Ruby de Luna | KUOW News and Information

Ruby de Luna

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 1994

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. 

Ways to Connect

Last September, Seattle began requiring employers with five or more employees to provide paid sick leave. The requirement was controversial. Some businesses feared it would affect their bottom lines. Now a series of new reports aims to gauge the law’s impact. The latest one, commissioned by the city of Seattle, looks at how employers have dealt with the mandate. 

karenducey.com/Karen Ducey

Nursing schools around the country have seen a jump in enrollment in the last few years. Many students were hoping to get in on what was supposed to be a recession-proof field: the growing health care sector. Instead, new graduates faced a tough market.

Flickr Photo/Canadian Pacific

Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance is a year old this week. The law requires employers with more than four workers to provide paid time off for illness or a safety issue. But not all employers are on board with it.

Doctor
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

It will be another week before Washington consumers will know how many new certified health plans will be be sold in the exchange. The exchange is a web-based market for health insurance that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. The nine-member board that governs the exchange voted Thursday to delay certification until next week.

Flickr Photo/Piermario (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Death is one of those subjects considered taboo in polite company. But recently a group of strangers gave up a sunny afternoon to meet in a Seattle coffee shop to talk about just that.

Public hospital districts that provide maternity care must also ensure that abortion and contraception services are available to women. That’s the opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office yesterday. It comes on the heels of recent hospital partnerships that involve religious organizations. Critics have been trying to put the brakes on these contracts until there’s proper oversight.

KUOW Photo/Madeline Ewbank

This week state and county officials met with local ethnic media. They hope the media will help them get the word out to non-English speakers about health care changes coming this fall.

The briefing was part of a statewide campaign to let consumers know that beginning in October, there will be 31 new health plans available for purchase at the state’s online marketplace. But the challenge for organizers will be more than just language barriers.

Millions of Americans take medications to control their blood pressure, and there are many kinds that will do the job. But one kind is found to increase the likelihood of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women who’ve been taking calcium-channel blockers for more than a decade have an increased risk for breast cancer.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It’s hard enough to stay healthy at work. But imagine working at a candy factory, surrounded by sweet temptations. At Brown and Haley in Tacoma, workers are getting help to change their health habits. The candy maker and other employers in Pierce County are part of a national pilot program.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The emergency contraceptive, Plan B, is now available on many drug store shelves. Last month, the  US Food and Drug Administration approved the pill for over- the-counter purchase, with no age restrictions. The pill’s availability doesn’t end the debate over controversial prescriptions in Washington state.

Washington state has been trying to cut medical costs associated with Medicaid beneficiaries. This month it launched a new program called Health Homes. It’s part of the Affordable Care Act and is designed to help people who are not able to manage their chronic health conditions on their own.

Flickr Photo/I-5 Design & Manufacture

Governor Jay Inslee has stepped into the debate over hospital mergers and partnerships. On Tuesday, the governor ordered the State Department of Health to update the rules that govern hospitals when they plan to expand or form affiliations.

At least there's a beautiful sunset to look at when you're stuck in Seattle traffic.
Flickr Photo/HeatherHeatherHeather (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Summer’s almost here and more people are headed outside: that means more accidents. Statistics show that more road collisions happen during the dry season. Each year, about two million Americans are injured or killed in traffic crashes. For those who survive, picking up the pieces can be hard.

Flickr Photo/Christopher Porter

There have been two major cases of metal theft this week. Yesterday federal prosecutors charged two men with allegedly stealing more than seven thousand feet of copper wire at SeaTac Airport.  That followed an earlier case where thieves made off with more than four miles of copper wire from Sound Transit.

About a million Washington residents are now without health insurance. Come October, the state hopes to get many of them enrolled in a plan. That’s when Washington’s Health Exchange is scheduled to launch. But signing people up for health insurance is not as easy as it sounds. There’s still a lot of misinformation about Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The ACLU is asking Governor Jay Inslee to call for a moratorium on hospital mergers and affiliations for six months.  Many of these partnerships involve faith-based health care providers. The ACLU, along with ten other local organizations, sent a letter to the governor saying they’re worried that these mergers will hurt patients in the long run.

Celeste Smith

June 2 is National Cancer Survivor Day. But surviving the disease is just one challenge facing cancer patients. A recent study by Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that cancer patients are two-and-a-half times more at risk for filing bankruptcy compared to people without cancer.

Ruby DeLuna

Thursday night's bridge collapse has put a spotlight on truckers who carry oversized loads. Preliminary reports suggest that a truck that clipped a bridge support is what caused the spectacular collapse.

Harley Soltes

A parade of people who live and work near the collapsed bridge in Mt. Vernon continued to visit the scene today to get a first-hand look at the damage, snap photos and swap news about the accident.

“I’m scared to drive over other bridges,” said Jerry Olmstead, who works in Mt. Vernon and crosses this bridge several times a week. “What if another bridge in Washington goes?”

Fried Dough / Flickr

Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy, according to a study published online today in the journal Health Affairs. There are plenty of anecdotes of people who have used up their savings, borrowed from friends or filed for bankruptcy following a serious illness like cancer. Now researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have documented exactly how great the risk of bankruptcy is for cancer patients.

The State Supreme Court today heard arguments in a case that could decide whether faith-based employers in Washington have some exemption from the state’s anti-discrimination law.

NCI-Frederick Photo

Scientists at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have found a class of cells they think suppresses herpes. This could explain why some people have no symptoms or lesions when the virus is reactivated. It also changes the way scientists understand how the virus works.

Minnesota Historical Society / Flickr

The City of Seattle is about to embark on a new study that hasn’t been done in other American cities—to look at gun violence from a public health standpoint.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Every four weeks, Anna Stephens comes to Seattle Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy. But she’s not a child. Stephens is 23 years old, and she’s one of thousands of young people with cancer who wind up being treated in facilities that typically deal with much younger or much older patients.

Courtesy/Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children’s Hospital is opening a new cancer unit Sunday specifically designed for teens and young adults. 

When young cancer patient age 15 to 29 goes in for treatment, they end up either in a pediatric or adult facility. A designated place for this age group could play a crucial role in their survival, according to Dr. Becky Johnson.

johnmuk / Flickr

A task force will meet Thursday to review the health and living conditions of three elephants at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. The panel was created after a citizen petition last year called for an investigation into the living conditions and treatment of elephants.

Denise Sharify / Neighborhood House

Physical activity is good for the body and mind, though finding time to exercise can be a challenge. But for some people, time is not the only issue. Many Muslim women find that cultural constraints limit their options. A group of immigrant women in Seattle found a way to overcome that challenge.

Marler Clark

Salmonella. E.coli. Listeria. Every year about 48 million Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. Some people become seriously ill and need to be hospitalized. More than 3 million of those illnesses are from tainted produce.

Courtesy the Chrobuck family

The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed the most sweeping changes to food safety rules in 70 years. Now it wants to hear from the public.

Desk school education
Flickr Photo/alamosbasement (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Fewer teens are smoking and drinking alcohol. That’s one of the bright spots from a recent survey of youth in Washington state. But the results also show that a large number of them are struggling with mental health issues.

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