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 rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Articles

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

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’

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Michigan lawmaker: Require dental screenings for school children

Michigan lawmaker: Require dental screenings for school children

June 4, 2019 | Robin Erb

A West Michigan representative said he originally dismissed the need for such a law. Then he noticed his own daughter’s teeth.

High blood pressure is rampant in Michigan. Better data may lead to a cure.

High blood pressure is rampant in Michigan. Better data may lead to a cure.

May 29, 2019 | Robin Erb

An ambitious effort from Wayne State University correlates blood pressure and demographic data. The findings are surprising, and could hold a key to reducing preventable deaths in Michigan.

Dan Gilbert health crisis spotlights strokes, one of Michigan’s top killers

Dan Gilbert health crisis spotlights strokes, one of Michigan’s top killers

May 29, 2019 | Robin Erb

Detroit developer Dan Gilbert is hospitalized with a stroke. What you should know about the ailment

Michigan’s abortion rate among nation’s highest. What you need to know.

Michigan’s abortion rate among nation’s highest. What you need to know.

May 22, 2019 | Robin Erb

As lawmakers debate restrictions on abortion in Michigan and elsewhere, a look at numbers that help frame the debate.

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