Emily Ramshaw Editor

Emily Ramshaw is the editor of The Texas Tribune. Under her leadership, the Tribune has won three national Edward R. Murrow Awards, IRE's Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and a general excellence award from the Online News Association. Before coming aboard as one of the Tribune’s original reporters, Ramshaw spent six years at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound, uncovered “fight clubs” inside state institutions for the disabled and investigated a series of deadly transplants where patients received rabies-tainted organs. The Texas APME named Ramshaw its 2008 Star Reporter of the Year.

Recent Contributions

Border Counties Have Some of Texas' Longest Lives

Endoscopy tech Dora Facturan, right, prepares Maria Perez, 65, for a colonoscopy exam from Dr. Carlos Cardenas, back left, on December 8, 2010 at the Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. South Texans lead some of the longest lives in the state.
Endoscopy tech Dora Facturan, right, prepares Maria Perez, 65, for a colonoscopy exam from Dr. Carlos Cardenas, back left, on December 8, 2010 at the Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. South Texans lead some of the longest lives in the state.

Many of the longest lives in Texas are lived in an unlikely place: along the impoverished border with Mexico, where residents often live until age 80 and beyond. Explanations for this so-called "Hispanic Paradox" range from theories about differences in the diet, faith and family values of first-generation South Texans to suggestions that natural selection is at play in immigration patterns. 

Bad Diets, Smoking Cause East Texans to Die Young

Residents of East Texas, and particularly minorities, often make lifestyle choices, like smoking and eating high-fat diets, that affect their life expectancy.
Residents of East Texas, and particularly minorities, often make lifestyle choices, like smoking and eating high-fat diets, that affect their life expectancy.

The proof of East Texas' live-hard, die-young culture is in the bread pudding — and the all-you-can-eat fried catfish, the drive-through tobacco barns and the doughnut shops by the dozen. In a community where heavy eating and chain smoking are a way of life, where poverty, hard-headedness and even suspicion hinder access to basic health care, residents die at an average age of 73, or seven years earlier than the longest-living Texans, according to a preliminary county-by-county analysis by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

25-Year-Olds on State Insurance Face Coverage Gap

Kace Layton, 25, on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. Layton was dropped from his grandmother's state insurance plan on his last birthday, even though federal health care reform expanded dependent coverage until age 26.
Kace Layton, 25, on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. Layton was dropped from his grandmother's state insurance plan on his last birthday, even though federal health care reform expanded dependent coverage until age 26.

Federal health care reform’s biggest benefit for young adults — a mandate that insurance providers cover dependents until they reach age 26 — won’t apply to thousands of 25-year-old Texans for one simple reason: Their parents work for the state. The federal rule, which went into effect in late September, required all insurance providers to extend their cap to 26 at the start of their next “plan year.” For many private providers, that began Jan. 1. But the Texas Employees Retirement System plan year doesn't begin until next September, meaning 5,500 25-year-olds will miss out. 

As Texas Gets Increasingly Red, Dallas Goes Blue

Dallas County has grown increasingly Democratic in the last decade. In the map, darker precincts represent support for Democrats Tony Sanchez and Bill White, who ran in 2002 and 2010, respectively.
Dallas County has grown increasingly Democratic in the last decade. In the map, darker precincts represent support for Democrats Tony Sanchez and Bill White, who ran in 2002 and 2010, respectively.

Texas may be reddening, but Dallas County’s turning a darker shade of blue. While the GOP picked up hotly contested Dallas-area state House seats in November, the county voted for challenger Bill White over incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry by a margin of 12 percentage points. Straight-ticket voters also helped Democratic District Attorney Craig Watkins cling to his office in a squeaker and gave the County Commissioners Court its first Democratic majority in nearly 30 years.

Injured ER Patients Can't Find Attorneys, Blame Tort Reform

Connie Spears had to have both legs amputated above the knee, and blames an emergency room doctor for missing a critical diagnosis. The San Antonio woman's search for an attorney to take her case has been futile.
Connie Spears had to have both legs amputated above the knee, and blames an emergency room doctor for missing a critical diagnosis. The San Antonio woman's search for an attorney to take her case has been futile.

The tort reform state lawmakers passed in 2003 made it more difficult for patients to win damages in any health care setting, but none more so than emergency rooms, where plaintiffs must prove doctors acted with "willful and wanton" negligence. Tort reform advocates say the law is needed to protect ER doctors operating in volatile environments. But medical malpractice attorneys argue the threshold is nearly impossible to cross. “You’d have to be a Nazi death camp guard to meet this standard,” says one.

Murdered British Tourist Doesn't Qualify for State Funds

British tourist Thomas Reeve was shot and killed in an Amarillo bar last fall by an armed robber, leaving behind an infant daughter. His parents’ efforts to claim financial assistance from the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund have been rebuffed because their son wasn’t a U.S. resident.
British tourist Thomas Reeve was shot and killed in an Amarillo bar last fall by an armed robber, leaving behind an infant daughter. His parents’ efforts to claim financial assistance from the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund have been rebuffed because their son wasn’t a U.S. resident.

British tourist Thomas Reeve's murder in an Amarillo bar last fall shattered his family, which has been unable to claim financial assistance from the state’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund because he wasn't a U.S. resident.

Feds Slated to Reduce Texas Medicaid Match

Patients are shown checking out in 2010 at the People's Community Clinic in Austin, a safety-net clinic that serves Medicaid recipients and the underinsured.
Patients are shown checking out in 2010 at the People's Community Clinic in Austin, a safety-net clinic that serves Medicaid recipients and the underinsured.

Already facing a record budget shortfall, Texas has received more bad news: The portion of state Medicaid costs paid by the federal government is about to drop. Texas’ Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, a mathematical formula linked to a state's per-capita personal income, will fall more than 2 percentage points in late 2011, equivalent to a $1.2 billion hit. Only two states — Louisiana and North Dakota — will face a bigger percentage drop. And that’s after federal stimulus funds that have been artificially enhancing this match dry up in the spring, another blow to cash-strapped state Medicaid programs in Texas and across the nation.