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.

Social workers can help bridge crisis and care, say panelists at #AHCJ17

Photo: Susan Heavey/AHCJBryan Thompson (right), rural health and agriculture reporter for Kansas News Service, moderated a session on the impact of adding social workers to health care clinics at AHCJ’s annual conference in Orlando. Social workers Gabrielle Jackson of the accountable care organization Aledade (left) and Mary Ann Burg of the University of Central Florida (center), discussed how such work could improve patient care and outcomes beyond the diagnosis.

Crisis care. That’s what many people think of when they consider social work. But for social workers in the health care field, they see an increasing effort to not only solve immediate problems but to also think more holistically about people’s health, experts at a Health Journalism 2017 panel on the issue.

At the session, “Why a Social Worker May Be the MVP of the Clinic,” two members of the profession said that being incorporated into health care practices offers an immediate opportunity to connect with patients who need additional help outside of basic medical needs.

Doctors care for the patients, said Gabrielle Jackson, a licensed social worker for accountable care organization Aledade, but social workers provide important support, such as ensuring that a patient given a prescription can obtain it and then actually takes it. Continue reading

#AHCJ17 panels to address importance of social determinants

Health care reporters coming to Health Journalism 2017 in search of story ideas on covering health gaps and the social constructs behind them have a host of panels to choose from while in Orlando.

On the issue of costs, Saturday morning’s session on “Bending the Cost Curve: The Social Determinants of Health” will look at how tackling social determinants of health can help lower costs and improve health, particularly when it comes to health care systems such as hospitals and other networks. Continue reading

Panel to look at the economics of health disparities

Rebecca Morley

Jay Bhatt, D.O.

Much attention has focused lately on health care costs – from insurance premiums and the reform efforts to drug prices – but what about other efforts to address the cost curve by improving health in other ways? That’s the subject of one panel at AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2017 conference this month.

The panel, “Bending the cost curve: The social determinants of health,” will examine how addressing social determinants – such as income, access, education and social support – can help improve people’s health. We’ll discuss how circumstances shape population health, and the impact of behavior on wellness, disease risk and death. Continue reading

After transgender reversal, health care providers worry about impact

Photo: lintmachine via Flickr

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind federal guidelines to schools on bathroom use for transgender students had been long rumored, and when it was issued last month, some health care groups opposed to the reversal were ready.

“Transgender children are already at increased risk for violence, bullying, harassment and suicide. They may be more prone to depression and engaging in self-harm,” the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote in a statement. Continue reading

Records review prompts long-term project for Oklahoma reporter

Photo: Chris Landsberger, courtesy of The OklahomanAn inmate talks on the phone in the men’s mental health unit at the Oklahoma County Jail.

Jaclyn Cosgrove, a health writer at The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, was sorting through jail inspection reports from the state when something struck her about a significant number of them.

They were not just run-of-the-mill prisoners. Their health problems, particularly mental illness, were pervasive and hard to ignore. Instead of receiving health care from medical providers and institutions in their communities, scores of Oklahomans – particularly those with mental illnesses – had been incarcerated and were now relying on the criminal justice system to receive care. Continue reading