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About AHCJ: General News

Journalists learn the latest on covering health of rural communities Date: 06/16/17

AHCJ’s Rural Health Journalism Workshop brought journalists from across the United States to Cincinnati to hear from experts who focus on the health challenges facing the nation's 46 million rural residents.

Almost 60 attendees of the ninth annual workshop gained a better understanding of what’s happening – or will be happening – in rural regions, and journalists returned to work with dozens of story ideas.

The workshop’s luncheon speaker was the director of County Health Ratings and Roadmaps, which takes annual measures of vital health factors, revealing a snapshot of how health is influenced by where people live, learn, work and play. Julie Willems Van Dijk, R.N., Ph.D., outlined how journalists can use the data, covering obesity, smoking, access to healthy foods, air and water quality, teen births and other factors, in their reporting.

Throughout the workshop, health care and policy experts offered resources and story ideas about the opioid epidemic, what journalists need to know to cover rural health stories, the impact of the health reform battle for rural residents, health disparities, and the rural health workforce.

The workshop also marked the graduation of the class in AHCJ’s Regional Health Journalism Fellowship program. The fellows – from Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana – finished a year-long training program that began in July 2016. The program will continue for 2017-18 with fellows from Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The workshop sponsors were The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund and The Cincinnati Enquirer.