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Bob King - Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Bob King - Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Renee speaks with Dr. Bob King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. King, who is nearing retirement, discusses his tenure with the Council and about Kentucky's long-term goals and challenges in higher education.
S13 E31 Length 28:09 Premiere: 6.1.18

Discussing Long-Term Goals in Higher Education

Times have been tough for higher education over the past decade, as tight state budgets have resulted in substantial cuts to funding for public universities and community and technical colleges in Kentucky.

Robert King knows the situation all too well. He’s been president of the Council on Postsecondary Education since 2009. During his tenure, the commonwealth’s institutions of higher learning have faced lower state appropriations coupled with higher operating expenses, which have helped drive up tuition costs. King admits it’s been a challenging time for the schools and students.

“But overall I think during my time here, the universities, despite the financial challenges, have continued to improve their performance, improve outcomes for more students, develop programs that are increasingly more related to workforces in our state,” says King. “So I’m pleased with progress that we’ve made, but… we still need to get better faster.”

As he prepares to retire from the council, King appeared on KET’s Connections to discuss the achievements and challenges of higher education in Kentucky, and the new performance-based funding model for state colleges and universities.

Part of the improvement that King continues to seek is attracting more students to postsecondary education. CPE has set a goal that 60 percent of the state’s working-age population will have a credential or degree by the year 2030. He says today’s workforce needs demand that.

”Increasingly in the 21st century, more and more jobs out there are going to require something beyond a high school education,” King says.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean a four-year degree. It could also be a two-year associate’s degree or an industrial or professional certification that could be earned in three, six, or 12 months. King says schools need to do a better job of persuading potential students they need this additional education and providing them the services that will enable them to successfully attain their goal.

Even that’s a challenge, though. He says state colleges and universities now serve more students from lower income and minority populations who may need remedial help before tackling postsecondary course work. With schools facing tighter budgets, King says they often have fewer staff members to help students with greater needs.

Bringing Adults Back to School
Another group that CPE is targeting is those individuals who got close to attaining a bachelor’s degree but dropped out of school before completing it. King says they’ve helped more than 1,000 adults who had 90 credit hours towards a degree return to the classroom and finish their studies. Now CPE is turning its sights on those individuals who accrued 80 credit hours before dropping out.

Eventually King says they want to focus on those people who only completed a year or so of college before entering the workforce. He says completing their degree now could help them secure a raise or promotion at work.

To make it easier for those with substantial on-the-job experience to complete a degree in their field of expertise, King says some schools are embracing competency-based education. That allows adult students to accelerate their studies by applying what they already know to their course requirements.

“So they can test their way right through a course without having to complete the semester-long course,” King says. “As a result, people are actually able to complete a two-year degree, and hopefully this will translate into a four-year degrees, at a much faster pace.”

The online programs offered by Kentucky Community and Technical College System use the competency-based system, according to King. He says online courses are especially popular among adults because they don’t require students to be present in a physical classroom at specific hours. Plus, he says data indicates that students perform just as well if not better in online coursework than in traditional classroom settings.

“The biggest challenge for most people in doing online education is just having the discipline to stick to it,” says King.

Lower Revenues, Higher Costs, Fewer Programs
Higher ed suffered yet another round of cuts in the new two-year state budget passed by Kentucky lawmakers this spring. As with most government agencies, the colleges and universities will lose about 6 percent of their funding in the new biennium.

But King says that’s only part of the fiscal challenge facing postsecondary education in the commonwealth.

“There’s the revenue side, where the revenue is shrinking from the state, but there are expenses that are growing,” he says.

Pension costs have increased about 70 percent, says King, from about 49 cents of every dollar in salary to about 83 cents. Health insurance, workers compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance rates are also increasing. Plus the schools now have to pay the operating and maintenance costs on new campus buildings that the state used to fund in a separate appropriation.

That’s forced the schools to increase tuition and fees on students. In earlier years, King says those hikes could be as much as 10 to 13 percent a year. Recently, CPE capped the tuition increases a school could implement. Now they can only increase tuitions by 6 percent over two years, and no more than 4 percent in any one year.

“Our job is to try and balance the interests and concerns of our students and their families with the operating needs of the campuses,” King says.

Higher tuitions only cover about two-thirds of the increased operating costs now faced by Kentucky colleges and universities, according to King.

“The one-third that we don’t cover with tuitions is what’s driving them to have to make these very difficult decisions,” King says. “It’s forcing them to be more efficient, we hope, and more effective.”

In some cases, that means cutting faculty and staff, and ending degree programs that have too few students or that don’t mesh with today’s workforce needs. That’s raised concerns that higher education may be placing too much emphasis on so-called STEM-H degrees (in science, technology, engineering, math, and health) and not enough on traditional liberal arts programs.

“I think there’s certainly room for both, I think there’s a need for both,” King says.

Yes, today’s employers want tech-savvy workers, King says. But for every scientist or engineer a company hires, they also need sales people, bookkeepers, human resources staff, and others to make that company successful. And while there aren’t many current job openings for philosophers, King contends that someone who completes a philosophy degree has shown that he or she is an excellent student who could succeed in a variety of jobs.

“It’s easy to single out a particular course or a particular discipline and say, what do we need that for?” says King. “But I think there’s far more utility to that good old fashioned liberal arts degree than people are willing to let on.”

That doesn’t mean that every state school needs to offer a philosophy degree. King says he understands why regional schools developed many of the same course offerings. But with the new fiscal realities, he says the ideal situation would be for universities to eliminate duplicative degree programs and instead focus on investing in distinctive world-class programs that will attract the best faculty and brightest students.

“It will often mean at the expense of other [programs],” says King, “but that’s a choice that I think they are going to have to make because they are going to need that niche in the market to be able to keep their enrollments up.”

Performance-Based Funding
Not only are public institutions of higher learning receiving fewer state dollars, they’re now being allocated in a new way.

In the 2017 General Assembly session, lawmakers approved a performance-based model for dispensing funds to Kentucky universities and community colleges. Under the plan that’s being phased-in over four years, 70 percent of an institution’s state funding will be based on achieving certain metrics and outcomes. Those factors include the number of degrees awarded, the type of degree produced (such as science and technology versus liberal arts), course credit hours completed by students, and whether the school is closing achievement gaps between various student groups.

Although all the college and university presidents agreed to the plan, representatives of the smaller, regional universities have voiced fears that their schools could be at a disadvantage when competing against major metropolitan universities for funding.

King says that may be true in the first few years of the plan, when funding is more closely linked to the numbers of students served. But as the funding model reaches equalization, King says schools will judged not on volume but on their rates of improvement on the key metrics compared to the average for the entire state system.

King was scheduled to retire as CPE president on June 10, but he says his board has asked him to stay on the job until a successor is hired.

“I told them I’ll try to accommodate them as best I can,” King says.

Program Details

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Each week, host Renee Shaw and a variety of interesting and engaging people - including business leaders, entertainers, authors, celebrities, and more - explore a broad array of topics impacting Kentucky and the world.

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Filmmaker Kiley Lane Parker discusses her film, Raising Ms. President, about raising the next generation of female political leaders.

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Pellom McDaniels - S10 E30

Pellom McDaniels, faculty curator of African-American collections and assistant professor of African-American studies at Emory University in Atlanta, talks about his book, The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy.

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Jay Williams - S10 E33

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams is a former mayor of Youngstown, Ohio. From the recent SOAR summit in Pikeville, he talks about how Youngstown recovered from the decline of the steel industry and how those lessons can apply to Eastern Kentucky areas distressed by the sharp downturn in coal jobs.

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Susan and Morgan Guess - S10 E34

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Diabetes Epidemic - S10 E20

Gilbert Friedell, MD, and J. Isaac Joyner, MPH, discuss their book, The Great Diabetes Epidemic: A Manifesto for Control and Prevention. The book advocates taking a public health approach to addressing diabetes, emphasizes prevention of diabetes-related complications, and encourages more community responsiveness.

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Cathy Zion - Zion Publications LLC - S10 E38

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Gigi Butler - Gigi's Cupcakes - S10 E39

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Connections

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Andre Taylor - S10 E43

Andre Taylor has a distinguished 35-year career, building and advising businesses. He's the author of You Can Still Win! and a half-dozen other books, a frequent guest expert on ABC News, and an international authority on winning and leadership. Mr. Taylor was a speaker at the 13th Annual Lexington Bluegrass Area Minority Business Expo.

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JoAnne Wheeler Bland - S10 E44

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Faith Politics - S10 E45

Renee and her guests talk about the role of religion in politics and public policy decision-making. Guests: Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, pastor of New Union Christian Church, and Rev. D. Anthony Everett, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church.

  • Wednesday October 13, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Kinship Care - S10 E46

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Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk - S11 E2

Renee Shaw interviews new Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk, who talks about his experiences in public education and his goals for the district.

  • Friday October 15, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Connections

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The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia - Gerald Smith - S11 E3

Renee's guest is Dr. Gerald Smith, an author and history professor at the University of Kentucky, and co-editor of The Kentucky African-American Encyclopedia: Life and Culture in the Commonwealth. The reference book contains entries on the individuals, events, places, organizations, movements, and institutions that helped shape the state's history and cultural diversity.

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Childhood Cancer - S11 E4

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Kellie Blair Hardt - S11 E5

Renee speaks with special education teacher Kellie Blair Hardt, who overcame homelessness, an absent mother, an alcoholic father and school expulsion to earn her GED. She received the National Education Association Foundation's 2013 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence as one of the nation's top educators. Hardt is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education at George Mason University. She was featured in KET's series Dropping Back In.

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Jacinda Townsend - S11 E6

Author Jacinda Townsend discusses her critically acclaimed novel, Saint Monkey, a coming-of-age story set in 1950's Eastern Kentucky. The book won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Townsend is a former Hurston-Wright Award finalist and currently teaches creative writing at Indiana University.

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Jefferson County Veterans Treatment Court - S10 E11

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Cynthia Knapek - Leadership Louisville Center

  • Sunday September 12, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Bill Farmer - S10 E8

  • Friday September 10, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Diane Follingstad - UK Women's Circle Endowment Chair - S10 E6

  • Thursday September 9, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 9, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Kevin Chapman - S10 E5

  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 2:20 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 1:20 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Soreyda Benedit Begley and Chris Begley - S10 E3

  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Chris Rabb - S10 E1

  • Friday September 3, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tanya Torp and Holly Houston - S9 E46

  • Thursday September 2, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Frontier Nursing University - S9 E45

  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence - S9 E44

  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marta Miranda - S9 E43

  • Monday August 30, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

  • Sunday September 5, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Judi Jennings - S9 E42

  • Friday August 27, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dr. Robert Hilgers - S9 E41

  • Thursday August 26, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Wil James - S9 E40

  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

African Americans and Mental Health - S9 E39

  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Charisse Gillett - Lexington Theological Seminary - S9 E38

  • Monday August 23, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

  • Sunday August 29, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Chef and Activist Dan Wu

  • Sunday August 22, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 21, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 21, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Dr. Timothy M. Houchin - S9 E37

  • Friday August 20, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Mental Health Courts - S9 E36

  • Thursday August 19, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY
Top

Season 13 Episodes

Marcie Timmerman - Mental Health and Wellness

S13 E43 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 8.24.18

Tiffany Manuel - Affordable Housing

S13 E42 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 8.17.18

Jessica Dueñas - 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year

S13 E41 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 8.10.18

2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book

S13 E37 Length 28:48 Premiere Date 7.13.18

A New Task Force on Opioids

S13 E36 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 7.6.18

Shining a Spotlight on Epilepsy

S13 E35 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 6.29.18

Criminal Justice Reform

S13 E34 Length 28:32 Premiere Date 6.22.18

Jay Box - Kentucky Community and Technical College

S13 E33 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 6.15.18

Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis

S13 E32 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 6.8.18

Bob King - Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

S13 E31 Length 28:09 Premiere Date 6.1.18

Rachel Childress - Lexington Habitat for Humanity

S13 E30 Length 26:22 Premiere Date 5.25.18

2018 Kentucky Primary Races

S13 E29 Length 29:52 Premiere Date 5.18.18

Dr. Donna Grigsby

S13 E28 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 5.11.18

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention

S13 E27 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 5.4.18

Kosair Charities Face It Movement; Terry Brooks

S13 E25 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 4.20.18

Child Marriage Laws in Kentucky - Donna Pollard

S13 E24 Length 28:42 Premiere Date 4.13.18

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

S13 E23 Length 29:22 Premiere Date 4.6.18

Secretary Derrick Ramsey - Apprenticeships

S13 E22 Length 28:09 Premiere Date 2.23.18

Educational Innovation

S13 E21 Length 28:45 Premiere Date 2.16.18

Gerald Smith

S13 E20 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 2.9.18

Perry Bacon Jr.

S13 E18 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 2.2.18

DV8 Kitchen

S13 E17 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 1.19.18

Silas House, New Novel

S13 E16 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 1.16.18

Tawanda Owsley

S13 E15 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 1.5.18

Sexual Harassment Issues

S13 E14 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 12.15.17

Disability Rates and Benefits

S13 E13 Length 27:27 Premiere Date 12.8.17

Good Samaritans

S13 E12 Length 28:42 Premiere Date 11.17.17

A Salute to Heroes

S13 E10 Length 26:18 Premiere Date 11.10.17

Legislative Health Policy

S13 E9 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 11.3.17

Elder Care

S13 E8 Length 29:31 Premiere Date 10.27.17

Preventing Youth Suicide

S13 E7 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 10.20.17

A Proposal for Pension Reform

S13 E6 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10.13.17

Rethinking Pain Medication

S13 E5 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10.6.17

Former Gov. Steve Beshear

S13 E4 Length 28:53 Premiere Date 9.29.17

Secretary Elaine Chao

S13 E3 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.22.17

Smoking Cessation and Pregnancy

S13 E2 Length 29:32 Premiere Date 9.8.17

Author and Journalist Sam Quinones

S13 E1 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.1.17

Author and Journalist Sam Quinones

Preview Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.1.17

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