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.

Karlie Huckles / KUNC

Lesley Pizana, 18, sat at a table in the school library at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. She was eager to find out more about the opioid epidemic.

“My topic is focusing on the different type of treatments of heroin, opiate addiction,” said Pizana.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

The exam room at Salud Family Health Center in Fort Collins is pretty standard – medical table, cabinets with a sink and a couple chairs. Here, a female patient in her 50s finishes up appointments with Dr. Amelia Vitrosko and Cynthina Conner, a behavior health counselor. She meets with both providers to receive buprenorphine, a type of medication-assisted treatment.

Colorado has about 5,000 open educator positions every year -- but the supply has not kept up with the demand. On Dec. 1, the state released a plan to address the statewide shortage and get teachers back in the classroom.

The Colorado Departments of Education and Higher Education outlined their recommendations in a strategic plan that was submitted to the state legislature. The plan has four key goals: improve teacher retention, increase pay and benefits, attract talent to high-need areas and produce more graduates from educator programs.

KUNC’s Stephanie Daniel spoke with Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Department of Higher Education, to learn more about the recommendations.

Wikimedia Commons

The opioid epidemic is affecting more and more Coloradoans every year, including the youngest members of our communities: babies.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the number of Colorado newborns born addicted to opioids jumped 83 percent from 2010 to 2015. The rate climbed from two births out of 1,000 to 3.6 births in during that five-year period.

Dr. Daniel Krivoy, MD / Flickr

More than 75,000 children and pregnant women could lose their health care early next year. 

In late November, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing sent informational letters to Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members advising them to start researching private health insurance options. Federal funding, which pays for 88 percent of the program, ended on September 30, 2017. Colorado only has sufficient funds to continue operations through January 31, 2018.

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

When a safe injection facility was first introduced, Rep. Jonathan Singer was on the fence. Before taking public office, he had worked with people struggling with addiction. This experience made him wary of giving heroin users a place where they could safely inject their drugs.

“The last thing I thought I wanted to do was to encourage them to continue using,” he said. “By providing them with a safe space to do that, I thought I might actually be rewarding that behavior that we didn’t want to see.”

But since then Singer has changed his mind. 

VIBE 105 / Flickr

In 2018, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers plan to submit several bills to combat Colorado’s growing opioid addiction crisis. Hundreds of people in the state have died, and the bills aim to reverse that trend, coving a range of solutions from prevention to intervention to treatment.

The state legislative session starts up in January. Ahead of that, we look at the main aims of six bills.

Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Aims Community College opened a time capsule from 1993 in January. Then, on October 25, a new capsule was dedicated with instructions to open it in 2067.