Gabriel Spitzer

Health & Science Reporter / Assistant News Director

Gabriel Spitzer covers health and science at KPLU, after a year covering youth and education. He joined KPLU after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.

Gabriel received his Master's of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and his degree in English at Cornell University. He’s been honored with the Kavli Science Journalism Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and won awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Ashley and their two sons, Ezra and Oliver.

Gabriel’s most memorable KPLU moment was: “In just my second week here, I found myself covering the unfolding story of a mass shooting and citywide manhunt. It was a tragic and chaotic day, when the public badly needed someone to sort the facts from the rumors. It made me proud of our profession.”

Pages

Drug Overdose
5:45 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Nasal Spray Antidote To Opiate Overdose To Be Widely Available On WSU Campus

An educational pamphlet and samples of naloxone, a drug used to counter the effects of opiate overdose, are displayed.
Elise Amendola AP Photo

Drug overdoses, mostly from opiates, are the leading cause of accidental death in America. But there is an antidote, and it may soon be much more widely available on the Washington State University campus. 

For someone who overdoses on heroin or a prescription painkiller, a quick shot of naloxone could make the difference between life and death. In the past, this has meant an actual injection, which can be hard to administer for someone who isn’t trained, as well as carrying risks of blood-borne diseases.

Read more
Class-Action Suit
5:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

MultiCare Settles Suit With Nurses, Agrees To Shell Out Back Pay For Overtime

A major south Sound hospital chain has agreed to give back pay to nearly 800 nurses.

The deal settles a class-action lawsuit filed by nurses against MultiCare Health System, the nonprofit entity that runs Tacoma General Hospital, Auburn Medical Center and others.

Read more
Marijuana Legalization
5:01 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Washington's 'Pot Czar' Says Legal Marijuana Could Be Too Cheap

File image
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

Washington and Colorado are embracing their role as “laboratories of democracy” when it comes to drug policy, but as Washington’s marijuana consultant points out, “Dr. Frankenstein had a laboratory, too.”

Read more
Probation And Parole
5:01 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Washington's 'Swift And Certain' Parole Reforms Getting Results And Attention

FILE - This photo shows the correctional facility in Shelton, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

President Barack Obama wants to expand a program pioneered in Washington to reform probation and parole. The new state law dramatically changed its approach to ex-offenders, and even the experts who back the new approach have been surprised at the promising results.

In the past, ex-offenders on probation or parole could often rack up a bunch of violation before they’d be punished. And by then the sanctions could be harsh: many months in jail.

The idea behind the new approach, called "swift and certain," is that a minor violation triggers an immediate but moderate punishment, such as a couple of days in jail for failing a drug test.

Read more
Consumer Protection
10:46 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Are You A Prime Target For Online Scams? A Fifth of Washington Adults Are, Says Report

File image
Damian Dovarganes AP Photo

More than one in five Washington adults are at high risk of falling prey to online scams, according to new research funded by the AARP.

Few would be surprised to hear that clicking on pop-up ads or opening emails from unfamiliar sources increases your risk of getting ripped off. But the AARP report, based on a survey of more than 11,000 adults nationwide, also identified some less obvious risk factors.

Read more
Affordable Care Act
4:52 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Wash. Health Exchange Beefs Up Call Center For March Rush, Warns Of Long Hold Times

This screen grab shows Washington Healthplanfinder's website.

Washington’s health insurance exchange has ramped up its customer-service call center in anticipation of a big surge in enrollments this month. But callers should still hunker down for a long wait.

The Spokane-based call center got an average of more than 40,000 calls a day in January, but managed to answer just 15 percent of them. Of the rest, the vast majority got a message telling them to give up and call back later, while others hung up due to wait times that averaged 40 minutes or more.

Read more
Gesture Recognition
3:01 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

UW Team Invents Gesture Recognition Technology That Pulls Power From Thin Air

University of Washington

A University of Washington research team has developed technology that could let people control devices with hand gestures. And the sensor doesn’t use battery power; it pulls electricity out of thin air.

Technology to read hand gestures already exists in devices like Microsoft’s Kinect. But most of it uses cameras or beams, which make it expensive and hungry for electricity.

Read more
Harborview Clinics
4:56 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Harborview Officials Say They Will Not Close Or Relocate Primary Care Clinics

Gabriel Spitzer

Officials overseeing Harborview Medical Center in Seattle have told staff by email they will not be closing or relocating the hospital’s clinics.

The fates of at least three primary care clinics on the main Harborview campus had been up in the air. Officials with UW Medicine, which runs the hospital, had said all along no decisions had been made. But staffers said they’d been told the clinics could close or move as early as this summer.

Read more
Death Penalty
4:02 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Victims' Families Want Curbs On Gov's Ability To Halt Death Penalty

Sen. Steve O'Ban, center, R-University Place, stands in front of a group of family members of murder victims, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, during a news conference at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Family members of murder victims gathered in Olympia Wednesday to express anguish over Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to halt the state’s death penalty.

They testified before lawmakers considering curbs on the governor’s authority to grant reprieves. They told of their daughters and sisters, a mother, an aunt all taken cruelly from them. And they expressed outrage that they should be forced to pay, as taxpayers, for the killers to live.

Read more
Voice Banking
2:04 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Losing Voice To ALS, Kent Man Recording All He'll Ever Want To Say

Carl Moore, a former helicopter mechanic, was diagnosed with ALS 20 years ago.
Justin Steyer KPLU

It's hard to imagine a more devastating diagnosis than ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease. For most people, it means their nervous system is going to deteriorate until their body is completely immobile. That also means they'll lose their ability to speak.

So Carl Moore of Kent worked with a speech pathologist to record his own voice to use later, when he can no longer talk on his own.

Nutrient Supplements
4:18 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Seattle Scientists: Supplements Thought To Protect Against Cancer Increase Risk

vissago Flickr

Two nutrient supplements once thought to protect against cancer may actually increase the risk of prostate cancer, according to a study led by researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at 4,856 men taking large doses of vitamin E and selenium, either alone or together, or a placebo.

Read more
Youth Obesity
5:01 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Youth Obesity Drops in King County For The First Time In Years

FILE - Roxhill Elementary students dine on healthy entrees prepared by chef Tom Douglas' staff.
Charla Bear KPLU

After years of flat rates, obesity among adolescents significantly dropped in King County between 2010 and 2012. Public health authorities credit prevention efforts at school.

A handful of school districts in the county made a special effort to push fitness. Some had students track their own nutrition, others invested in top-notch physical education programs or healthier lunch options. Federal stimulus money paid for the Communities Putting Prevention to Work programs.

Read more
Bertha Blues
12:39 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Expert: Bertha's Woes Are No 'Big Dig'

WSDOT

The prospect of taking the State Route 99 tunneling machine known as Bertha offline for as much as half a year is not good news for the company operating it. But one Seattle tunneling expert says it could be worse.

“It’s really a problem with the machine itself. I think it’s something that can be repaired,” said the University of Washington’s Joseph Wartman. “And I think in a couple of years when the tunnel is open, people will have forgotten about this.”

Read more
Marijuana Banking
11:07 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Feds Clear Way For Banks To Do Business With Marijuana Industry

File image
AP Photo

Marijuana businesses in Washington may soon be able to open a bank account. The Obama administration on Friday issued new guidance to banks regarding drug proceeds.

The three-page memo by the Department of Justice signals that banks that do business with licensed, above-board marijuana businesses likely won’t face prosecution.

Read more
Bertha Blues
4:17 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Contractor: Evidence Could Put Taxpayers On The Hook For Bertha Cost Overruns

Seattle Tunnel Partners

Washington transportation officials and the private contractor operating the tunneling machine known as Bertha disagree on what’s holding up progress on the Highway 99 tunnel project. Neither had definitive answers, but appearing together Tuesday at a news conference, it became clear they’re leaning toward conflicting theories.

Read more

Pages