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. Ibby has won two awards for hard news and investigative reporting from The Associated Press. 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.


3:57 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Solar Power Makes Electricity More Accessible On Navajo Reservation

This solar panel unit cost about $17,000, less than half as much as it costs to extend the electrical grid a mile. Thompson pays the power company $75 a month to maintain and service the unit.
Ibby Caputo for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 9:39 pm

Most people can't imagine living without smartphones or the Internet, let alone without electricity. But even today — even in the United States — there are still people who live without lights and refrigeration. Many are Native Americans living on tribal reservations.

For many, electricity is a luxury; it can even be magical. Derrick Terry remembers the first winter when there were lights on at his grandmother's house.

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Local News
10:43 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Mass. Considering Allowing Nurse Practitioners To Practice Primary Care

Dr. George Abraham examines his patient, Jason Lizotte.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH News

There’s a doctor shortage in Massachusetts. The traditional ‘family doctors’—the primary care physicians people go to for annual checkups or when they get injured or sick—there just aren’t enough of them. It’s actually a national problem. And with so few doctors, some states are looking to nurses for help.

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3:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Cambridge Hospital To Integrate Psychiatric, Medical ERs

The two emergency rooms at Cambridge Hospital.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH News

For the last four decades, Cambridge Hospital has had two emergency rooms: one for psychiatric patients, and one for medical ones. Soon, that tradition is coming to an end. Starting on June 4, all patients, whether they’re having an emergency of the body or mind, will be seen in the medical ER.

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Local News
4:30 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Teenager's Arm Reattached At Mass. General

Brett Bouchard
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH News

A teenage boy whose severed arm was reattached by surgeons continues to recover tonight at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Local News
3:00 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Giving Humans The Pet Treatment

Treating diseases in our pets can inform how to treat those same diseases in people.
Credit Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images via NPR

Animal lovers often say their pets are like people, and when it comes to health, in many ways, they’re right. Dogs get cancer, cats develop arthritis, and many pets suffer from obesity. 

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3:51 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Bomb Threat Fizzles, MBTA Commuters Stalled

The Downtown Crossing MBTA station was evacuated and closed this morning, after T employees reported that a passenger claimed to be carrying a bomb. 

As rush hour hit its peak a little past 8 o'clock this morning, transit police responded to the Orange Line's northbound platform at Downtown Crossing. There, they located a man fitting the employee's description. Lt. Detective Richard Sullivan says the man was not arrested, but police took him to Massachusetts General Hospital for a mental health evaluation.


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Local News
1:00 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Bilingual Pediatric Neurology Clinic Helps Crack Tricky Diagnoses

Dr. Alcy Torres and his patient, Jonathan Lopez.
Credit Ibby Caputo / WGBH News

There’s been a significant uptick in the number of children being diagnosed with Autism and related disorders. Nationwide, recent federal numbers report one in 68 children have what are called "autism spectrum disorders," which come with all sorts of symptoms related to behavior and communication. One thing that’s important is helping children with these problems early. But researchers say for many Latino children, that’s not happening. And part of the problem is language.

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Local News
7:54 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Severed Cable Triggers Internet Service Outage

About 2,000 RCN internet and cable TV customers in Massachusetts lost their service for several hours Wednesday after a fiber optic cable was mistakenly cut during some digging on Kimble and Magazine Streets in Boston.

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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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