Stephanie Daniel | KUNC

Stephanie Daniel

Reporter, Education and General Assignment

I am the education reporter at KUNC but enjoy going outside that box to cover health, drug addiction and breaking news. I report on issues that impact the lives of all our Colorado communities.

Public radio is unique because reporters cover a broad range of local, national and global issues. For me, that means I get to report on an opioid addiction treatment program on the Eastern Plains one day and the Denver teacher’s strike the next. It’s the best part of my job.

I grew up in Colorado and, after living out-of-state for many years, am happy to be back. Before joining KUNC, I worked at New York Public Radio and on the podcasts Revisionist History and Empire on Blood. My reporting has been featured on NPR’s Latino USA and The Pulse. Prior to my journalism career, I wrote and produced commercials and marketing videos for TV shows and media companies.

My reporting on the opioid epidemic was part of The Fix: Treating New York’s Opioid Crisis. The podcast won a national award from the Association for Health Care Journalists and a Regional Edward R. Murrow award. Locally, I have won awards from the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists Top Of The Rockies. In 2018, I was selected to be an EWA Reporting Fellow by the Education Writers Association.

When I’m not working, I love going on adventures and have visited more than 20 countries. I also like to explore local areas, snowboard, ride my bike and hang out with my family and friends.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be celebrated on Jan. 20 this year. Although the federal holiday is an annual tradition across the country, it wasn't always that way.

It took several attempts to get King honored in Colorado, and the person responsible for that is Wilma Webb. She served in Colorado's House of Representatives for six terms and is also the former first lady of Denver — her husband, Wellington Webb, was the city's mayor from 1991 to 2003.

Edith Matesic teaches at orientation
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Matthew Roberts has been a certified nursing assistant for five years.

"I really enjoy like a lot of the patient contact you get," he said.

But the 23-year-old is taking his career to the next level. Roberts recently wrapped up his associate degree at Front Range Community College in Westminster. After he passes the licensing exam, Roberts will be a registered nurse (RN).

Sara Quale / Banner Health

A mental health crisis can be exacerbated by the challenges of aging. McKee Medical Center in Loveland plans to address this with a new unit specifically for seniors with behavioral health care needs.

The inpatient unit is for short-term, acute care and will serve people aged 55 and older.

Loveland has a lack of psychiatric inpatient beds, said Shelly Cox, behavioral health services director. Seniors will often travel to Denver or Fort Morgan to receive medical care.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Clark Bacco whips out his harmonica and plays a short tune. Today, music is an icebreaker at the orientation session he's leading in a conference room in Greeley.

When the song is done, Clark dives right into the presentation.

"Here's our first slide. Welcome," he says. "Welcome to Frontier House."

Brandon Giesbrecht / CC BY 2.0

Colorado and local cities and counties are suing opioid manufacturers and distributors. The lawsuits are part of larger, national litigations which are still pending. While thousands of plaintiffs wait for a decision, a local nonpartisan health policy organization posed this question:

With a hypothetical $100 million settlement, how would you combat Colorado's opioid crisis?

Courtesy Tamera Breidenbach

Colorado State University is part of the international climate talks. About a dozen CSU students are in Madrid, Spain for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, participating in the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25).

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

"A Christmas Carol" is a holiday classic. This week the play will be performed at the University of Denver, but this particular show is different. The cast and crew are 40 incarcerated women from the Denver Women's Correctional Facility. This is the first-time incarcerated individuals will take a theatre production outside prison walls and perform in public.

Illuminate Colorado

There is a traditional treatment for babies experiencing withdrawal from opioids: newborns are separated from their mothers and taken to the neonatal intensive care unit to receive tapered doses of morphine or methadone. They can stay in the hospital for weeks.

A Colorado-based collaborative is changing this approach.

Herminia Garcia and Ken Winn
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Joaquin Garcia is a big, strong 6-year-old boy who loves sports.

"He plays everything," said his mom, Herminia Garcia. "I have him playing basketball. He loves football. He loves tossing that ball, he's really good with his arm. He's doing a little bit of soccer."

But when Joaquin was a toddler, Garcia said he couldn't control his physical movements. Joaquin didn't know how to push his toy car. He wouldn't make eye contact when she spoke to him. Joaquin was emotional and aggressive.

United Health Foundation

Rural Coloradans may have better access to psychiatric care soon.

The United Health Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence to address a shortage of mental health providers in rural areas. The grant will recruit and support 39 working rural Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Behavioral Health Fellows while they earn a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) certificate.