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.

Patients, doctors get snarled in Trump’s travel ban

Photo: Anne Worner via Flickr

Photo: Anne Worner via Flickr

As the legal drama continues to unfold over the Trump administration’s efforts to enforce travel restrictions on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, it is clear that doctors and patients here and overseas are adversely affected.

Caught in last month’s initial chaos were patients seeking medical treatment in the United States, as well physicians practicing or hoping to practice here, ProPublica’s Marshall Allen writes. The impact is expected to be particularly tough for communities already challenged in attracting medical talent, ranging from isolated, rural towns to struggling cities. Continue reading

Reporting team tackles lead scourge in Philly

Photo: Jessica GriffinMore than 90 percent of the houses in Philadelphia were built before the 1978 lead paint ban. One here on Bonitz Street belonged to a family featured the Philadelphia Daily News’ project.

Photo: Jessica GriffinMore than 90 percent of the houses in Philadelphia were built before the 1978 lead paint ban. One, on Bonitz Street, belonged to a family featured in the project.

Reading through a recent story in the Philadelphia Daily News on lead plaguing the city’s houses, I realized the story had the same hard-driving investigative feel that I had read before.

The story, “Philly’s shame: City ignores thousands of poisoned kids,” paints a compelling multimedia picture of the historic city and the challenges it faces dealing with older homes shedding lead-tainted paint. Continue reading

Areas to explore when it comes to gender’s impact on health

Photo: Neil Moraleevia Flickr

Photo: Neil Moralee via Flickr

When it comes to social determinants and health, gender is one of the uncontrollable risk factors that can impact health. And while science still is exploring the extent of this impact, Consumer Reports recently examined six areas where differences have more clearly emerged.

These areas – colon cancer, heart attack, depression, smoking cessation, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases – not only can have gender-specific symptoms but increasingly can benefit from more tailored care (including medication), according to Consumer Reports’ November On Health newsletter. Researchers also have begun to explore how gender affects pain and opioid use, it reported. Continue reading

Citing WHO data, writer gives thanks for health gains

Photo: Amanda Mills/U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Photo: Amanda Mills/U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

This holiday season, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post turned away from politics to acknowledge some important recent health gains. Among them: declining poverty and violence, increasing reading among youth and life expectancy.

Rubin, a columnist who writes the conservative Post blog “Right Turn,” said those gains – all linked in some way to health – deserve to be celebrated. Continue reading

Lead crisis shifts as infrastructure crumbles, experts say

A water crisis brewing in Flint, Mich., for nearly two years exposed children and others to lead from contaminated water. It also exposed health disparities from infrastructure. Glass of Water via photopin (license)

Photo: Glass of Water via Flickr

A year after the Flint water crisis made national waves, the legacy of lead continues to draw attention as reporters follow up on the evolving public health concern.

What was once a public battle over perception as manufacturers’ inundated products with lead – from gasoline to painted cribs, toys and houses – has shifted to a more subtle, but no less serious disaster, according to public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. Continue reading