Sara Willa Ernst

Houston is home to the largest medical center in the world. But it’s also a place notable for its high rate of uninsured people and stark health disparities. Thousands of Houstonians struggle to access primary care and mental health services or suffer from multiple chronic illnesses. As health reporter at Houston Public Media, Sara Willa Ernst tells how health policy and other factors drive these disparities, how they affect people’s daily lives, and how to close gaps in care.

Summaries of his entries:

“The pace of home buyouts in Harris County is slower than expected after Hurricane Harvey”

On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, journalist Sara Willa Ernst takes a look at the notoriously slow and inadequate home buyout programs in Harris County. Data acquired by a registration application shows that the pace of local redemptions has declined in recent years, even as the risk of flooding increases for more residents. The story explores the county’s current strategy regarding home buyouts and the impact of these policy decisions on entire communities.

“Texas Dialysis Patients Hope New State Law Will Keep Dialysis Centers Open During Major Weather Events”

A look back at the deadly frost of winter 2021. Health journalist Sara Willa Ernst tells the story of one of the most vulnerable groups in times of disaster: dialysis patients. Many were stuck at home for days without life-saving treatment, as hundreds of dialysis centers closed and hospitals were overwhelmed. What has been done to ensure access to care in the next disaster?

“Trans Kids and Their Families Leave Texas Amid State Efforts to Charge Parents of Child Abuse”

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for investigations into parents of transgender children, it sparked a wave of panic. Some families no longer felt safe, and health reporter Sara Willa Ernst spoke with a couple who are considering moving their family to a state with strong civil rights protections for trans people.

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