole Brandt, executive director of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s ‘Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging’, discusses how patients can talk to their doctors about paring down the number of med they’re taking.

Then, millions of seniors live with chronic pain. Dr. Beth Hogans, head of the National Institutes of Health ‘Center of Excellence for Pain Education’ at Johns Hopkins and medical director of the ‘Chronic Pain Program’ at Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital, offers strategies to reduce pain and increase quality of life.

Baltimore City is home to more than 30,000 veterans. It is also home to the Veterans Treatment Court - a special docket of Maryland’s District Court - which aims to rehabilitate, rather than incarcerate, former military members. We speak to two social workers from the VA-Maryland Health Care System, who work with veterans facing criminal charges, as well as with a Vietnam vet who graduated in January from the docket.

Cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can be harrowing, and the cancer often returns. But a new treatment has come into use: it harnesses the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer. So far, immunotherapy doesn’t work in most patients. But when it does, the results can seem miraculous. Cancer survivor Stephanie Joho had run out of treatment options when she discovered immunotherapy. She recalls a moment soon after she started treatment: “I sat at the dinner table and I remember crying. Because I looked at my parents and I said, ‘I’m hungry.’ I didn’t remember what that felt like. I hadn’t felt hunger in probably over a year.” She and Dr. Drew Pardoll, director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins, join us.

How many people can call Antarctica home? Here's Meg Adams speaking in 2011 about her time living at the South Pole research station in Antarctica. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at stoopstorytelling.com.

Today we continue our coverage of the $130 million dollar budget gap facing Baltimore City Schools. How does state funding for the schools work? Are the formulas that guide that funding adequate? Bebe Verdery, director of the ACLU of Maryland’s Education Reform Project, says that while factors like rising costs and falling enrollment are partly to blame for the massive budget shortfall, the real culprit is the funding formula itself.

Unless something changes, this coming fiscal year Baltimore City’s public schools will operate with their funds cut to close a $130 million budget gap, the largest in years. Schools CEO Sonja Santelises says more than a thousand people will be laid off. What would a cut of this magnitude mean for students? Today we hear from the principal of an elementary and middle school in Northeast Baltimore that stands to lose more than 20 percent of its funding. Dr. Patricia Drummond, principal of Hamilton Elementary Middle School in Northeast Baltimore, says, “When I saw my budget, I cried. I know how far we have come since I’ve been at Hamilton. And I just didn’t see a way that we can do that next year.” 

President Trump’s plan to cut diplomacy and foreign-aid budgets by more than a third has drawn a sharp push back from many former diplomats, retired generals, international aid advocates and members of Congress--including some Republicans. The chairman of a key Senate appropriations subcommittee called the idea “dead on arrival.” We’ll ask Bill O’Keefe, Vice President for Advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, and retired Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum what they think would result from deep cuts in foreign aid.

In his speech to Congress, President Trump blamed a “slow and burdensome approval process” for holding up medical progress and drug development. We look at whom the president is considering to lead the Food and Drug Administration and how that choice might affect the process of approving drugs for market. Plus, what are the consequences of two of the president’s executive orders - one demanding that two regulations be cut for each new one adopted and another instituting a hiring freeze. 

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