Category Archives: Social determinants

Reporter describes opportunities, challenges in covering oral health stories in ethnic neighborhoods

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Laura Klivans/KQEDDentist Richard Choi volunteers his time screening students at San Francisco’s public schools for overall oral health. He grew up in the Chinatown and North Beach communities and likes revisiting schools he once attended.

Tooth decay puts a particularly heavy burden upon children of color, as do the pain and tooth loss that can result from untreated disease. With a growing recognition of the problem, professional, school and public health leaders in some communities are banding together to take action.

There are compelling stories to be reported about these efforts, as health reporter Laura Klivans found on her beat. In a recent State of Health story for KQED News, Klivans reported on a coalition that is bringing dental care to children in one San Francisco’s minority neighborhood. The story also gave her audience a better understanding of the specific factors that are contributing to the community’s high decay rate. Continue reading

Refugees, undocumented immigrants often face ’roundabout care’

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: 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

Reporter’s work pushes regulators, legislators to act on opioids

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: Sam Owens, Charleston Gazette-MailEric Eyre’s investigative series, Painkiller Profiteers, chronicled massive pain pill shipments to West Virginia. This shows the cremated ashes of a West Virginia woman who died from a drug overdose.

Lack of work, educational gaps, despair, overprescribing – there’s a host of reasons behind the nation’s opioid crisis. It may seem daunting to reporters who want to nail down the epidemic’s causes, but sometimes you just have to keep digging – literally.

West Virginia reporter Eric Eyre realized something was off when, during a trip to the state pharmacy board, he began digging through boxes filled with faxes from drug wholesalers reporting suspicious pharmacy activity. Continue reading

Changes in health care landscape could mean big stories in oral health

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJPanelist Mary Foley focused on the potential changes in financing of oral health programs that serve the public during a discussion at Health Journalism 2017.

It is hard to know, amid the ongoing battle to reshape the nation’s health care system, what the future holds for dental care.

Panelists at Health Journalism 2017 tackled the unknown yet crucial territory that lies ahead in a session entitled “Oral Health Stories to Watch in 2017.” Speakers encouraged the reporters in the audience to remember to ask good questions about dental services as they cover their beats in the months ahead. Continue reading

Story ideas revealed in intersection of mental illness, criminal justice system

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.

One of the sessions featured at Health Journalism 2017 in Orlando explored the intersection of the criminal justice system and mental illness in the United States from various angles. This Storify includes tweets from multiple attendees at the session – along with quite a number of leads for story ideas.

A fair amount of the session was unfortunately unsurprising in revealing how the justice system has become one of the nation’s biggest mental health care providers (if not the largest), but hearing about the sheer scale of the problem was nonetheless enlightening and disturbing. This topic area is rich with potential story ideas that are woefully undercovered and underappreciated. Continue reading