Ibby Caputo

Reporter, Boston Public Radio

Ibby Caputo reports on the health of people and communities in and around the Greater Boston area.

Ibby's work has aired nationally on PRI's The World, NPR News, All Things Considered, and internationally on the BBC's Boston Calling. Her journalism, essays and photography have been published in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Cape Cod Times, The Times-Picayune, Women & Cancer magazine, Nationswell.com and elsewhere. In 2013, Ibby was selected for a Health Coverage Fellowship sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. Ibby is a guest speaker at the Harvard Divinity School. 

Before coming to WGBH, Ibby worked as a freelance producer for WBUR’s special documentary unit Inside Out, and for On Point with Tom Ashbrook. In 2009, Ibby was the recipient of the Kaiser Family Foundation Media Summer Fellowship and worked as a health reporter for The Washington Post.

Ibby received her B.A. from Princeton University and an M.S. from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.


6:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

The Crisis Of Antibiotic Resistance: The Germs Are Winning

Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria this these cause infections in hospitals.
Credit CDC via NPR

An estimated 23,000 people die each year in the U.S. from infections that don’t respond to antibiotics.

Pamela Woodbury lives in a two-story house in Spencer, Mass. Three years ago, Woodbury was on her way to work when she took a spill on her steps and broke her ankle. She says she not doesn't have any mobility in her ankle. 

"It was a closed break. There was no skin broken, no blood, nothing. My ankle was in an L position. The leg went one way and the ankle went the other way," she said.  

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Local News
9:09 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Late-Night MBTA Service Comes With Maintenance Trade-Off

Passengers board a Red Line MBTA train at Park Street in Boston.
Credit Anne Mostue / WGBH News

The much-anticipated extended MBTA service begins tonight. While riders are excited about being able to stay out later, the increased service comes with a trade-off.

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5:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Tourniquets To Be Distributed Along Boston Marathon Route

Runners start the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 15, 2013.
Credit (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

In preparation for Marathon Monday, law enforcement and public safety officials have ordered thousands of tourniquet kits, many of which will be distributed to key personnel positioned along the Boston Marathon route.

Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon David King knows that when bombs and bullets fly, tourniquets save lives. King saw it last year after running the marathon himself, when the Iraq and Afghanistan-war veteran went straight to work caring for bombing victims.

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4:00 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Hacking To Improve Health Care

One team developed facial recognition software to detect rare diseases. Team member Sean Manton posed for the prototype.
Photo courtesy of Sharon Moalem.

Hundreds of students, doctors, designers, engineers and entrepreneurs gathered in an innovation incubator at MIT this past weekend. Their goal? To develop solutions to some of health care’s most perplexing problems.

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7:51 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Treating Depression: Beyond Prescription Drugs

A new study shows that mindfulness meditation can help people who suffer from mild or moderate depression.
Credit iStockphoto via NPR

It’s called the common cold of mental health – depression – because so many people struggle with it. About one in 10 adults in the United States reports suffering from depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drugs are one way to manage depression, but there has also been a rise of alternative approaches.

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Local News
2:00 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Warren Calls For More Investment In Women's Biomedical Research

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke at a National Policy Summit on Women’s Health held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Boston on Monday.

No one had ever considered the possibility that she had coronary disease. I’ve always assumed that was because she was a woman," Warren said. 

Warren was the keynote speaker at the summit that brought together policymakers, industry representatives, doctors and scientists to discuss disparities in biomedical research that affects health outcomes for women.


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Local News
5:00 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Fossil-Fuel-Free Mutual Funds Growing In Popularity

Promotional materials from a fossil-fuel-free mutual fund.

Stephen Manley, 67, first learned about the thinning of the atmosphere when he was a college student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

"I remember a physics teacher telling us about climate change in the early '70s," he said.

Decades later, Manley started to wonder how his financial investments might be contributing to global warming. So he scrutinized his stock portfolio, and didn’t like what he found.

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Local News
2:41 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Snowstorm Forces Logan To Cancel More Than Half Of Wednesday's Flights

A plow and a plane are battered by snow at Logan Airport.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday, and "light wintry precipitation" should continue until the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Logan Airport started the day at a crawling pace as crews manning the snow plows and de-icing trucks tried to keep up with the rate of snowfall. But that wasn’t the only challenge they faced. Unlike the last storm when the snow was light and fluffy, this time it was wet and heavy, making it difficult to move.

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Local News
6:00 am
Thu January 30, 2014

New Flood Maps Lead Homeowners To Question Skyrocketing Flood Insurance Premiums

The 2012 flood map of the Piva's neighborhood. Click to enlarge.
Credit National Flood Insurance Program

Congress is considering a bill that would delay flood insurance rate hikes, but that is little consolation to many people whose flood insurance premiums have already skyrocketed. 
When Kerry and Geoff Piva bought their three-bedroom home on Balmoral Street in Andover, they thought they were buying into the American Dream.

"The reason we purchased this house is because Andover is such a great town. They have wonderful schools and we know we would like our son to be raised here," Kerry said.

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Local News
11:52 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Logan Returning To Normal After Snowstorm

People are starting to trickle in to Logan Airport after the snowstorm.

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Local News
12:24 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Logan Will Remain Open During Storm, But Flights Sparse

Boston's Logan International Airport plans to stay open during the snowstorm, but that doesn't there will be any flights in or out.

Director of Aviation Ed Freni said airlines that service the airport decided Thursday that they won't bring in planes for the Friday morning schedules, and dozens of flights in and out have been canceled or delayed. The last scheduled departure is expected at around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The airport should start operations by noon on Friday.

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5:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

New Development, Old Challenges In Chelsea

A one-bedroom apartment in this new housing complex is expected to cost about $1,600 a month.
Ibby Caputo WGBH

  Since the city went bankrupt in the 1990s, Boston’s neighbor to the north- Chelsea- has been seen as a down-and-out city. But new development is helping the city shed that reputation. As part of an ongoing series Where We Live, WGBH News has been exploring our changing cities and towns.

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10:28 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Brigham And Women's Receives $140 Million To Fund AIDS Research

Ed Perlmutter has taken part in HIV research at Brigham & Women's Hospital. He was diagnosed with the virus in 2006.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

Brigham and Women's Hospital has received two grants totaling $140 million to fund AIDS research. 

Two grants, awarded by a branch of the National Institutes of Health, will fund a network of about 60 clinical research sites around the globe. Daniel Kuritzkes chairs the organization that received the grants: the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, headquartered at Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

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4:33 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Boston Doctors Prepare To Head To Philippines To Aid Haiyan Victims

Dr. Selwyn Mahon is headed to the Philippines to provide medical care. He has been studying emergency deployment as a Disaster Medicine Fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

  Doctors specially trained in Boston are on their way to the Philippines, one week after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the country, affecting more than 11 million people.

Dr. Selwyn Mahon has spent the last three months studying emergency deployment as a disaster medicine fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Now he’s putting what he learned into practice. 

"One of the most essential parts of disaster response is personal preparedness, so if you are not prepared, you are going to become part of the problem," he said. 

As part of his preparations, 

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5:00 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Caring For Your Parents: Having 'The Talk'

Elizabeth and Michael Fitzpatrick
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

For ten years, Damian lived with and cared for his grandmother with dementia. He cooked for her, laid out her clothes, put lotion on her back, took her to the hairdresser, and to tea with the ladies.

Damian is my fiancé. He said that caring for his grandmother was an enlightening experience. 

“Because it is the reality of life. We are all going through the process of being born, getting older, getting sick, and we will all die.  Actually really experiencing that process with someone was really grounding, and really rewarding.”

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Local News
5:22 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Medical Staff, Vaccines Needed In The Philippines

The death toll continues to rise in the Philippines, where a massive typhoon has devastated regions of the country. Flooded airports have made it difficult for relief workers to get to the Philippines.

As of Monday, the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders only had 15 people in the devastated city of Tocloban.

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Politics & Government
9:08 am
Wed November 6, 2013

East Boston Votes Against Suffolk Downs Casino

No Eastie Casino, an anti-casino group, celebrate the election result Tuesday.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH News

Voters in East Boston rejected a proposal for a casino at Suffolk Downs.

"David Beat Goliath! David Beat Goliath! David Beat Goliath!" anti-casino activists chanted at a victory party Tuesday.

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Local News
7:35 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Obama Stresses Bipartisanship, Patience At Faneuil Speech

President Obama touted the Affordable Care Act to hundreds of supporters at Faneuil Hall in Boston on Oct. 30.
Credit Meredith Nierman / WGBH

While his Health and Human Services Secretary was being grilled by Congress, President Obama touted the Affordable Care Act to hundreds of supporters at Faneuil Hall in Boston yesterday.

Not surprisingly, President Obama started his address with a shout out to the Red Sox.
"I tried to grow a beard, but Michelle, she wasn’t having it," he said to the crowd. Then soon got to the point. Obama, who did not attend last night’s game, came to Boston for its symbolism.

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Politics & Government
5:04 am
Wed October 30, 2013

President Obama Scheduled To Visit Boston

President Obama arrives in Boston this afternoon to try to regain credibility that the Affordable Care Act will benefit a majority of Americans.

He's chosen a state and a backdrop filled with symbolism.

The President will defend the law at Faneuil Hall, where Governor Mitt Romney signed into law the state's
healthcare reform. That reform served as the model for Obamacare. The President finds himself on the defensive as massive computer glitches have frustrated and hindered the enrollment process for millions of Americans.

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Local News
5:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Mass. Foreclosures On The Rise Despite Improving Economy

Protesters rally outside a house eviction in Boston.
Credit Damian FitzPatrick

As the economy improves, home foreclosures have not gone away. In fact, they are on the rise again in Massachusetts. In August, there were more than 700 foreclosure filings in Greater Boston, an increase of 4 percent from July.

"Halt the evictions! Halt the evictions!"

These are the sounds of the foreclosure crisis in Boston.

About 25 people are making a habit of standing outside the Boston Housing Court to protest the foreclosure and eviction policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Local News
12:21 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Boston Activist Mel King Arrested While Protesting Evictions

Mel King was escorted by a Boston Police officer after his arrest on Oct. 3, 2013 in front of Boston Housing Court.
Credit Elizabeth Murphy / WGBH

At age 85, he's still at it.

Boston activist Mel King was arrested Thursday morning for blocking entrance to Boston Housing Court while protesting evictions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“I’m here to get a CORI," King said, stating that it was his moral obligation.

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Politics & Government
6:31 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Boston Landmarks Shuttered During Federal Government Shutdown

A sign posted on the door of the Great Hall at Faneuil Hall.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH News

Several key landmarks of the nation’s founding were closed Tuesday in Boston because of the federal government shutdown.

At Faneuil Hall, tourists were buying souvenirs in the privately owned gift shop, but they were locked out of the actual attraction — the Great Hall, sometimes called the “Cradle of Freedom.” A sign posted on the double doors leading to it read, “Due to federal shutdown the Great Hall is closed. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

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5:00 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Patients, Researchers Benefit From Real Time Data

Ben Heywood is the co-founder of the Cambridge-based company Patients Like Me, an online patient network that hopes to advance medicine through a real-time research platform.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

Sometimes being sick can feel like a job. Call a doctor, make an appointment, go for an exam. Lab tests, prescription refills, follow-up appointments, and don’t forget to take the doctor's advice.

As a doctor and a PhD student in epidemiology at Paris Diderot University, Dr. Thi Tranviet would know.  He is studying the workload of being a patient, something he calls the "burden of treatment"-  a relatively new concept but something that can affect health outcomes. "What is original in our study is that we study all kinds of patients with all kinds of conditions," he said.

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8:28 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Despite Energetic Campaign, Mike Ross Takes 7th Place

Mike Ross told supporters to hold their heads up high after he lost in the Boston mayoral preliminary election.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

Despite an energetic campaign, Boston City Councilor Mike Ross only captured about seven percent of the vote in the Boston mayoral preliminary election. Still, he told his supporters they should hold their heads up high at a restaurant in South Boston where they gathered to watch the poll results last night. 

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Local News
5:00 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Boston Artist Transforms Homeless' Signs Into Works Of Art

Mike Lehman says he has been homeless for two years. He is one of several homeless people in Cambridge who have taken part in a provocative art project by graphic artist Kenji Nakayama.
Credit Christopher Hope / Courtesy Signs for the Homeless

Update, 5:00PM: Since this story aired Monday morning, WGBH News has learned that Michael Lehman is listed on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board as a Level 3 offender. In an email to WGBH, Signs for the Homeless' Christopher Hope said he was not aware of Michael Lehman's status as a Level 3 sex offender: "The mission of Signs for the Homeless is to raise awareness around homelessness through hand painted signs and sharing the homeless's narratives around the world.

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Local News
8:59 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Harvard Student Reflects On Egyptian Revolution

On Tuesday Egyptian police arrested the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the tally of deaths from clashes in Egypt neared 900. Closer to home, in Cambridge, one student reflects on the outcome of the Arab Spring revolution for democracy.

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 was an uprising of historic proportions. After 30 years under the rule of Hosni Mubarak, millions of protestors filled the streets and forced his overthrow.

Ahmed Mahmoud, a post doc at Harvard Medical School, was part of the protests. He said people were overjoyed by the result.

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Local News
5:29 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Egyptian Students In Boston Troubled By Violence At Home

Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. Heavy gunfire rang out Friday throughout Cairo as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with vigilante residents in the fiercest street battles to engulf the capital since the country's Arab Spring uprising. Tens of people were killed in the fighting nationwide, including police officers.
Credit Khalil Hamra / AP

The escalating violence in Egypt, which has taken the lives of more than 600, feels close to some students in Greater Boston.

Mohammad Sherine Hamdy is a student at Harvard Law School. His family is back home in Alexandria, Egypt, and he's been following the events back home on social media and through conversations with his family.

His father is one of the many in Egypt who is defending his home, carrying a stick or kitchen knife as protection. But what makes this so dramatic is that Hamdy's father formerly supported the Morsi government.

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5:00 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Dental Care Hard To Find For Low Income Mass. Residents

Dentist William Horgan treats MassHealth patients at the Joseph Smith Community Health Centers in Waltham and Allston.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

Most of us have a dentist. We go twice a year for cleanings. Once a year for x-rays. But for the state’s 800,000 low-income residents, finding a dentist is not so easy.

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5:00 am
Mon July 29, 2013

MassHealth Leaves Many Adults Without Dental Care

Harriotte Hurie Randvig
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

When it comes to first impressions, your teeth can determine whether people think you are smart, trustworthy and employable. Despite this, one in four nonelderly adults in the U.S. have untreated tooth decay, and that number doubles for people with low incomes. While the Affordable Care Act expands dental benefits for children, it does little to address what’s being called a dental health crisis among adults.

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5:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Brockton Clinic Working Ahead of the Health Care Curve

Community health worker Dieka OGarro visits Carmen Valera at home in Brockton.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH

While states and the federal government grapple with how to implement the Affordable Care Act, one health clinic in Brockton is well on its way to achieving the outcomes sought after by the rest of the nation.

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