Category Archives: Children

Lead crisis shifts as infrastructure crumbles, experts say

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.

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

False positives matter: A real-life case study in understanding context

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Something happened in our family early in August that set me behind in my work for more than three months. What we experienced holds an important lesson for health journalists.

It is something seemingly small and simple, but with significant potential consequences. However, I need to provide a bit of context in my story to illustrate a phenomenon journalists need to keep in mind when reporting on screening and diagnostic tests. Continue reading

AHCJ webcast to offer wider look at lead contamination crisis

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.

Photo: University of California PressNew York-based public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner, authors of “Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children,” will provide perspective on the nation’s ongoing lead epidemic in a Nov. 4 webcast for AHCJ members.

Photo: University of California PressNew York-based public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner will provide perspective on the nation’s ongoing lead epidemic in a Nov. 4 webcast for AHCJ members.

At first, the headlines focused on Flint, Mich., but soon other communities around the country were testing their water for lead contamination too. Then residents at a public housing complex near Chicago found themselves displaced along with students at a nearby elementary school after detection of hazardous levels of lead in the soil.

So goes the nation’s ongoing battle over lead poisoning.

Join us for an AHCJ member webcast on Friday, Nov. 4, that may reframe your coverage of lead and its long-term impact on health. The one-hour event, “Long View on Lead: Covering the Crisis From Flint & Beyond,” will feature public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner, authors of “Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children.” Continue reading

Homeopathic teething products draw FDA scrutiny, warning

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Glenn via Flickr

Photo: Glenn via Flickr

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation to determine whether homeopathic teething products may have played a role in the deaths of 10 children over the past six years.

The agency is also reviewing reports of more than 400 adverse health events among children using the products, including a Sept. 9 case in which a child experienced a seizure. Parents and caregivers have been urged to stop using the products and have been told to seek immediate medical attention for children who experience seizures, breathing problems, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficult urination or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets and gels. Continue reading

Reporter discusses what fueled her Medicaid reporting

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Rachel S. O'Hara/Sarasota Herald-TribuneJennifer tries to pay bills and go through some paperwork while her son, David, 2, competes for her attention.

Photo: Rachel S. O’Hara/Sarasota Herald-TribuneJennifer tries to pay bills and go through some paperwork while her son, David, 2, competes for her attention.

Reporters can find it daunting to cover Medicaid, the huge state-administered federal program charged with providing health care benefits to more than 70 million Americans.

Maggie Clark embraced the challenge. In recent months, her Two Million Kids series for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has delved into many aspects of Florida’s troubled Medicaid system. Continue reading