Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press chronicling the fight against - and sometimes the triumph over - our most horrific diseases. Her award-winning stories chronicled the battle over the Affordable Care Act, state expansion of Medicaid, cutting-edge research led by Michigan’s hospitals and universities, deadly mistakes and extraordinary care in Michigan’s nursing homes, and a nearly forgotten mix-up of chemicals in cattle feed in the 1970s and its lingering effects today. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Oh). You can contact Robin at or 734-725-1155.


Deadly EEE virus in Michigan forces daylight football starts, cancellations

September 20, 2019 | Robin Erb

Friday night football has moved to daylight for at least two schools in Kalamazoo County, the epicenter of the outbreak of Eastern equine encephalitis. Eight people in Michigan have been infected.

It's official: Flavored e-cigarettes are now illegal in Michigan

September 18, 2019 | Robin Erb

Emergency rules aimed at protecting youth make distribution and sale of flavored vaping products punishable by six months behind bars.. Retailers have 14 days to remove the products from their shelves.

Critics rip Michigan vaping ban, citing harm to smokers and vape shops

September 12, 2019 | Robin Erb

A legislative hearing in Lansing on Thursday gave lawmakers and shop owners an opportunity to explain the unintended consequences of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s planned ban on flavored vape products.

How Right to Life has dominated Michigan abortion politics since Roe v. Wade

September 12, 2019 | Robin Erb, Cheyna Roth, Craig Mauger

In a state that favors abortion rights, the group uses a network of ardent volunteers and the “golden ticket” of its candidate endorsements to restrict abortion access. It hopes to make more gains in 2020.

Michigan Medicaid rules change soon. Can cool envelopes help avoid confusion?

September 9, 2019 | Robin Erb

New work rules go into effect in January for Healthy Michigan beneficiaries. Gleaning lessons from a debacle in Arkansas over similar changes, Michigan is stepping up efforts to communicate the changes.

Vaping may be bad for teens. But will Michigan’s ban hurt smokers trying to quit?

September 4, 2019 | Robin Erb

Some worry an all-out ban on flavored e-cigarettes will take them away from adults who use them -‒ effectively, according to some studies -‒ to kick smoking.

HPV cancer rates are up. Yet many Michigan doctors won’t talk about it.

September 4, 2019 | Robin Erb

The conversation can be awkward, but it also can save lives and prevent human papillomavirus. Some doctors and dentists avoid discussing vaccinations because the virus is sexually transmitted.

Planned Parenthood says 42,000 in Michigan at risk from abortion ‘gag rule’

August 19, 2019 | Robin Erb

The group said it would withdraw from a federal funding program for low-income patients, citing a rule banning clinics from making abortion referrals to other doctors. Anti-abortion group calls the decision ideological.

Can Mike Duggan demolish his way to a safer Detroit? Studies say maybe

August 12, 2019 | Robin Erb

Two studies suggest homicides and aggravated assaults in Detroit dropped more in areas with moderate demolitions. The research, while inconclusive, comes as the mayor prepares to ask voters for more money for the demo blitz.

Michigan doctors reach out to LGBTQ community to narrow health disparities

August 6, 2019 | Robin Erb

Simple steps like changing pronouns on intake forms can make a big difference, while other clinics are increasing outreach and services to the LGBTQ community.

In quiet decision, Michigan continues Medicaid coverage of gender changes

August 6, 2019 | Robin Erb

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration OKs coverage of hormone replacement, breast removal and other procedures. Critics say taxpayers shouldn’t fund such care.

U-M study finds surprising abusers of opioids: new mothers. The fix is easy.

July 26, 2019 | Robin Erb

A University of Michigan study of national data finds that 1 in 100 new moms or more kept refilling prescriptions long after babies arrived.

Rural Michigan needs doctors. Paying their debts may be an answer

July 22, 2019 | Robin Erb

Lawmakers eye expansion of program that pays student debt of medical professionals who practice in underserved areas, as the Michigan doctor shortage intensifies.

A woman, a tick, and the fight in Michigan over Lyme disease

July 1, 2019 | Magdalena Mihaylova, Robin Erb

Exhaustion, depression and pain are made worse when doctors don’t listen, patients say. Lansing bills aim to help, but the campaign faces skepticism from the medical establishment and one surprising group.

Delays, confusion as Michigan preps for new Medicaid work rules

June 27, 2019 | Robin Erb, Lindsay VanHulle

Thousands of Michiganders could lose health coverage after Jan. 1 if they can’t prove work efforts. State says it will have a call center open on Day 1, but advocates worry some people will be left behind.

Oversight board flags ‘deterioration of care’ at Detroit Medical Center

June 17, 2019 | Robin Erb

Nearly 10 years after Detroit hospital system is sold to for-profit company, a volunteer group of overseers is raising concerns about its patient care and transparency.

How toxic is PFAS? Exposed residents slow to aid research in Michigan

June 14, 2019 | Robin Erb

In Kent County, the state hopes blood tests of PFAS contaminated households could inform health decisions. But only half of eligible residents seem willing, casting into doubt Michigan’s role in a larger, federal study.

Amid PFAS nightmare, unlikely activists are born in Michigan

June 14, 2019 | Robin Erb

Once strangers who sought privacy and quiet, PFAS has forced unexpected alliances in northern Kent County. This week, one group took their stories to Boston, fueled by a love of community.

See if your child is eligible for free Michigan dental care from Medicaid

June 4, 2019 | Robin Erb

Many of Michigan’s poor children and adults have gone years without dental care, losing teeth and risking serious health problems. Here is how to find free help for your child's oral health.

Michigan offers free dental care to poor kids; more than 400,000 don’t use it

June 4, 2019 | Robin Erb

Nearly half the state’s poor young people don’t take advantage of the Medicaid program, compromising their health. Explanations are complicated. But the problem is fixable.