Image by University of the Fraser Valley via flickr.
There are more than 300,000 dental assistants at work across America and their ranks are expected to increase 25 percent in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a result of the recognition of the link between oral health and overall health.
Their work often includes helping dentists with procedures, taking and developing X-rays, preparing and sterilizing instruments, making appointments, keeping records, and giving patients post-operative instructions.
But, from state to state, duties, credentialing, and training standards vary widely.
Oral health topic leader Mary Otto provides some background, the latest news on what’s happening in various states and links in a new tip sheet to help reporters learn what changes may be in the works in their state – just in time for Dental Assistants Recognition Week, March 2-8. It might be an opportunity to take a look at this changing profession and write about what dental assistants are doing in your state.
When The Cincinnati Enquirer set out to look at the societal costs of the deadly opioid crisis, reporter Lisa Bernard-Kuhn was assigned to look at the role of chronic pain.
During more than eight months of reporting, she looked into how doctors measure pain, how effect opioids are at treating pain, patients’ expectations and more.
In an article for AHCJ, she explains how she was able to get doctors and patients to talk on the record and shares some of her most useful sources and lessons learned.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force often finds itself in the news when determining what works and doesn’t work in screenings and preventive care. It told healthy women not to bother with calcium and vitamin D pills, said many women could wait on mammograms until age 50 and recently clarified who might benefit from regular lung cancer screening tests.
The task force’s work lies in translating medical evidence into clinical practice, which can be a difficult and contentious task. Its recommendations are often nuanced and misunderstood.
How does the group come to these determinations and how can you report on the science and not just the heat a recommendation generates? What is evidence-based medicine and how does the USPSTF use it to make recommendations on health care services? Continue reading
Join AHCJ in congratulating members John Fauber, Rhiannon Meyers, Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein and Jennifer LaFleur for their recent accomplishments.
Read on for details about their work and honors. Continue reading
Photo: Len Bruzzese/AHCJ
Former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter discussed global health and mental health at Health Journalism 2012.
If you attended Health Journalism 2012 in Atlanta, today’s news out of the Carter Center that only 148 cases of Guinea worm disease remain worldwide shouldn’t be surprising.
In the opening session of that conference, former President Jimmy Carter said “The most exciting thing in our life right now is the approaching demise of the last Guinea worm that will ever live on earth.”
Well, according to the Carter Center, “cases of the debilitating disease were reduced by 73 percent in 2013 compared to 542 cases in 2012. When the Center began leading the first international campaign to eradicate a parasitic disease, there were an estimated 3.5 million Guinea worm cases occurring annually in Africa and Asia.”
At Health Journalism 2012, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, discussed issues in global health, including guinea worm disease, and efforts underway at The Carter Center to address them. The Carters founded the center in 1982 in Atlanta to advance peace and health around the world.
As Noelle Hunter reported for AHCJ, Jimmy Carter recalled the first time he encountered the “horrible affliction” that’s been around for millennia, but exists only in remote areas of Africa and Asia. Continue reading
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force just released a recommendation that pregnant women be screened for gestational diabetes, even if they have not been previously diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes.
The task force often finds itself in the news when determining what works and doesn’t work in screenings and preventive care.
Previously, it told healthy women not to bother with calcium and vitamin D pills, said many women could wait on mammograms until age 50 and recently clarified who might benefit from regular lung cancer screening tests. The task force’s work lies in translating medical evidence into clinical practice, which can be a difficult and contentious task. Its recommendations are often nuanced and misunderstood.
How does the group come to these determinations and how can you report on the science and not just the heat a recommendation generates? What is evidence-based medicine and how does the USPSTF use it to make recommendations on health care services?
In a Jan. 28 webcast, USPSTF chair Dr. Virginia Moyer and co-vice chair Dr. Michael LeFevre will explain how the task force works in an effort to deepen our reporting of upcoming task force recommendations. A Q&A with the doctors, moderated by AHCJ medical studies topic leader Brenda Goodman, will follow. Continue reading
With much of the country feeling the “polar vortex” and some of the coldest temperatures seen in 20 years in some places, reporters may be called upon to write about health – and death – in cold weather.
Hypothermia is the unintentional lowering of the body’s core temperature below 95º F. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common risk factors for hypothermia include exposure to cold while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, altered mental status and immersion in cold water. Other factors can include advanced age, chronic medical conditions, substance abuse and homelessness.
The CDC has some winter weather health and safety tips to help people protect themselves from frostbite, hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, chainsaw mishaps and more. Here are some other general resources: Continue reading
Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit investigative journalism team, recently published a two-part series on hospitals based on financial data obtained for every hospital in the state. As reporter Clifton Adcock writes in an article for AHCJ, the series revealed that between half and three-fourths of small general hospitals in Oklahoma were losing money, and that hospitals had spent only small fractions of their net patient revenues on charity care.
Hospitals get “disproportionate-share” (DSH) payments from the federal government to help cover costs for treating the indigent. Because Oklahoma was not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, hospital groups said they expected to take a big financial hit from the law’s cuts to DSH payments. Oklahoma Watch wanted to see how much they relied on such payments. Continue reading
Photo: Len BruzzeseCDC Director Tom Frieden briefs the 2013-14 AHCJ Regional Health Journalism fellows this morning on his agency’s latest efforts to address health issues facing the United States.
Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, met this morning with the AHCJ Regional Health Journalism Fellows in Atlanta.
The fellows are visiting the CDC this week for a series of briefings on public health issues. Today’s topics include prescription drug overdoses, foodborne illnesses, flu and emergency and public health preparedness – including a tour of the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center. Continue reading
The Association of Health Care Journalists has awarded five journalists AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance. The program, in its fourth year, is meant to help journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.
The fellowship program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, is intended to give experienced print, broadcast and online reporters an opportunity to 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.
Read about the fellows and the projects they will be working on.