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Kelly Gifford

Health reporter, Health, education and environment

801-257-8710, kgifford@sltrib.com


  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Amanda Brunson and Michael Richmond, a married couple from Bountiful, have both struggled with opioid addiction and have gone through the Davis Behavioral Health treatment program, that was created with the help of Intermountain Healthcare. They both went from living out of their car to purchasing a home and getting their children back after two years in foster care. Once ranked 7th nationally for drug-overdose deaths, Utah gets federal aid in opioids war
    Bountiful • Opioid addiction nearly wrecked their lives, but Amanda Brunson and her husband, Michael Richmond, found a saving grace. In their early da...
    Updated May 28 2017 02:50 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   The University of Utah Medical School holds a memorial service at the Salt Lake City Cemetery for all of the bodies donated to science that helped medical students learn to become doctors. The service honored 241 individuals who gave their bodies to science and education at the University last year. Ceremony honors 241 who donated bodies for U. medical studies
    Christie Evans and her mother, Norma Kjelstrom, made a pact in the 1970s to donate their bodies to the University of Utah for medical study. Their dec...
    Updated May 26 2017 11:32 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  | Tribune file photo)   The Provo River flows near Heber City in early May. Health officials are warning of elevated drowning dangers, especially for children, due to high seasonal spring runoffs and recent heavy rains. Utah's abundant spring runoff poses elevated drowning risk, say health officials
    With warmer temperatures melting winter away, health officials are warning Utahns to tread carefully as the summer swimming season approaches. Cold a...
    Updated May 24 2017 09:44 pm   |     |   Share

  • Michael Mangum  |  Special to the Tribune University of Utah School of Dentistry students listen during the school’s inaugural commencement ceremonies at Kingsbury Hall on Saturday. U. graduates its first class of future dentists
    Tears streamed down Rachel Smith’s face as she paid tribute to each of her fellow University of Utah School of Dentistry graduates at Saturday morning...
    Updated May 20 2017 11:29 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Dr. Vivian Lee who recently resigned as CEO of University of Utah Health acknowledged the applause of students at University of Utah School of Medicine commencement ceremony in Kinsbury Hall Friday May 19.   With 297 students graduating it’s the first expanded class size from the passage of Senate Bill 42 in 2013. Vivian Lee wins praise, standing ovation from University of Utah medical school grads, speaker
    As A. Lorris Betz took the stage Friday during commencement ceremonies for the University of Utah’s School of Medicine, he acknowledged he wasn’t the ...
    Updated May 22 2017 05:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Ali Dibble, University of Utah engineering student,  assembles a prototype of a biodegradable feminine hygene product.  The green layer is a biodegradable plastic, the white substance is hydrogel, a super absorbant material, and natural cotton.  The final plastic layer that goes on top is then heat pressed together. Bates and his students have developed a 100 percent biodegradable feminine hygiene pad that can be made entirely from all natural materials. The product has been under development for about two years and they are hoping to not only get it going in developing countries where women don’t have access to feminine care products, but also begin marketing it to US women as a sustainable alternative. U. team invents all natural feminine pad
    About two years ago, when Jeff Bates’ 5-year-old daughter spilled rice on the kitchen floor, it blossomed into a moment of scientific discovery. That ...
    Updated May 15 2017 11:29 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Marina Pimentel gets a hug from husband Kent after receiving good news at her three-month checkup after her last chemotherapy at Huntsman Cancer Institute Tuesday May 2.  She couldn’t navigate her world after her cancer diagnosis about a year ago.  Between her job, insurance, treatment and many other factors, she didn’t know where to turn to get the right information to help her keep her life on track. She started working with Sara Salmon, adololescent-young adult patient navigator to get her through the process. Young and diagnosed with cancer; new Utah program aims to help
    Marina Pimentel is a clear example of how life goes on — even after hearing you have cancer. Since being diagnosed last June and treated for Hodgkin’s...
    Updated May 09 2017 10:48 am   |     |   Share

  • Want to live longer? Try Summit County
    Summit County residents are living an average of up to six years longer than other Utahns, a recent study from the University of Washington has found....
    Updated May 08 2017 11:25 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Jirapat Sakkaphun works with her teacher and advisor Candice Williams taking blood pressure readings in the nursing lab at Salt Lake Community College Jordan campus Thursday May 4. Jirapat is one of the oldest students to graduate from Salt Lake Community College for the class of 2017 and she will be receiving her degree in nursing. SLCC grad, 80, proves that learning is lifelong
    Candice Williams was slightly shocked when Jirapat Sakkaphun entered her office last fall to discuss an education at Salt Lake Community College. Sakk...
    Updated May 05 2017 03:04 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    Karla K. Bergeson, delivers the keynote address after receiving an honorary degree at the Weber State University graduation at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Friday, April 28, 2017. Ogden lawyer urges WSU graduates to embrace differences
    Ogden • Corporate attorney Karla Bergeson challenged graduating Weber State University students Friday to embrace three lessons she said shaped her li...
    Updated May 22 2017 03:04 pm   |     |   Share

  • Ask about those opioids, Utah health officials say
    Pharmacists across Utah will begin placing red stickers atop opioid pill bottles next month as part of a new Utah Department of Health program aimed a...
    Updated Apr 29 2017 08:41 pm   |     |   Share

  • BYU grad overcomes life-changing accident to finish degrees, regain independence
    Stephen Merrill stepped onto Brigham Young University’s campus his freshman year with the same excitement and hope for the future that many newcomers ...
    Updated May 22 2017 02:46 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Zach Torres-George, an environmental health scientist with the Salt Lake County Health Department performs a safety inspection of the playground at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Salt Lake. Next week is National Playground Safety Week and the health department is looking to promote safe practices on the playgrounds. About 1,700 Utah elementary students injured yearly on school playgrounds, study says
    A new study from the Utah Department of Health showed that about 5,100 elementary school students in the state were injured on school playgrounds over...
    Updated Apr 24 2017 11:13 pm   |     |   Share

  • Expert calls for a review of policies on pot use, transplants after man’s death
    The death Saturday of a Park City man refused eligibility for a lung transplant at the University of Utah after doctors found a trace of marijuana in ...
    Updated Apr 24 2017 10:50 pm   |     |   Share

  • Park City man, denied lung transplant at the U. due to trace of marijuana, dies after procedure in Pennsylvania
    A Park City man who was refused a lung transplant at the University of Utah after doctors found a trace of marijuana in his system died Saturday at th...
    Updated Apr 24 2017 05:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Huntsman Cancer Institute faculty make signs prior to their protest march from the HCI to President’s Circle to deliver their petition to University of Utah President David Pershing’s office, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Rift widens over Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO’s firing
    Two days after University of Utah officials abruptly fired the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s CEO, the institute continued to reel from a widening rift b...
    Updated May 22 2017 03:07 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, left, and Claire Larson who received a heart transplant in 2016, share their personal experience during a celebration of the 15-year anniversary of the digital Yes Utah Donor Registry. The move drastically increased the number of organ donors in Utah as well as saving many more lives of those on transplant lists around the state. Organ donor database marks 15 years
    As a drowsy haze from the anesthesia wore off, Claire Larson kept asking, “Is the new heart in me?” And her doctors, nurses and family happily answere...
    Updated Apr 18 2017 10:36 pm   |     |   Share

  • More than a third of Utahns know someone who died by suicide, 42 percent know someone who tried, poll shows
    Nothing could have prepared Aaron Burgin for the news of his brother’s suicide nor the emotions it brought. People offered well-intended advice and c...
    Updated Apr 11 2017 04:26 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Nahida Smith, left, and Fredale Burns work underneath the robot to remove the wooden bumpers to allow for new ones to be installed. The Navajo Mountain High School robotics team competes at the ’Utah FIRST Robotics Competition,’ Thursday, March 9, 2017. Navajo Mountain robotics team headed to championships for first time
    The Navajo Mountain High School robotics team qualified to compete in the FIRST Robotics Championships in Houston, Texas – an accomplishment the newly...
    Updated Apr 08 2017 12:41 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Ben Anderson and his son Kemp, helped the Carmen B Pingree Autism Center of Learning to place some of the 16,000 blue flags on the lawn at Washington Square Park, Saturday, April 1 2017. The flags represent the 1 in 58 children in Utah who will be diagnosed with autism. Sixteen thousand blue flags placed in Washington Square Park to raise autism awareness
    Volunteers from the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning placed 16,000 blue flags throughout Washington Square Park Saturday morning in celebra...
    Updated Apr 01 2017 05:42 pm   |     |   Share

  • Fewer Utahns going without health insurance, though obstacles persist
    Fewer Utahns under age 65 are going without health insurance, according to new numbers, but experts say residents still face major obstacles in gettin...
    Updated Apr 03 2017 11:30 pm   |     |   Share