Shalina Chatlani, Gulf States Newsroom

Health Care Reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom

Shalina Chatlani is the health care reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between NPR, WWNO in New Orleans, WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama and MPB-Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson.

Shalina is based out of WWNO in New Orleans and covers health care access and inequity. Before that she was a science reporter for KPBS in San Diego and the Emerging Voices Fellow at WPLN in Nashville. Some of her reporting has looked at racial disparities in the coronavirus vaccine rollout and how the financial stress of the coronavirus pandemic is affecting communities of color in San Diego.

In New Orleans, doctors and churches are teaming up to help Black parishioners get needed care

The effort, part of a five-year study, aims to meet Black patients in a space they feel comfortable to treat hypertension and reduce heart disease risks.

‘Nobody is getting to you’: How workforce challenges leave Gulf South EMS agencies strapped

Emergency services in Louisiana are spending more time waiting to offload patients at hospitals and that means fewer are responding to calls at any given time.

The Gulf South is dealing with a ‘tripledemic’ of Covid, flu and RSV as the holidays near

Health officials say now is not the time to let your guard down on protecting yourself, and others, as the three contagious viruses spread across the region.

Conflict between Mississippi’s largest hospital, insurer a breaking point for some residents

The ongoing contract dispute between UMMC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi has no end in sight, forcing some to consider leaving the state for good.

Mississippi’s latest move in its anti-abortion agenda? A tax break for corporate donations

Tax documents show energy company foundations financed the anti-abortion movement in the Gulf South for years. Now, they could get a tax break for that support.

Southern Decadence returns to New Orleans, marked by parades and monkeypox awareness

Health officials gave out monkeypox vaccines and encouraged everyone — not just the LGBTQ community — to take the virus more seriously at the annual festival.

Q&A: After federal complaint for COVID vaccine rollout, what’s next for Mississippi?

The NAACP’s and SPLC’s federal complaint claims that Mississippi didn’t equitably spend its federal COVID-19 relief funds, leaving out communities of color.

As Gulf South lawmakers fight over Medicaid, new moms weigh in: ‘Safety nets do save lives’

The COVID-19 health emergency could end soon; tens of thousands of new mothers could lose their healthcare coverage unless legislators take action.

Key COVID moments in the Gulf South 2 years later

On the two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, take a look back at the Gulf States Newsroom’s coverage of the infectious disease’s impact on the Gulf South region.

Is New Orleans ready for Mardi Gras? A Q&A with health director Jennifer Avegno

New Orleans is in full celebration mode with Mardi Gras just days away, but where does COVID fit into the equation? The city’s health director has answers.

Travel nurse salaries are rising due to demand. Some hospitals say it’s price gouging

In the Gulf South, Mississippi has spent around $90 million on temporary medical staff. Louisiana has spent nearly $250 million.

Gulf South hospitals face ‘worst-case scenario’ as staffing costs skyrocket

Facilities are under strain and federal assistance only goes so far.

As demand for travel nurses increases, hospitals in the South struggle to stay competitive

COVID-19 hospitalizations are now twice as high in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama as they were two weeks ago, contributing to now record hospitalization numbers nationwide.

With the mental health system strained, here’s how some people are coping during the pandemic

Alabama is among the bottom of states for media health providers per capita. That has people looking online and other places to find help.

As much of the Gulf South remains unvaccinated, New Orleans issues a mandate for kids

The city will expand its mandate in 2022 to include children 5 and older. The city health director said “there was no good scientific or educational reason to wait.”

Tips for a happy, safe and COVID-free Thanksgiving from Gulf South health officials

Hosting a family gathering for Thanksgiving but worried about COVID transmission? Health officials offer these tips for a happy, safe holiday.

Gulf South health care systems are failing to equally serve people of color, study says

A new analysis from research foundation Commonwealth Fund shows that health care access and outcomes are poor for people of color across the nation, and even worse in Gulf South states.

Black farmers’ land leases are vanishing. Some say racist policies are to blame

Black farmers and their families once owned and worked on thousands of acres of land in Louisiana’s Iberia Parish. The land has shrunk over the last several decades, and some, like Eddie Lewis III, say it stems from racist policies.

First kids ages 5-11 to get COVID shot looking forward to sleepovers, ‘feeling safe’

As pharmacies and health care providers begin rolling out the Pfizer COVID vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds, appointments and waitlists are filling up.

Why Black teens are getting vaccinated at higher rates than white teens across the South

Data acquired from health departments across the Gulf South show that among 12 to 17 year olds, Black teenagers are getting vaccinated at roughly one and a half times the rate of white teenagers.

COVID vaccines for young children could be approved soon. Are Gulf States prepared?

Kids between the ages of 5-11 years old might be able to get vaccinated in the near future. Here’s why it would be a game-changer for the Gulf States, and how they’re preparing for the shot’s rollout.

As COVID Rages On, Gulf States Hospitals And Their Staff Look For A Helping Hand

As a field hospital closes up shop in Mississippi this weekend, the state, along with Louisiana and Alabama, still has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country as the pandemic looks to be far from over.

As COVID Devastated The Gulf South, The HIV/AIDS Crisis Was Put “On The Back Burner’

Data acquired from the Louisiana Department of Health and the Alabama Department of Public Health show that the average number of screenings for new HIV infections went down significantly between 2019 and 2020. Health experts worry that it will only make the region’s HIV/AIDS worse.

Amid Delta Variant Surge, Some Call For Vaccine And Mask Mandates

While states have tried coaxing reluctant residents into getting the shot with incentives like lotteries, some businesses and health experts in the region say it’s time to start creating disincentives for avoiding the shot.

Its Future In Limbo, Limiting Telehealth In The Gulf South Could Be Troublesome For Rural Areas

Telehealth became a necessity for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. But with state health emergencies expiring, laws that have made it more available could go away, leaving the region’s more rural areas hurting the most due to access barriers and disparities.

Indian Immigrants in Mississippi ‘Frustrated’ As Loved Ones Suffer In COVID-19 Surge Abroad

Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama have the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S. and doses are going to waste. Other countries, such as India, are still struggling with high deaths and low vaccine supply.

Using Pastors And Pints, Gulf States Try To Boost COVID Vaccination Rates In White Communities

Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama have the lowest vaccination rates nationally, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Health officials are considering creative incentives to get the numbers up from church events to possible beer giveaways.

New Orleans’ Return To Cultural Parades Is A Step Toward Healing In The South

In April, Mardi Gras Indians held a funeral and parade for one of their own – one of a few large cultural events to occur since the pandemic started and most large events in the region were canceled.

Past And Present Collide As Community Health Centers Strive To Close Rural Care Gaps In The Pandemic

Many rural health leaders believe community health centers, which were born in the 60s to reach low-income communities of color, were a missing piece in achieving equity in the vaccine rollout.

A Vaccination Event For Commercial Fishers Offers Lessons On How To Reel In At-Risk Communities

As the rollout expands, health officials and community leaders are learning more about how to make sure the vaccine is not only available, but truly accessible for at-risk groups.

UAB Officials Hopeful Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Could Accelerate Rollout

UAB health experts say when it comes to vaccine variety, more is better. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the latest to win approval from the federal government.