Ruby de Luna

Reporter

Ruby de Luna is a features reporter at KUOW. She had originally planned to go into TV, but ditched the idea after discovering public radio.  Ruby has reported on immigrant communities. She currently covers health care issues.  

Ruby is a transplant from Taipei, Taiwan. She holds a BA in communication from Seattle Pacific University. 

In the age of computer/digital audio editing, Ruby is proud to be one of the few old–schoolers who can still edit tape with a razor blade. In her free time she practices her knife skills on new recipes. 

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Food Insecurity
9:17 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Food Pantries On The Rise To Help 'Starving Students'

The University District Food Bank has seen more students in recent years. Rising cost of tuition and living expenses have made it hard for students to buy food.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The expression “starving students” is not just a cliché. It’s real.

Researchers call this situation “food insecurity,” and it’s a concern that affects schools across the country, including many in the Pacific Northwest. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that 59 percent of students at Western Oregon University were going hungry.

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Affordable Care Act
7:46 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Health Reform May Free People From 'Job Lock'

Christine Lange quit her job earlier this year to pursue her dream to start a small business. She said the Affordable Care Act made that possible.
Credit Courtesy of Christine Lange

One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to give access to people who currently don’t have health insurance.

Supporters see another benefit — to give people who dream of quitting their day jobs for a chance to become an entrepreneur.

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Comforting Traditions
7:25 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Funeral Dinners Help Darrington Cope With Losses

Darrington Community Center hosted a meal for librarian Linda McPherson as part of the community's long-running tradition.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The first wave of memorial services honoring the victims who perished in the Oso landslide took place this weekend.

In Darrington, residents gathered to remember Linda McPherson, a longtime resident and librarian. After the service, the community gathered for a meal together. It's a special tradition that goes back many decades in this small community.

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Identification Of Deceased
7:40 am
Thu April 3, 2014

The Painstaking Process Of Caring For Oso Victims

Dennis Peterson, Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office deputy director, talks about the tented area behind him used for decontaminating bodies just outside an intake area at the office.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

For many families of victims of the deadly Oso landslide, getting information about the fate of their loved ones has been agonizingly slow.

That's because the work by medical examiners to confirm the identities of the deceased is painstaking and requires time.

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Oso Tragedy
10:09 am
Fri March 28, 2014

A Hard Day Ahead For Search Operations In The Mudslide

Search and rescue workers on the west side of slide.
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (National Guard) (CC-BY-NC-ND)

With 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Friday, Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots held a brief conference in the morning to update on the progress of the Oso mudslide.

Hots said the rain makes the efforts of the workers in the debris field, now in their seventh day of search operations, slow and complicated. “We’ve got a hard day ahead of us,” Hots said.

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World TB Day
11:16 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Former TB Patient On Time In Local Sanatorium: 'I Look Back On It Very Sweetly'

Alice Brannman was diagnosed with bone TB in 1947. She spent two years at Firland Sanatorium in Shoreline.
Credit Courtesy of TB Voices Project

Some people may think tuberculosis has been wiped out, but the disease still infects one third of the world’s population.

Closer to home, tuberculosis is on the rise in Washington state, after years of decline. There were 209 tuberculosis cases reported last year.  

These days the disease is treated with oral medication.

But there was time, not too long ago, when TB patients were quarantined in sanatoriums, sometimes for years.   

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Cost Savings
7:53 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Washington Reports An 'Unprecedented' Drop In Medicaid ER Visits

Flickr Photo/Micheal J (CC BY-NC-ND)

A year after hospitals began discouraging Medicaid patients from making unnecessary emergency room visits, the results are promising. A new state report shows the number of unnecessary visits to ERs in Washington fell by 10 percent last year.  

“A 10 percent reduction is almost unprecedented,” said Dr. Nathan Schlicher, an ER physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma.

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Affordable Care Act
8:24 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Health Exchange Open Enrollment Deadline Looms

Washington's health exchange has hosted outreach events throughout the open enrollment season, which is drawing quickly to a close.
Courtesy of Washington Healthplanfinder

If you don’t have health coverage yet, you still have two weeks to sign up. But state officials are urging people not to wait until the last minute. They say there are reasons to enroll sooner — you’ll avoid the surge leading up to the deadline.

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Medicaid Expansion
7:37 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Affordable Care Act Opens Door To More Inmate Enrollment

Flickr Photo/Still Burning (CC BY-NC-ND)

Health care enrollments so far have been focused on people without insurance. But there’s another population officials are trying to get covered – people locked up behind bars.

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Fossil Find
10:24 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Holy Mammoth! Tusk Arrives At The Burke Museum

Construction workers discovered this fossilized tusk (wrapped in plaster) on February 12, 2014. They contacted paleontologists at the Burke Museum who confirmed the find. The tusk has since been transferred to the Burke for preservation and research. The smaller tusk above was found in Alaska.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Scientists are hoping to learn more about a fossilized mammoth tusk that was uncovered two weeks ago at a construction site in Seattle’s South Lake Union area. The tusk has since been transferred to the Burke Museum for preservation and research.

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Alzheimer's Awareness
7:44 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Destigmatizing Dementia: 'We're Still Here'

Roger Stocker joins a gathering at the Greenwood Alzheimer's Cafe. He was diagnosed with dementia three years ago.
Credit Courtesy Greenwood Senior Center

Living with dementia can be isolating for both patients and their families. As social interactions get awkward, people begin to withdraw. Not only do their memories fade, but people themselves begin to fade from view.

At least that's the common perception.

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Open Enrollment Period
8:23 am
Wed February 19, 2014

How Do You Get A Young Adult To Buy Health Insurance?

Healthplanfinder's new series of ads features fictitious rap duo IV and D-Fibb.
Credit Courtesy of Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder has rolled out a new series of snappy ads aimed at getting young adults to sign up for health care. To date, the enrollment participation for this group is still just above 20 percent.

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Department Of Health
9:11 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Washington's New Rules On Hospital Partnerships Challenged

New rules on hospital mergers put undue burden on hospitals, according to the Wash. State Hospital Association.
Flickr Photo/Ralf (CC BY-NC-SA)

The Washington State Hospital Association has filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court over the state's new permitting process for hospitals.

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Hospital Mergers
9:30 am
Tue February 4, 2014

PacMed To Partner With Providence Health, But Will Stay Secular

Pacific Medical Centers and Providence Health and Services have proposed a plan that would allow PacMed to stay secular.
Flickr Photo/Henry Alva

Pacific Medical Centers said Monday it plans to team with Providence Health and Services, the latest example of health care providers aligning with religious organizations.

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Health Insurance
9:24 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Who Picks Up The Tab When Affordable Care Act Customers Can't Pay?

A health premium grace period built into the Affordable Care Act can create a bill limbo for providers and patients.
Flickr Photo/Army Medicine

It’s one thing to get people to buy health insurance, something the state’s health exchange has been focusing on. But what happens when a patient can no longer pay monthly premiums — who would then be responsible for the medical bills? Doctors are worried they’ll be stuck holding the bag, and they’re taking their issue to Olympia this week.

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