At the intersection of health and public policy

Editor’s note: The following appeared as sponsored content in No. 8 in the series eBella eXtra, a digital magazine — offered in addition to the monthly print magazine — that looks at “issues between the issues.” The theme of the issue was “To Your Health.”

Information for everyone’s health and well-being always has been a part of the public media mission.

As Southwest Florida’s source for PBS and NPR, WGCU has broadcast the latest developments in medicine, disease and healthcare for more than 35 years. But perhaps never has WGCU’s mission been more focused on education at the intersection of health and public policy as it is today.

In addition to thorough coverage of COVID-19 on national public media, WGCU’s local reporters have been busy putting questions from regional people about the pandemic to a panel of local experts on Gulf Coast Life radio shows most Mondays ( Tune in to 90.1 FM or 91.7 FM at 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The public is invited to a June 17 virtual town hall titled, 100 Days of the Coronavirus,” sponsored by WGCU, The News-Press and Naples Daily News. Panelists will discuss education, healthcare, hospitality and the human impact of COVID-19 on local people.

Then, on July 19, a second virtual town hall continues the series with “Open for Business.” Audience members can participate in live polling and a question-and-answer session, as well. Find out more at

Recently, a photo essay looked at the front line of the virus through healthcare workers at NCH Healthcare System ( and another at the vulnerable population of agricultural workers in Immokalee (

With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting black and brown people in this country, WGCU reporters join their national counterparts in hearing from members of those communities about the twin problems of disease risk and police brutality. Hear what local black leaders had to say about protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis here.

PBS and NPR offer fact-based context and insight into current problems. On TV, PBS NewsHour, Frontline and other shows have followed developments in the pandemic and policing across the country, with national reporters weighing in from the field. “America in Black and Blue,” airing at 9 p.m. Monday, June 15, updates a documentary with fresh insights since the original 2016 program. Correspondents will report from Minneapolis, Georgia, New York and elsewhere, including voices of law enforcement and everyday citizens.

As experts across the country stress that unequal treatment of black and brown people did not begin with the murder of George Floyd, PBS offers programs that give historical context to the recent unrest. Many are on tap for June and July, including “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” a chronicle of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through more than four centuries of remarkable events; “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War,” a four-part series; and “Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise,” a detailed exploration of how the civil rights movement impacted the country, including successes and failures related to political and economic equality.

PBS Kids characters learn lessons along with young viewers on TV, websites and apps about health and hygiene and even help parents explain current events in terms kids understand. PBS LearningMediaprovides curriculum and resources for Florida teachers and parents — not only academic subjects but also in gentle lessons about race and heritage.

Next month, WGCU will join a handful of other radio stations throughout the country in “Move to Include,” an initiative to recognize varying abilities of Americans in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Locally, the project kicked off early with a digital storytelling workshop with Best Buddies of Southwest Florida. See those videos at

To learn about health and wellness shows available for streaming, visit More programs can be accessed by donors to the nonprofit public media station via Passport, a streaming service.

For more information about membership, call Kim at 239-590-2361 or email


Author: Dayna Harpster