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About AHCJ: General News

AHCJ names 2012-13 Regional Health Journalism Fellows Date: 06/15/12

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Association of Health Care Journalists has named the 2012-13 class of the Regional Health Journalism Fellowship, an annual fellowship program for reporters and editors across the United States.

The program, which changes regions each year, will focus this year on journalists from the Southeastern United States, namely Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. The inaugural class of fellows, which just completed its year of training opportunities, came from the northern Midwest and Plains.

The new fellowship class includes:

  • Mary Shedden, The Tampa Tribune
  • Tanya Ott, WBHM-Birmingham
  • Tom Corwin, The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle
  • Tom Wilemon, The Tennesseean, Nashville
  • Charlotte Sutton, Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg
  • Renee Dudley, The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.
  • Stephanie Bell Flynt, WLBT-Jackson, Miss.
  • Allison Griffin, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser
  • Toby Sells, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis
  • Erin France, The Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald
  • Michael Newsom, Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.
  • Skyler Swisher, The Daytona Beach News-Journal

The aim of the program, created with the support of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, is to provide established journalists with the tools needed to improve the depth and amount of coverage focused on localizing critical health issues. Designed by journalists for journalists, the training is spread over a year's time.

The training includes:

  • A customized seminar on state health policy
  • An intense health reporting boot camp at the Missouri School of Journalism featuring some of the top health journalists in the country
  • Customized briefings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
  • An exclusive news webinar
  • Attendance at Health Journalism 2013 in Boston, the annual conference of AHCJ featuring dozens of workshops, panel sessions, field trips and news briefings
  • Attendance at the 2013 Rural Health Journalism Workshop
  • A professional membership in the Association of Health Care Journalists, with access to all print and Web-based member resources
  • Access to an experienced personal mentor from AHCJ's 1,300-plus membership.
  • A fellows-only electronic discussion list and Web page.
  • Continuing resource support after the fellowship.

“This program has proven quite effective at giving already-strong journalists the opportunity to sharpen their focus on important health issues,” said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese.  "Not only are these reporters and editors seeking another step in their own career development, their newsrooms have chosen to support them in their effort to deliver more and stronger stories to their communities.”

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. In just a dozen years, it has grown into the premier organization for training health journalists, boasting more than 1,300 members across the United States and in 27 other nations. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. AHCJ, which is based at the Missouri School of Journalism, conducts training through its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, established in 1999, is administered by Trustees selected by Leona Helmsley as a continuation of Mr. and Mrs. Helmsley's generous giving through their lifetimes. The Trust supports a diverse range of organizations with a major focus on health and medical research, in addition to programs in human services, education and conservation. The Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits.