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.

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

How one writer looked inward to reassess pronouns and gender

Photo: Jennyrotten via Flickr

Photo: Jennyrotten via Flickr

I have yet to find a writer who hasn’t looked back on a story and found something that they could have done better – or worse: something wrong. Sometimes readers or critics do that for you.

For Christine Grimaldi, feedback after what should have been a routine piece for Slate led the Washington, D.C.-based freelancer’s eyes to question assumptions she had made about gender, sexuality and pronouns. Her mistakes led to what she called “one of the worst days of my professional career.” But she managed to turn it around into a primer for other journalists. Continue reading

Voters around the country OK soda taxes to tackle obesity

Photo: Andy.Schultz Soda via photopin (license)

Photo: Andy.Schultz Soda via photopin (license)

Soda taxes, it seems, are gaining some pop.

Voters in several U.S. cities in California and Colorado overwhelmingly approved additional pennies-on-the-ounce taxes in the Nov. 8 election in a move to help combat the nation’s ongoing obesity crisis and generate health funding. The Chicago area also narrowly passed soda taxes in a separate vote. Continue reading