Jackie Fortier

StateImpact Oklahoma

Jackie Fortier joined StateImpact Oklahoma in November 2017, reporting on a variety of topics and heading up its health reporting initiative. She has many journalism awards to her name during her years of multi-media reporting in Colorado, and was part of a team recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with a Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in breaking news reporting in 2013.

She is a former young professional fellow of the Journalism and Women's Symposium, and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Reporters without Borders, and a lifetime member of Kappa Tau Alpha, awarded for her thesis on disability and technology in news reporting.

She holds a bachelor's degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing from Colorado State University and a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder. When she's not reporting, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three cats.

Ways to Connect

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Interim health commissioner Preston Doerflinger resigned Wednesday after allegations of past spousal abuse surfaced.

The board of the Oklahoma State Department of Health accepted Doerflinger’s resignation, after spending over an hour in a private meeting to discuss his employment.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased 91 percent over the last decade and a half, prompting the state to form a task force charged with a daunting goal: Brainstorm a plan to guide the state out of an opioid epidemic that kills three Oklahomans nearly every day.

The Commission on Opioid Abuse released its final report in January.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jacob is just a few hours old when registered nurse Amy Burnett begins one of the simplest measurements to tell if a newborn is healthy — their weight.

“You want to make sure that they are naked, they have no diaper, and you bring him to the scale,” she says as she removes his tiny Pampers.

She gently picks him up, confidently balancing his body on her forearm like a football. Her purple gloved fingers encircle his neck as she hits a button on the scale, which beeps loudly, zeroing it out.

He squirms as she places his head toward the top of the plastic rim.

StateImpact Oklahoma, a collaboration of NPR member stations in Oklahoma, has added two new reporters to their team.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On June 26, voters will decide if Oklahoma will become the 30th state to legalize marijuana for medical use. But regulating the new industry could prove difficult.

If State Question 788 passes, licenses will be required for each stage of marijuana cultivation, including dispensaries, commercial growers, processors, and individual medical marijuana cards.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that black infants in Oklahoma are twice as likely to die before their first birthday than white or Hispanic babies, making Oklahoma one of the worst states for black infant mortality.

Behind the numbers: The death rate for black babies is a staggering 12.9 per 1,000 live births. White and Hispanic infant death rates in the state are much lower, at 6.8 and 6.0 respectively.

StateImpact Oklahoma

2017 is wrapping up, but the growing group of reporters at StateImpact are following many important government policy issues that will carry on into the new year.

Senior Reporter and Managing Editor Joe Wertz brought the StateImpact team into the studio for a preview of their coverage in the year to come. Here are some excerpts from the conversation edited for clarity:

HEALTH

Joe Wertz: Give me the big picture for the new year.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office on Tuesday said a probe into alleged mismanagement of roughly $30 million from the Oklahoma State Department of Health has expanded to include investigators from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Oklahoma state auditor Gary Jones testified Thursday that whistleblowers warned his office of possible fraud months before the State Department of Health nearly missed payroll due to alleged mishandling of $30 million dollars.

Jones provided a detailed timeline describing early efforts to unravel how funds were mismanaged, who knew and when. He told the house investigative committee that an unnamed health department manager came forward in late July to alert his office of financial mismanagement at the state health department. Within days, four more employees came forward.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

After her divorce, Lori Taylor wanted a home all her own. She moved back to Oklahoma to be near her aging parents, but she had a problem. For years her personal caregiver had been her now ex-husband.

“I have cerebral palsy and that’s brain damage that I incurred at birth, and it affects my motor skills. I’m confined to an electric wheelchair. I can stand but I can’t walk, I have very limited use of my arms,” Taylor says, sitting in the living room of her Norman apartment.

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