Goodman to guide journalists on covering medical studies

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

AHCJ is pleased to introduce independent journalist Brenda Goodman as the association’s topic leader on covering medical studies. Goodman, a health and science reporter for 15 years across a variety of platforms, will help guide journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enable them to translate the evidence into accurate information that their readers can grasp.

Brenda Goodman

Brenda Goodman

She will write tip sheets and background briefs, ask other journalists to share their experiences and she will curate lists of resources for journalists. Her blog posts for Covering Health will recognize important reporting on medical studies and offer journalists information about what to look for and what to steer clear of in their reporting. The “Covering Medical Studies” core topic joins AHCJ’s health reform, aging and oral health resources.

She will encourage and review suggestions from AHCJ members on what resources they need to cover medical studies and even consider the “beating hearts” behind the studies. In her introduction to the topic, Goodman writes:

As dry and formal as medical studies may seem, they also have beating hearts. There are the researchers who may spend months or years conducting trials and tabulating and interpreting results to produce the final paper. There are patients who participated in clinical trials. There are the readers who will be affected by the information we communicate.  There are doctors who have to figure out whether or even how to integrate new findings into patient care.

Studies determine how drugs are approved and prescribed. They influence the use of screening tests like mammograms and PSAs. They nudge grocery shoppers to toss something different or more promising into their baskets. They drive the decisions we make.

Goodman’s stories have appeared in Scientific American, The New York Times, Psychology Today, Self, Health, Parade and The Boston Globe. She is a regular news writer for WebMD. She has a master’s degree in science, health, and environmental reporting from New York University and lives in Atlanta.

If you have suggestions for Goodman, questions you’d like to see answered or examples of medical studies you’d like guidance on, please send them to brenda@healthjournalism.org or tweet to @GoodmanBrenda.

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