Author Archives: Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Health care debate shines light on Medicaid

Photo: Dmitriy via Flickr

One result of the ongoing health care reform debate – and the coverage of it – is a renewed look at Medicaid by both journalists and the public.

The joint federal-state government health insurance program is often thought of as simply serving the poor, but Republicans’ efforts to roll back Obamacare’s expansion of the coverage also opened up efforts to educate readers about other beneficiaries, according to some analysts.

Even as Republicans in the Senate appeared to run out of options this week, the debate over the program is likely to continue. Continue reading

Localities turn to lawsuits in opioid fight

Photo: Jesse Loughborough via Flickr

As authorities search for ways to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic, an increasing number of localities are turning to a new venue: the courts.

States, counties, cities and even Native American tribes are taking legal aim at companies they see as helping to fuel the drug crisis. In recent months, lawsuits have been filed against drugmakers, pharmacies and drug distributors even as some legal experts have said such challenges could face hurdles. Continue reading

AHCJ webcast to look at role of communities in terms of wellness, health

Photo: dmitryzhkov via FlickrA May 25 webcast will examine the role of communities on health, including space utilization, affordable housing, area resources and more.

How do housing, along with space, community resources and other development issues, combine to impact health? From infrastructure to proximity to parks, an increasing amount of attention being is to how one’s surrounding space directly impacts wellness and disease.

Two experts will discuss the connection during a May 25 AHCJ webcast that will look at both the medical impact as well from a community planning perspective. Continue reading

Looking at new leads on covering hunger

Photo: Janice Lynch SchusterTony Vinson, recruitment and intake coordinator for D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK) in Washington, D.C., was among panelists at a recent Aspen Institute event who discussed how his organization is rethinking food security.

Like in other areas of health, hunger also is facing an ever-widening dichotomy. On the one hand, there is a U.S. foodie revival, with no-reservation hot-spots and every-growing list of new microbreweries and grocery-stores-turned-restaurants.  Even so, millions in America still find food scarce.

Still, there are some innovations afoot, as AHCJ member Janice Lynch Schuster recently found out. She has compiled a new tip sheet on covering hunger, how the meaning of hunger is changing and offers some potential story ideas in her tip sheet, drawn in part from a recent poverty program hosted by The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy organization based in Washington, D.C. Continue reading

Refugees, undocumented immigrants often face ’roundabout care’

Photo: Susan Heavey/AHCJThe Hastings Center’s Nancy Berlinger discussed health issues that refugees and undocumented immigrants face in the United States at a #AHCJ17 panel that included Bassem Chaaban (right) of the Islamic Society of Central Florida.

For Ghassan, a Syrian refugee seeking asylum after arriving in the United States about two years ago, a recent visit to the emergency room was not a choice but a necessity.

Without access to health insurance coverage, the Syrian father who had fled the war there found himself receiving charity care following an accident. Later, problems with his knee again put him on the receiving end of care without coverage. He had worked for 20-some years in Syria, he said, but found it hard to work with his leg pain. Continue reading