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.

Senators push for research into prostate cancer

Barbara Boxer

Barbara Boxer

Two U.S. senators have proposed a bill to support research into prostate cancer, calling for “a national strategy to combat prostate cancer.”

Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) have introduced the National Prostate Cancer Council Act, which would establish a body made up of federal agencies, patients, and medical experts. It would coordinate prostate cancer research and services across all federal agencies.

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

In a press release announcing the legislation, Sessions said, “Testing and early detection are the keys to combat this disease. When identified early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is very high. We need to ensure that we have the most advanced screening tools available and this legislation is a step in the right direction.”

The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 29,480 deaths in the U.S. this year. Continue reading

New jobs, awards and more for AHCJ members

The latest AHCJ members in the news are Gerri Constant, Mari Edlin, John Gever, Rachel Gurevich, Janice Lynch Schuster, Eric T. Rosenthal and Saerom Yoo. See the latest about them:

Julie Rybarczyk via Flickr

Julie Rybarczyk via Flickr

Gerri Constant (@GerriShaftel) is the medical/special projects producer for CBS-2/KCAL-Los Angeles. She won a 2014 Los Angeles Area Emmy Award (Outstanding Medical Story-Multi-Part) for “Heroes of Children’s Hospital,” a compilation of profiles of exceptional patients. She also has started a two-year term on the Board of Governors for The Television Academy.

Mari Edlin, a freelance journalist/writer since 1988, is the editor of two new publications— Healthcare Innovation News and Population Health News — in addition to her contributions to national health care magazines and California Healthline.

John Gever (@JohnGeverMPT) has beenpromoted to managing editor at MedPage Today.

Rachel Gurevich (@RachelGurevich) received a 2014 RESOLVE Hope Award for Achievement, recognizing her writing about infertility for

Janice Lynch Schuster (@jlschuster827) is freelancing full time and working on a book with a pediatric oncologist and pain expert.

Eric T. Rosenthal has joined MedPage Today as special correspondent covering issues and controversies in oncology. He had been special correspondent for Oncology Times.

Saerom Yoo (@syoo) was awarded second place for enterprise reporting from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association for her three-part series, “Crimes of Homelessness.”

Award-winning journalist honored with scholarship in her name

A new scholarship for students who show promise in medical journalism will honor longtime health journalist Marianne D. Mattera, who died in July.

Most recently, Mattera was managing editor of MedPage Today. The scholarship, for students in New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, will include mentorship from MedPage Today and Everyday Health employees.

“Marianne was a dedicated professional and a mentor to many young journalists entering the field of medical journalism,” said Peggy Peck, vice president and editor in chief of MedPage Today, in a release about the scholarship. “I believe Marianne would be honored by having a scholarship in her name and that through this scholarship our media channels are carrying on a tradition of mentorship that she valued so very much.”

During Mattera’s 30-year career, she won a record 18 Jesse H. Neal Awards from the Association of Business Information and Media Companies. Prior to MedPage Today, Mattera was editor in chief of Medical Economics magazine and editor of RN, a clinical journal for nurses, and edited two books for nurses.

Everyday Health is a digital health and wellness company that owns MedPage Today, which provides peer-reviewed news coverage for health care professionals.

Six (or more) things to remember when reporting on health care costs

health-care-costs-reportersHealth care costs lack transparency and are wildly variable, not just from region to region but sometimes from block to block within the same city.

It is a complex topic, with chargemaster prices, what insurers paid and what consumers pay (if anything). Then there are the administrative rules set by Medicare and Medicaid and the negotiated rates between insurers and providers.

It’s daunting, but Lisa Aliferis of KQED, Rebecca Plevin of SCPR and Jeanne Pinderof have teamed up to offer guidance for reporting on health care costs in this new AHCJ tip sheet.

Is your community fighting tooth decay with school-based dental sealant programs?

Have you visited a school-based dental sealant program in your state or community? There may be a good story there.

Can’t find one to visit? That may be another worthwhile story.

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to children’s permanent back teeth to seal the narrow grooves on the chewing surfaces and keep out decay-causing bacteria and food particles. Studies show that the procedure can reduce the incidence of tooth decay by 60 percent.

But poor and high-risk kids who could benefit the most from sealants are not always receiving them.

This new tip sheet from Mary Otto, AHCJ’s oral health core topic leader, explains why not all children who should have sealants are getting them and how to check into it in your community. Read more …

2014 class of AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows chosen

AHCJ-NLM-FellowsEight journalists have been named to this year’s class of AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows. The fellowship program was created to increase reporters’ access and understanding of the considerable resources available at NLM and the National Institutes of Health.

Their visit to the NIH campus, scheduled for Sept. 7-11, will include hands-on workshops about how to use and get the most from several government research databases, such as PubMed, MedlinePlus, and ToxNet. Fellows also will meet with senior NLM and NIH researchers and officials for exclusive informational sessions.

The fellows were selected from dozens of qualified applicants.

Find out who was chosen and more about the program.

$200,000 grant strengthens project-based reporting fellowship

AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care PerformanceThe Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, the educational arm of the Association of Health Care Journalists, has been awarded a grant of $200,000 to continue a fellowship program that helps journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.

The AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance were launched in 2010.

The program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private foundation, allows experienced print, broadcast and online reporters to pursue significant reporting projects over a year’s time related to the U.S. health care system. The reporters concentrate on the performance of health care systems – or significant parts of those systems – locally, regionally or nationally. The fellows are able to examine policies, practices and outcomes, as well as the roles of various stakeholders.

“Too often, the finances and inner workings of hospitals and health systems are black boxes,” said Karl Stark, president of the AHCJ board of directors and the health editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer“Through this generous grant, the fellowship provides reporters with the resources and tools to shine light into dark places and pursue stories that serve the public interest.”

Read more about the program and the grant.

Nine journalists receive AHCJ Regional Health Journalism Fellowships

The Association of Health Care Journalists has named the 2014-15 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 South Central United States, namely Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The program begins next month. The first class of fellows came from the northern Midwest and Plains. The second class of fellows came from the Southeast. And the most recent class of fellows came from the Western region of the country.

“This is one of the most important programs we offer,” said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese. “We had many fine applicants because more and more journalists recognize the need to take charge of their own career development, especially in building their expertise in health coverage. We look forward to working with them and appreciate the support of their newsrooms.”

Read more about the program and who was chosen for this year’s class.

First medical journalism fellow named at MedPage Today

In an effort to teach health care professionals reporting skills and bring experts into the newsroom, MedPage Today has named Shara Yurkiewicz, M.D. as its first medical journalism fellow.

Yurkiewicz recently graduated from Harvard Medical School. She earned her undergraduate degree at Yale University and has been an AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow at the Los Angeles Times and a regular blogger for Scientific American. According to a press release, she plans to apply for residencies in rehabilitation medicine and make journalism an important part of her career.

“Lawrence Altman, M.D., was the first full-time physician reporter to work for a major newspaper when he joined The New York Times in 1969, but more and more, news organizations are looking to staff their ranks with reporters who have particular expertise. What better way to meet that need than by helping train the next generation of doctor-journalists in rigorous evidence-based reporting?” said Ivan Oransky, M.D., vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today.

“And while we’re at it, we get to add the perspective of a doctor-in-training to a newsroom producing content for health care professionals.”

MedPage Today covers clinical and health policy news for health care professionals.