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.

MorgueFile / Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: Senate Bill 40, the bill to create a supervised injection facility, was rejected by a Republican-led legislative panel on Feb. 14.

Efforts to create a safe place for users of heroin and other injectable drugs to use have hit some challenges in their legislative journey. Part of a group of six bipartisan bills, Senate Bill 40 would allow for supervised injection facilities in the state. In addition to providing a place for drug users to inject, the site would also provide clean needles and access to health care and treatment referrals.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Charge nurse Kory Scheideman stood at a computer in an emergency room at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. He typed in his password, hit enter and Pyxis, the automated machine that dispenses medication, opened. He pulled out a dose of lidocaine.

“We use it for numbing people,” he said. “We also now use it for kidney stones.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Huerfano County in southern Colorado is suing a long list of the nation’s top pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit claims residents of the county were led to believe opioids, like oxycodone and Percocet, were safe. Instead, the drugs were highly addictive and, in some cases, led to overdoses and deaths.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Emergency departments in Colorado have cut back on the use of opioids in a pilot study so successful that it surprised its primary architect.

Ten emergency departments were part of the six-month Opioid Safety Pilot Study overseen by Dr. Donald Stader, associate medical director of Swedish Medical Center’s emergency room in Denver. Opioid usage was reduced by 36 percent. That’s more than double the expectations researchers had set for the study.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Jonathan West reached over and adjusted the young girl's fingers as she plucked the viola strings.

"Why do we do the rainbow?" he said.

"So that you don't touch the other strings," she replied.

U.S. Army Research Laboratory / Flickr

The National Science Foundation released its Science and Engineering Indicators report for 2018 and the United States tops the global list of countries. The data provides insight into how the U.S. stacks up compared to the rest of the world when it comes to science and technology.

Colorado PERA

The Colorado legislative session is underway and one of the biggest issues facing lawmakers is what to do about a shortfall in the retirement fund for teachers. The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association is 58 percent funded.

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.