Mary Scott Hodgin

Mary Scott Hodgin

Health and Science Reporter



Mary Scott Hodgin is an award-winning journalist from Birmingham, AL. She covers health and science, as well as the Alabama prison system.

Hodgin grew up in Birmingham and attended the University of Alabama. Before joining public radio, she lived in Spain and previously worked as a camp counselor in rural Wyoming and Alaska. She has experience in documentary filmmaking and is fluent in Spanish.

When she's not reporting, Hodgin enjoys spending time outdoors, finding new music and experimenting in the kitchen.

Officials Investigate Fish Kill Along Black Warrior River

State officials are looking into a fish kill that happened near Alabama Power’s Plant Gorgas in Walker County. Environmental advocates say they found at least 100 dead fish downstream of the plant.

Alabama is Offering Free Genetic Testing. Here’s Why.

Scientists in Alabama want to capture a statewide genetic footprint. Free testing, they say, can help residents detect their risk for disease and bolster future genomic research.

Scientists Track Alabama Bear Cub Survival Rate

Alabama’s black bear population could be in trouble. Scientists say young bears might be dying before they reach adulthood. Researchers at Auburn University will study the problem with a $1.1 million grant from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Report: Violence, Housing Costs Affect Health Outcomes

A report out Tuesday ranks the health of all 67 counties in Alabama. It found that things like violence and housing costs are important predictors of health outcomes.

Alabama Says its $900 Million Prisons Plan Can Help Fix Mental Health Crisis. Some Disagree.

As Alabama prisons continue to grapple with a federal lawsuit over mental health care, officials say they have a plan: they want to build three big regional prisons for men.

$25 Million Cyclotron Brings New Cancer Treatment to AL

A 90-ton cyclotron arrived Tuesday on the campus of UAB. The machine will be part of a new proton therapy center, bringing a specialized cancer treatment to Alabama.

Despite Restoration Efforts, Alabama Oysters Reach Historic Low

With Alabama oysters at a historic low, scientists involved in restoration efforts are finding that what has worked before is no longer working. Now, state biologists are trying something new.

Proposed Change to the Clean Water Act Open for Public Comment

The public has 60 days to comment on an EPA proposal that would limit which waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act. In Alabama, environmental groups say the change would have a significant impact.

Governor Announces Plan to Build Three Prisons for Men

Governor Kay Ivey announced Tuesday a plan to replace existing prison facilities with three regional men’s prisons to address “violence, poor living conditions and mental illness” in Alabama’s corrections system.

Flu Activity Widespread in Alabama

Rates of flu-like activity are on the rise throughout Alabama. They’ve been increasing for a few weeks now, and a number of schools have closed because of the virus.

Pig Hearts Could Keep Babies Awaiting Transplants Alive

Scientists hope in the future, pig hearts can be a temporary solution for babies who need a transplant. UAB researchers recently presented their findings about this, and early results seem promising.

At Children’s Hospital, a Note with Lunch

Patients at Children’s Hospital of Alabama now get a little extra pick-me-up. Every day at lunch, kids there receive a note, called a napkinism.

Uniontown Hopes to Finally Fix its Sewage Problem

The city of Uniontown is set to receive more than $31 million in mostly federal money to address a decades-old sewage issue. But some say the problem should have already been fixed.

Alabama Licenses Midwives for the First Time in Decades

For the first time in more than 40 years, Alabama has licensed professional midwives. Last week, the newly formed Alabama State Board of Midwifery issued credentials to five women.

This Weekend’s Super Blood Wolf Moon … or Something Like That

Alabamians, along with millions in many parts of the world, are getting ready for a show Sunday night. There will be a total lunar eclipse. Some call it a ‘super blood wolf moon.’

With $30 Million Gift, UAB Says Cancer Research is the Future of Birmingham

Leaders of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB have big plans to use the recently announced $30 million gift from O’Neal Industries. They want to triple the number of clinical trials.

State Attorney General Asks Supreme Court to Rule on Banning Abortion Procedure

Alabama’s attorney general Steve Marshall wants the US Supreme Court to weigh in on restricting a certain abortion procedure.

Comet Passing is “Space Mission in Reverse”

There is plenty of activity in the night sky this weekend. In addition to the Geminid meteor shower, one of the brightest comets of the year will pass overhead.

UAB Study Calls for Better Tracking of Spectator Injuries

Most people do not expect to go to a baseball game or a NASCAR race and leave in an ambulance, but it happens. Now, a group of UAB researchers says sports officials need to keep better track of it.

Alabama Author Wants People to Take a “Fresh Look at Roadkill”

Why did the chicken cross the road? What about the armadillo? One Alabama writer says we have the answers. We just have to take a deeper look — at roadkill. The author of a new children’s book, Something Rotten, A Fresh Look at Roadkill, takes an up-close look at dead animals on the road. There’s apparently a lot to learn from these flattened critters on the pavement.

Alabama Has Nation’s Highest Rate of Cervical Cancer Death

Alabama has the highest rate of cervical cancer death in the country. Black women in the state die from the disease at nearly twice the rate of white women. That is according to a report released today by Human Rights Watch, an international nonprofit.

Recovery Resource Center Bridges Gaps in Addiction Treatment

For someone with addiction, deciding to get help is often the first step to recovery. But finding that help is not always easy. State-funded treatment facilities can have complicated requirements and long waiting lists.

Former AL Senator Jeff Sessions Resigns as Attorney General

The day after the 2018 midterms, Jeff Sessions has resigned as attorney general. In a letter to President Trump, Sessions told the president that he is stepping down “at your request.”

State Elections Chief Faces Criticism Over Partisanship

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has gotten into some intense partisan Twitter battles recently. Merrill is a Republican and he is running for re-election this Tuesday. Partisanship is to be expected among political candidates. But is it a problem when you are also the state’s top elections official?

University of Alabama Receives $1.8 Million to Study Mussel Biodiversity

A research team led by the University of Alabama has received $1.8 million to study biodiversity of freshwater mussels. The National Science Foundation announced the award Thursday. Carla Atkinson, an assistant biology professor at the University of Alabama and one of the principal investigators on the study, says Alabama has an abundant variety of mussels. […]

Birmingham Development Threatens Chimney Swift Habitat

Chimney swifts are a common sight in Birmingham. You might notice large numbers of them as they funnel into chimneys. Many people mistake them for bats. But as new development replaces old buildings and their chimneys, the chimney swift population is at risk. Birmingham Audubon is working to reverse the decline by constructing “swift towers” throughout the city.

New Program Recruits African-American Girls to Computer Science

The computing workforce continues to grow, but women of color remain largely underrepresented. Tuskegee University recently announced a $1.3 million grant program funded by the National Science Foundation that aims to prepare African-American girls in Alabama for careers in computer science.

Deaf Football Players Find Novel Ways to Communicate

On the football field, visual communication is key. That’s especially true for the Silent Warriors, a team of middle and high school students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. They compete against mainstream and deaf schools across the U.S., where having a unique language can be both an advantage and a challenge on the field.

Ushuaia Blue: A Play About a Life Devoted to Science

Antarctica happens to be a perfect place to study the impacts of climate change. A UAB researcher has devoted his entire career to just that. This weekend, Professor Jim McClintock brings the issue to the stage, along with a love story. “Ushuaia Blue” explores the issue of global warming through the story of two marine biologists trying to save their relationship.

UAB Receives $10 Million for Parkinson’s Research

The National Institutes of Health this week named UAB a Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research, making it 1 of 8 such centers in country.

SPLC Calls on Court to Hold Alabama Prison System in Contempt

The Southern Poverty Law Center wants the state prison system held in contempt for failing to fill mental health positions. Contempt hearings began Tuesday in U.S. District Court involving the Alabama Department of Corrections and lawyers representing inmates.

A UAB Program Connects Resources For Pregnant Mothers Dealing With Substance Use Disorders

Alabama’s Chemical Endangerment Law makes it a felony offense to use drugs during pregnancy. A UAB program funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to redirect the focus from criminalizing a woman’s addiction to treating it.