Author Archives: Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

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

AHCJ invites members to run for board of directors

Photo: FutUndBeidl via Flickr

Photo: FutUndBeidl via Flickr

Each year, members in AHCJ’s professional category elect members for the association’s board of directors. Six of the 12 director positions come up for election each year for two-year terms.

AHCJ is built on the wisdom, experience and energy of its members. It is what makes AHCJ a professional home for so many journalists. Continue reading

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports health journalism training efforts with $450,000 grant

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, the educational arm of the Association of Health Care Journalists, has been awarded a three-year grant of $450,000 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to continue offering training and resources for journalists covering health issues.

RWJF announced the grant this week to coincide with Health Journalism 2015, the annual conference of AHCJ, being held April 24-27 in Silicon Valley. RWJF was one of the first supporters of the association, now marking its 17th year.

The funding will support the association’s annual conference, regional workshops on niche health topics, an annual rural health journalism workshop and the building of health data resources on AHCJ’s website Continue reading

#ahcj15 will kick off with field trips, workshops, chance to catch up with colleagues

I hope many of Covering Health’s readers are looking forward to Health Journalism 2015. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing so many of you.

The conference registration desk will be open on Wednesday from 3 p.m.  until 7 p.m. It will re-open on Thursday at 7 a.m. on the hotel’s mezzanine. Be sure to check in to get your program and name tag.

Here’s a little preview of what to expect on Thursday: Continue reading

Transportation options for Health Journalism 2015 attendees #ahcj15

Hyatt Regency Santa Clara

Visitors seeking San Jose airport shuttle service or transportation to Hyatt Regency Santa Clara for Health Journalism 2015 have a variety of options, including taxi service and airport shuttle transportation.

Here are some ways to get to or from Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC). Contact the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara concierge desk for additional advice at 408-200-1234. The Hyatt Regency Santa Clara does not provide complimentary airport shuttle service.

Getting around Silicon Valley: AHCJ member Stephen Beale has researched and written a comprehensive guide to getting around the Bay Area, even if you don’t have access to a car. Read his advice.

Susan Heavey to lead AHCJ’s core topic on social determinants

Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, a journalist who covered health care regulation and policy before focusing on the intersection of health, poverty and demographics, will lead AHCJ’s core topic on social determinants and disparities in health.

Her goal is to  provide AHCJ members the resources they need to cover the root causes of health care gaps by writing blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other material.

While on the beat at Reuters, she wrote about everything from brain stimulation and clot-grabbing snake-like devices to drug safety and biosimilars. She also helped cover Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Her work has appeared on, been picked up by The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNBC and other outlets, and led news websites for Yahoo! and Google. She also previously wrote about health for and KidsHealth.  Continue reading

Tara Haelle takes over AHCJ’s medical studies core topic area

Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle, an independent journalist based in Peoria, Ill., and regular contributor to Forbes and HealthDay, is AHCJ’s newest core topic leader.

She 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.

Haelle is a freelance journalist and multimedia photographer who has particularly focused on medical studies over the past five years.

She particularly specializes in reporting on vaccines, pediatrics, maternal health, obesity, nutrition and mental health. Continue reading

Today’s webcast: Tips for pitching to top publications

March 27, 1 p.m. ET

A big feature in a glossy magazine can bring more than financial rewards. Writing for top publications strengthens your platform and boosts your chances of receiving a prestigious fellowship, or even a book deal. On the practical side, working with highly skilled editors will boost your writing and reporting skills. However, breaking into top-tier magazines takes an exceptionally good pitch letter.

In this webcast, a panel of editors will explain what they need to see in a top pitch letter. (Hint: you’ll need more than a winning idea.) A great pitch also needs to include the right information about yourself to convince the editor that you have the chops to pull off the story you’re proposing. Continue reading

2014 winners named in top health journalism awards

awardsSoaring drug prices that make even copays unaffordable for many, an unchecked rise in robotic surgery, financial abuse revealed using previously secret Medicare data, and the health ramifications of the boom in hydraulic fracturing for oil were among the top winners of this year’s Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

Awards also went to articles that examined the “collateral damage” of urban violence, followed a team of doctors and scientists fighting Ebola, and exposed the growing number of unregulated diagnostic tests that can lead to patient harm.

Read the full announcement and see the winning entries. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Health Journalism 2015 agenda covers gamut of health care

<span class="credit">Pia Christensen/AHCJ</span>AHCJ President Karl Stark, the assistant managing editor, business, health and science at <em>The Philadelphia Inquirer</em>, gives tips on covering hospital finance at Health Journalism 2014.

Pia Christensen/AHCJAHCJ President Karl Stark, the assistant managing editor, business, health and science at The Philadelphia Inquirer, gives tips on covering hospital finance at Health Journalism 2014.

We have posted descriptions of nearly all of the panels planned for Health Journalism 2015 and it’s an agenda packed with timely and useful sessions for anyone covering health.

Field trips on Thursday will feature trips to Stanford University, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Health Care, Stanford National Accelerator Laboratory, the Division of Clinical Anatomy at Stanford University and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System to learn about simulation training, pediatric heart care, hospital disaster preparation, veterans’ rehabilitation, early detection of cancer and much more. Continue reading

The other part of health reform: Changing the delivery of care

AHCJ webcastReforms to the health care delivery system have been overshadowed by the Affordable Care Act enrollment story but there are stories galore to be found.

The 2010 law takes steps to shift how we deliver health care – to do a better job of managing chronic diseases, to make hospitals safer, to move away from fee-for-service, to get more quality for our health care spending. It’s a big challenge but it doesn’t get as much attention as the coverage aspects of the ACA, partly because it’s not so politically radioactive.

Join Joanne Kenen, AHCJ’s health reform core topic leader, and Patrick Conway, M.D., M.Sc., director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, for a discussion on new ways of delivering care, evaluating what works and some early results. Health care providers around the country are taking part in CMMI initiatives and private sector counterparts.  There will be plenty of time for questions from participants during this members-only webcast.