Sam Baker

Senior Editor and Morning Edition Host

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Sam worked in commercial television at NBC and CBS affiliates for six years before moving to public broadcasting. He was news director and Morning Edition host at KWGS-FM in Tulsa, Okla., for three years and moved to KERA in 1991. He has served on the board of Public Radio News Directors Inc. and is a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators.

As a volunteer, Sam produces a weekly series, Jazz in Words and Music, for Reading and Radio Resources, an agency serving the visually impaired. He also serves on the board of Southwest Transplant Alliance, a private non-profit organization that provides organs and tissues for transplantation.

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Vital Signs
6:28 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Enterovirus D-68: The 'Other' Major Viral Problem

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As local officials try to contain Ebola in Dallas, another virus has swept much of the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or state labs have confirmed nearly 800 cases of Enterovirus D-68, most of them in children.

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Ebola in Dallas
6:19 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Parkland Hospital's Ebola Plan: 'Ready To Go In The Event We Have To Do This For Real'

Dr. Alex Eastman of Parkland Hospital said the Dallas Ebola news only strengthened the staff’s resolve to be prepared with a response plan.
Parkland Hospital/Facebook

The medical director of disaster preparedness for Dallas County's public hospital system says staff members were disheartened to learn of a second nurse with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas contracting Ebola.

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Vital Signs
6:28 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Artificial Sweeteners: Bad For Your Blood Sugar?

Sugar substitute pills on a spoon.
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Many use artificial sweeteners to avoid weight gain or to fight diabetes. But new research suggests the opposite effect.  

A study published in the journal Nature shows the impact of artificial sweeteners on gut bacteria can raise blood sugar levels and contribute to obesity and diabetes.

Dr. Luis Meneghini heads the Global Diabetes Program for Parkland Hospital System. In this edition of Vital Signs, he talked about the potential of the results.

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Vital Signs
6:29 am
Mon October 6, 2014

New FDA Rules For Hydrocodone Combination Drugs

Prescription pain pills
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Drugs like Vicodin and Lortab containing hydrocodone and other ingredients, like acetaminophen or Tylenol, are the most commonly prescribed medications in the country. But they're now harder to get. In this edition of Vital Signs, Dr. Brett Johnson of Methodist Charlton Medical Center explains how these pain-fighting drugs have been reclassified to help reduce abuse.

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Vital Signs
6:28 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Morning Sickness: Most, But Not All, Pregnant Women Have It

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Along with the news of the Duchess of Cambridge expecting her second child came word of another bout of severe morning sickness. 75-percent of pregnant women experience some form of nausea and/or vomiting in the first trimester, likely related to hormonal change from pregnancy. In this edition of Vital Signs, Dr. David Nelson, an OB/GYN at Parkland Hospital, explains the former Kate Middleton’s situation isn’t unusual.

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Vital Signs
6:28 am
Mon September 22, 2014

C.diff: Another Good Reason To Wash Your Hands

Always wash with soap and water. Hand sanitizers aren't always effective.
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While most healthcare-associated infections are on the decline, the Centers for Disease Control reports one remains at high levels. It’s called clostridium difficile. What most people refer to as C.difficile or C.diff causes an infectious diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year.

In this edition of Vital Signs, Dr. Pranavi Sreeramajou, Chief of Infection Prevention at Parkland Hospital, says awareness is key to fighting C.diff.

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Health/Science
3:03 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

For A Strong Heart In Old Age, The Amount You Exercise Matters

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The general consensus is the more you exercise, the better off your heart is. But do the benefits change depending on how often you exercise a week? Researchers with Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith hospital wanted to find out.

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Vital Signs
6:28 am
Mon September 15, 2014

COPD: One More Reason To Quit Smoking

X-ray of cardiac obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
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You’re short of breath after a flight of stairs or other daily activities. It might be fatigue, lack of exercise – or maybe COPD.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a group name for lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema that block airflow and make breathing difficult. It’s also a condition the Affordable Care Act’s keeping closer tabs on beginning next month. 

In this edition of Vital Signs, Tom Kallstrom, CEO of the American Association for Respiratory Care, explains more about COPD.

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Health/Science
11:27 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Five Things To Know About Ectopic Pregnancy

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In a new memoir, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis revealed she terminated two pregnancies. One, in 1996, involved a fetus that had developed a severe brain abnormality. The other was what is known as an ectopic pregnancy.

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Vital Signs
6:28 am
Mon September 8, 2014

What You Should Know About Gestational Diabetes

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Despite prenatal care, around five percent of women will develop diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a temporary, but potentially serious problem.  

In this edition of Vital Signs, Dr. Brian Casey, an obstetrician with Parkland Hospital, explains gestational diabetes is part of the physiology of pregnancy.

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