Stephanie Daniel

I grew up in Denver and, after living out-of-state for many years, am happy to be back in Colorado covering education and general news for KUNC.

Before joining KUNC in October 2017, I worked at New York Public Radio and on the podcast Revisionist History. I also reported on New York City’s opioid epidemic for NPR’s The Pulse and The Fix, a podcast from The GroundTruth Project. Prior to journalism, I wrote and produced commercials and marketing videos for TV shows and media companies. I am a graduate of Duke University and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

I love going on adventures and have visited more than 20 countries. I also like to explore local areas, ride my bike and hang out with my family and friends.

A mental health crisis can be exacerbated by the challenges of aging. McKee Medical Center in Loveland plans to address this with a new unit specifically for seniors with behavioral health care needs.

The inpatient unit is for short-term, acute care and will serve people aged 55 and older.

Loveland has a lack of psychiatric inpatient beds, said Shelly Cox, behavioral health services director. Seniors will often travel to Denver or Fort Morgan to receive medical care.

Colorado and local cities and counties are suing opioid manufacturers and distributors. The lawsuits are part of larger, national litigations which are still pending. While thousands of plaintiffs wait for a decision, a local nonpartisan health policy organization posed this question:

With a hypothetical $100 million settlement, how would you combat Colorado's opioid crisis?

There is a traditional treatment for babies experiencing withdrawal from opioids: newborns are separated from their mothers and taken to the neonatal intensive care unit to receive tapered doses of morphine or methadone. They can stay in the hospital for weeks.

A Colorado-based collaborative is changing this approach.

Rural Coloradans may have better access to psychiatric care soon.

The United Health Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence to address a shortage of mental health providers in rural areas. The grant will recruit and support 39 working rural Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Behavioral Health Fellows while they earn a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) certificate.

A group of bipartisan lawmakers continues to combat Colorado's opioid crisis.

The Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee recently advanced five bills for the state legislature to consider in January.

Gov. Jared Polis recently signed an executive order creating the Office of Future of Work at the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). As outlined in a press release, this office will be a central point for the state's efforts to respond to Colorado's rapidly changing economy and workforce.

Colorado Edition co-host Henry Zimmerman spoke with KUNC's Stephanie Daniel to learn more about the new office.

Colorado State University has ushered in a new and historic era. Joyce McConnell is the 15th president of the CSU System's flagship institution in Fort Collins and the first woman to serve in the role. As the university heads into its 150th year, KUNC's Stephanie Daniel spoke with McConnell to learn more about her vision for the future.

A national cooperative bank is the latest group to join Colorado's effort to curb opioid abuse.

Keegan Kellogg sits at the front of his classroom, facing about 20 students. He points to their next assignment written on a letter-sized piece of white paper.

"It says, 'I learned a bunch in…?'" Kellogg asked.

"Kindergarten," replied the students.

Kellogg teaches at Jackson Elementary School in Greeley. Greeley-Evan School District 6 has offered free, full-day kindergarten for about 15 years. Next year, all school districts in the state will be able to offer the same.

Jobs in Colorado are changing. As early as next year, nearly three out of four will require some type of advanced degree. That's prompted the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create a plan for helping residents attend and graduate from a postsecondary institution.

Colorado teens vape more than teens in any other state studied by federal researchers and at twice the rate of the national average. That's according to federal research on vaporizers, or e-cigarettes, and it leads health experts to warn that teens either misunderstand or underestimate the risks.

The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health received a federal grant in April 2017 to address the state's growing opioid crisis. That year, 560 Coloradans died from opioid overdoses. KUNC's Stephanie Daniel spoke to director Robert Werthwein, director of the state agency, about their addiction, prevention and treatment efforts.

North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and four other Banner Health hospitals have formally launched a new way to treat pain in their emergency departments.

When appropriate, medical providers will replace opioid medication with a non-opioid alternative (or ALTO).

Physician Morgan Hungenburg is in the second year of her medical residency program. Since August she's been training in family medicine at Salud Family Health Center in Fort Morgan.

"I really like the continuity of family medicine," Hungenburg said. "We call it 'womb to tomb.' I like that wide age range because I like pediatrics, but I also like geriatrics. I kind of get a little bit of everything."

Beer aisles in grocery and convenience stores will be stocked with something new on New Year's Day.

A new Colorado law will allow stores like King Soopers and 7-Eleven to start selling full-strength beer on Jan. 1 at 8 a.m. The lighter 3.2 beer, an option that's been around since the Prohibition Era, will be not be sold anymore.

Andres Gil Zaldana, executive director of the Colorado Brewers Guild, said the number of stores that sell craft beer will more than double, allowing the industry to reach new customers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that the U.S. life expectancy continues to decline. This trend is driven in part by an increase is drug overdoses and suicide. The Mountain West is especially vulnerable when it comes to suicide.

Natalie Perry, a paramedic with Banner Health in Greeley, responds to all types of medical emergencies. But she recalled a structure fire where dogs, not people, needed care.

"Animals are brought out and it's kind of a helpless feeling when you don't have the training and knowledge to know what to do," she said.

This and similar experiences prompted Perry to create Project Daphne, a program that provides emergency medical services to household dogs and cats, as well as police dogs.

Two Mountain West states are part of a dozen across the country that allow people to select non-binary gender on legal documents.

Colorado residents, who do not identify as male or female, will be able to choose "X" as their gender on driver's licenses starting on Nov. 30.

"It's really important that Colorado is now allowing another opportunity for male, female and non-binary -- people who identify as neither male or female -- to also have an identity document who matches who they are," said Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, an LGBTQ advocacy organization.

Democrat Jared Polis is leading Republican Walker Stapleton in Colorado's governor's race.

A recent bi-partisan poll of likely voters found Polis' seven-point lead is driven by his appeal with unaffiliated and female voters. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.

Colorado has the fourth worst teacher pay gap in the country. A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute found Colorado teachers make 35.1 percent less that other workers living in similar parts of the state with similar education.

The paper tracks teacher pay since 1979, when they made about 5.5 percent less than comparable workers nationally. By 2017 that gap had grown to 18.7 percent.