Manager's Memo

Finding Your Roots


Tom Axtell

Long before the Coronavirus epidemic became the lead item in news reports, the national PBS schedule was poised to focus on health and wellness. I was prepared to write this month about the events we and our partners were scheduling to amplify the educational topics from these programs and to allow viewers to connect with local resources. Our events are being cancelled on the advice of health experts, but we are continuing to televise the Vegas PBS Spotlight programs this spring under the theme of Taking Care of You / Health + Wellness. These programs shine a light on some of our community’s most pressing health issues, offering insight on impacted populations, highlighting frontline researchers and service models, and offering practical information that you can use in your daily life.

The outbreak of COVID-19 remains top of mind for many in our local community. We have already assembled information on our website at and are adding new information almost daily. Alongside substantive reporting clips from the PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE, Nevada Week and Inside Education are especially charming videos for children and grandchildren in your family featuring Daniel Tiger, Curious George, Sesame Street’s Elmo on handwashing, coughing etiquette and germs. This month in our lineup of health-related programs also covers topics from obesity and diabetes, to mental health and beyond.

Definition of Insanity on Tuesday, April 14 at 10 p.m. follows a team of dedicated Miami-Dade County public servants who work to help people with mental illness navigate from lives of tragedy to possibility. The film explores a humane criminal justice approach to mental health. On Blood Sugar Rising, airing Wednesday, April 15 at 9 p.m., we explore the epidemic of diabetes that affects 100 million Americans. You’ll learn about the history and science of this hidden crisis and meet some of the faces behind the statistics whose stories bring insights and hope. Then, airing directly after at 11 p.m., watch Parent’s Survival Guide: Childhood Obesity to learn about the multi-faceted solutions for this growing pediatric health problem, specifically the role parents can play as the first line of defense in their children’s nutrition and fitness.

Health care delivery will be powerfully impacted by the US Census. Nevada’s share of funding for Medicaid/Medicare, maternal and pre-natal programs, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance, educational training for healthcare professionals, and other health and wellness programs will be impacted by the accuracy of our local population count. In the 2010 Census, thousands of residents are believed to have been missed, costing the state hundreds of millions over the following decade. To support the Census, Nevada Week produced a program on the subject and we will be airing hundreds of messages from March through May to encourage participation.

With your financial support, Vegas PBS is able to produce and broadcast programs that help ensure a healthy community in Southern Nevada. From awareness of health care challenges to promising scientific research, or from wellness resources to our state’s fair share of federal healthcare funding, we will continue to listen to public health concerns and respond with trustworthy programs spotlighting timely and informative content for our viewers. Have a safe month – wash your hands, cover your cough and watch even more Vegas PBS!

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