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

We Are The Champions
12:56 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Some 700,000 Fans Pack Seattle Streets For Seahawks' Victory Parade

Kam Chancellor holds up the Lombardi trophy.
Justin Steyer KPLU

The 12th Man showed up in full force for the Seattle Seahawks’ victory parade on Wednesday. Seattle police estimated some 700,000 people braved the cold to line the streets and cheer for the Super Bowl champions. 

"I think it just gives us a sense of pride. It's given everyone something to rally around and be excited about. It's just brought joy to so many people here," said Lesli Burns, a fan.

Read more
Dark Matter
5:01 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Did UW Researchers Back The Right Horse In One Of Physics' Hottest Questions?

UW researchers assemble the complex ADMX detector, built to search for dark matter axions.
ADMX Collaboration

Think of the immense amount of stuff in the cosmos: stars, planets, interstellar dust and clusters of galaxies. Now consider this: all that stuff is probably only about one-sixth of the matter in the universe.

The rest is thought to be a mysterious invisible substance called dark matter — something scientists have been hunting for decades. Now an unexpected turn of events has put a low-key research team in Seattle right at the center of the dark matter search.

Read more
Health Exchange
5:03 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Glitch Leaves Nearly A Thousand On The Hook For Promised Subsidies

File image
AP Photo

The federal subsidies are what’s supposed to make Obamacare work; people who wouldn’t be able to afford a decent health plan get help to offset the cost.

But nearly a thousand people who bought plans on Washington’s exchange have learned they’ll be on the hook for the full premium this month.  

About 950 people who were supposed to get retroactive coverage won’t have their promised subsidies discounted from their January bill. They’ll still get the money, but they’ll have to wait until they do their taxes in 2015.

Read more
Harborview Clinics
5:01 am
Fri January 24, 2014

As Clinics Face Uncertain Future, Harborview Staffers Plead For Answers

Harborview Medical Center is considering changes in how it delivers primary care.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center is considering big changes in the way it delivers primary care, with clinics serving thousands of patients hanging in the balance. And frustrated staffers are pleading with hospital brass to explain what’s going on.

Harborview may be best known as the region’s trauma center, but it runs a handful of primary care clinics at its First Hill campus, offering services such as obstetrics, pediatrics and family medicine.

Read more
Patient Safety
2:19 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Seattle Children's Patients At Risk Of Infection From Improperly-Cleaned Tools

Courtesy of Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children’s Hospital is notifying about 100 patients who could be at risk of serious infection due to improperly-cleaned medical instruments.

Hospital officials say the risk is small, but substantial enough to warrant letters and phone calls to patients who had colonoscopies using a tool called an auxiliary channel scope. Unlike standard scopes, these instruments have an extra tube that needs to be cleaned between uses.

Read more
Marijuana Business
3:34 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

I-502 Author Says Attorney General Got It Wrong On Pot Business Bans

Dozens of cities and counties have places bans or moratoriums on marijuana businesses.
Associated Press

Washington’s Attorney General buoyed local governments looking to block pot businesses with a legal opinion issued Thursday. His argument cites the intentions of those who wrote the state’s the pot law, but the initiative’s primary author said he got it wrong.

Read more
Medicaid
3:38 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Glitches Put Tens of Thousands In Danger Of Losing Medicaid

File image
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Glitches that kept tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients from re-enrolling this fall continued to trip people up in December, though the state agency that runs Medicaid said the problems are being fixed.

Read more
Public Transportation
2:27 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Constantine Announces Tax Proposal To Avoid Major Bus Cuts

King County Metro Transit's Facebook Page

King County is through waiting on Olympia.

The county is moving forward with its own measure to avoid major service cuts to Metro Transit, King County Executive Dow Constantine said on Tuesday.

“We waited and we waited, and now time is up,” Constantine said. “We are out of time for a statewide bill that includes a local transportation solution. It is time to move forward.”

Read more
Brain Training
5:07 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

10 Hours Of Brain Training Keeps Elderly Sharper Even 10 Years Later, Study Finds

istockphoto.com

Scientists have long known that brain training can help older adults stay sharp, but a new study co-authored by a Seattle scientist shows those benefits also have remarkable staying power.

The advantages from just a little bit of training — about 10 total hours — can last at least a full decade, according to a large national study called the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly, or ACTIVE study. 

Read more
Affordable Care Act
5:01 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Wash. Health Exchange Looking To Skew Younger

Elaine Thompson AP Photo

A diverse group of people have signed up for private health insurance on Washington's state-run exchange, but officials say they still need more young people on board. 

As of Jan. 2, some 71,205 people had enrolled in private plans on Washington's health insurance exchange, a good deal less than the goal of 130,000. But Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said it’s still on the low end of the expected range.

Read more
Public Health
2:16 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Study: Anti-Smoking Campaign Saved 5 Busloads Of People Every Day For 50 Years

File image
AP Photo

Fifty years ago this weekend, the U.S. surgeon general released a landmark report blaming smoking for a number of health risks.

A new study co-authored by Seattle researchers says the campaign against smoking has saved about eight million lives since. That’s more than the population of Washington state, or put another way, it’s like preventing about five full Metro buses from driving off a cliff every day for 50 years.

Read more
Bertha, The Boring Machine
2:00 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

What's Blocking Bertha? Probably A Steel Pipe The State Put There, WSDOT Says

WSDOT

A steel pipe that the state Department of Transportation itself had installed back in 2002 sits in the way of Bertha underneath Seattle, WSDOT said on Friday, and it may be the cause of the weeks-long work stoppage.

An inspection on Jan. 2 “showed an 8-inch-diameter steel pipe protruding through one of the many openings in the cutterhead,” WSDOT said, adding the agency had installed the pipe, a well casing, in the wake of the 2001 Nisqually quake to better understand groundwater flow. 

Read more
Drug Crime
5:26 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

High-Profile Tacoma Pot Activist Booked On Cold Case Drug Murder

One of Schaef's former businesses in Tacoma allowed people to "vape" in a bar setting.
Paula Wissel KPLU

Pierce County law enforcement officials say they’ve cracked a cold case murder that happened more than 20 years ago, and the investigation has ensnared a high-profile Tacoma marijuana activist.

Michael Schaef is a self-styled cannabis consultant who’s run medical marijuana dispensaries and co-founded a Tacoma “vape bar” that operated, until it was shut down, in a gray area of Washington’s pot law.

Read more
Brain Injuries
5:01 am
Thu January 2, 2014

NFL Money Will Fund Seattle Doctor's Concussion Research

Concussions often don't show up on brain scans.
Matthew Purdy Flickr

The National Football League is paying for a Seattle scientist to study head injuries in student athletes, testing a solution to the problem of how to diagnose and measure concussions.

With all the focus on sports and head trauma lately, it may come as a surprise that medicine actually doesn’t have great ways to measure common brain injuries. They don’t usually show up on brain scans, even though we know they can cause serious and lasting neurological problems.

Read more
Minimum Wage
1:29 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Seattle Mayor-Elect Murray Pulls Sawant Into His Minimum Wage Task Force

FILE - Mayoral candidate state Sen. Ed Murray smiles during a news conference Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Seattle’s incoming mayor has convened a task force to study boosting the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, and he has asked incoming socialist city council member Kshama Sawant to join.

Mayor-Elect Ed Murray said he believes it is a necessary step toward tackling economic inequality, but he also insists he is not prejudicing the outcome of the committee. In addition to Sawant, his 23-member task force includes business interests, organized labor and community groups.

Read more

Pages