Ryan Benk

Ryan Benk is originally from Miami, Florida and came to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University. He worked on Miami Dade College’s Arts and Literature Magazine- Miamibiance Magazine and has published poetry and a short film called “The Writer.” He’s currently working as the Newsroom’s Researcher while finishing his Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree at Florida State University. When he’s not tracking down news, Ryan likes watching films, writing fiction and poetry, and exploring Florida.

According to Centers for Disease Control data, sexually transmitted disease infections are on the rise among the country’s youngest population.

In Jacksonville, some University of North Florida faculty are trying to stop that trend with education and yes, condoms.


World AIDS Day is Friday, but the City of Jacksonville is dedicating the whole week to awareness, beginning Monday with the unfurling of parts of the AIDS Memorial quilt.


Jacksonville has the highest rate of fentanyl-related deaths in the state, according to an annual Florida Department of Law Enforcement report.

A Live Oak poultry producer and environmental groups have reached a settlement over Suwannee River pollution, avoiding further litigation.

Pilgrim’s Pride processing plant has agreed to pay $1.4 million for violating its own Clean Water Act permit.


Veteran homelessness has dropped 80 percent in Jacksonville since 2009, that’s according to a new report from nonprofit Changing Homelessness.

After years of failed attempts to expand Medicaid insurance coverage in Florida, one recently-formed group is pushing for something more — single payer.

Normally that means complete government control of health insurance.

But the drive for a package of constitutional amendments is focusing on a strategy that keeps private insurance intact.


A bill that would create a Florida system parallel to the existing federal Veterans Health Administration passed its first committee hearing Tuesday.

It would allow veterans to opt into the state’s Medicaid system in addition to or even instead of the VA.


More than a week after President Donald Trump declared a public health emergency over the opioid epidemic; Florida lawmakers are considering implementing one of his federal recommendations on the state level.

Sunshine State leaders will decide whether to expand the use of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program during next year’s legislative session.

But one Jacksonville doctor says that measure is treating the wrong addiction crisis.


A federal Food and Drug Administration advisory committee Wednesday recommended approval of a new injectable treatment for opioid addiction.

One Jacksonville addiction specialist participated in the drug trial that the panel examined data from.


Former President Bill Clinton Tuesday took a tour of Orange Park Medical Center’s facilities and heard from community leaders about how Northeast Florida is dealing with the opioid crisis and addiction in general.


The same week President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency; officials in Jacksonville are readying a lawsuit against companies who manufacture the drug.

JEA’s sweeping expansion of solar power in Northeast Florida has been mostly praised as a big step into the future and criticism from renewable energy advocates has been more subdued than previous solar proposals.

But some are still concerned about the rollback of a special subsidy paid to rooftop solar users.

State Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, is sponsoring a measure that would allow Florida residents to petition a judge for a protective order against a family member who owns a gun, if that person is proven to be a danger to themselves or others.

UF Health Jacksonville hospital is getting more than $2 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch a telemedicine project to treat urban patients with HIV.

Telehealth is the practice of treating patients from a distance using technology like computers, tablets and other platforms.


The St. Johns River Water Management District, which encompasses parts of 18 central and northeastern Florida counties, said Tuesday Hurricane Irma dropped more than two trillion gallons of water across its service area.


This year’s State of the River Report concludes there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to some nutrients and pollutants that cause toxic algal blooms, including chlorophyll and fecal coliform. That’s even though levels of certain pollutants like phosphorus and nitrogen, have been trending downward in the last 10 years.


UF Health Jacksonville jumped 33 spots in an annual ranking of academic medical centers, according to hospital officials.

The City of Jacksonville is moving forward with plans to launch a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for their role in the city’s worsening opioid addiction crisis.

As a statewide panel of health care experts finalizes recommendations for a telemedicine regulatory framework in Florida, Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) is sponsoring a measure incorporating a number of their initial findings.


A “bi-partisan fix” to the Affordable Care Act is set to get its first hearing in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is sponsoring the bill, which would create a federal health reinsurance program.


It may become easier to find lawyers to represent special-needs kids if a Northeast Florida lawmaker’s bill is passed.

Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) wants taxpayers to cover court costs for their attorneys working pro bono.


Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) is asking the Florida Legislature to appropriate $25 million more dollars for springs restoration next year.

Bradley is building on a funding increase from the last legislative session.


Imagine being stranded without a ride to the doctor or arriving hours late to medical appointments that your life literally depends on. Those are Florida patients’ most common grievances with a company the state pays to arrange medical transportation for people with disabilities.  


The city of Jacksonville is considering suing prescription drug makers for deceptive marketing.

One city councilman believes pharmaceutical companies are complicit in Northeast Florida’s opioid addiction epidemic.


Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams is responding to comments made by President Donald Trump that some police departments, including Gainesville’s, have denounced for endorsing police brutality.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry Wednesday announced his plan to consolidate the city’s two major child-welfare programs and focus on those most in need.

Curry, a former Florida Republican Party chairman and self-described fiscal conservative, said a decade ago he changed some of his views on government intervention after meeting a 93-year-old Lakeland woman who was caring for six children.

A new exhibit at the Jacksonville Library is designed to shine a light on an uncomfortable reality: the prevalence of sexual violence.

“Survive to Thrive: Life Beyond Sexual Abuse” is meant to educate and unite the community around those affected.


In Jacksonville Wednesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott said Congress should “do their job” and repeal the Affordable Care Act. But he said lawmakers must first craft something to replace it.


Changes to Florida’s child-welfare system, sponsored by Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Augustine), are finally law after two years of debate in Tallahassee.

Stevenson said her 100-page measure gives investigators more power to keep kids safe.


Four Jacksonville projects aimed at making residents healthier are getting a collective $444,000 boost from the Humana Foundation.


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