Category Archives: Health journalism

Welcome to AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ. All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.

  • Meghan Hoyer, data journalist, USA Today, McLean, Va. (@meghanhoyer)
  • Elisa Lala, staff writer and health reporter, The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.
  • Robyn Norwood, independent journalist, Long Beach, Calif. (@RobynNorwood)
  • Katja Ridderbusch, independent journalist, Atlanta
  • Gina Roberts-Grey, independent journalist, Baldwinsville, N.Y. (@GinaRobertsGrey)

If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.

$200,000 grant strengthens project-based reporting fellowship

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care PerformanceThe Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, the educational arm of the Association of Health Care Journalists, has been awarded a grant of $200,000 to continue a fellowship program that helps journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.

The AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance were launched in 2010.

The program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private foundation, allows experienced print, broadcast and online reporters to pursue significant reporting projects over a year’s time related to the U.S. health care system. The reporters concentrate on the performance of health care systems – or significant parts of those systems – locally, regionally or nationally. The fellows are able to examine policies, practices and outcomes, as well as the roles of various stakeholders.

“Too often, the finances and inner workings of hospitals and health systems are black boxes,” said Karl Stark, president of the AHCJ board of directors and the health editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer“Through this generous grant, the fellowship provides reporters with the resources and tools to shine light into dark places and pursue stories that serve the public interest.”

Read more about the program and the grant.

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ. All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.

  • Stefanie R. Bryant, morning anchor/medical reporter, KTAL-Shreveport, Bossier City, La.
  • Lisa Chamoff, independent journalist, New York (@lchamoff)
  • Michelle R. Charles, reporter, Stillwater News Press, Stillwater, Okla.
  • Rebecca C. Jeffrey, reporter/anchor, KNWA/KFTA-Fayetteville, Ark. (@RCJeffrey)
  • Alexa Z. Ura, reporter, The Texas Tribune, Austin, Texas (@alexazura)

If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.

Nine journalists receive AHCJ Regional Health Journalism Fellowships

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has named the 2014-15 class of the Regional Health Journalism Fellowship, an annual fellowship program for reporters and editors across the United States.

The program, which changes regions each year, will focus this year on journalists from the South Central United States, namely Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The program begins next month. The first class of fellows came from the northern Midwest and Plains. The second class of fellows came from the Southeast. And the most recent class of fellows came from the Western region of the country.

“This is one of the most important programs we offer,” said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese. “We had many fine applicants because more and more journalists recognize the need to take charge of their own career development, especially in building their expertise in health coverage. We look forward to working with them and appreciate the support of their newsrooms.”

Read more about the program and who was chosen for this year’s class.

Engaged-patient proponent Gruman dies

Trudy Lieberman

About Trudy Lieberman

Trudy Lieberman, a former president of AHCJ, is a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, where she blogs about health care and income security issues. She is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health where she blogs about paying for health care. At Consumer Reports, she specialized in health care and health care financing. She has won more than 25 awards and five major fellowships.

Jessie Gruman, founder of the Center for Advancing Health, died Monday. She had spent more than 20 years there focused on getting people engaged in their health care from the patient perspective. Longtime AHCJ member Trudy Lieberman, who has spent the last couple of years as a fellow at the center, offers a tribute.

Jessie Gruman, who died Monday, was one of the finest human beings I have ever known. Her loss will be keenly felt by all of us in the health and medical communities who knew her, worked with her, sought her guidance, tried to emulate what she stood for – honesty and integrity come to mind – and who were, most of all, her friends.

Jessie had been dealt a bad hand healthwise, having suffered cancer as a young adult that returned several times over the years. In the last year, when she told us she had metastatic lung cancer, we knew time was short. But as Kate Lorig, one of the William Ziff Fellows at Jessie’s Center for Advancing Health, put it, “Jessie lived until she died.”

Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ. All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.

  • Deborah Adedoja, student, Austin College, Philadelphia
  • Marie Benz, editor, MedicalResearch.com, Narbeth, Pa.  (@mariebenz_md)
  • Mary Forman, student, Boston University, Niskayuna, N.Y.
  • Gary Heiting, senior editor, AllAboutVision.com, Stillwater, Minn.
  • Vladimire Herard, independent journalist, Chicago
  • Fran Hopkins, senior editor, Clinician Reviews, Parsippany, N.J.  (@FMFHopkins)
  • Linda Johnson, CAR coordinator, Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky.  (@lpalmateer33)
  • Rachel Monahan, reporter, The Lund Report, Portland, Ore. (@rachelmonahan)
  • Kim Mulford, health reporter, Courier-Post, Cherry Hill, N.J. (@CP_KimMulford)
  • Natasha Persaud, editor, Remedy Health Media, New York
  • Susan Schackman, producer, CBS News, New York
  • Richard Scott, health journalist, Philadelphia
  • Shara Yurkiewicz, staff reporter/medical journalism fellow, MedPage Today, New York,   (@sharayurkiewicz)

If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.

First medical journalism fellow named at MedPage Today

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

In an effort to teach health care professionals reporting skills and bring experts into the newsroom, MedPage Today has named Shara Yurkiewicz, M.D. as its first medical journalism fellow.

Yurkiewicz recently graduated from Harvard Medical School. She earned her undergraduate degree at Yale University and has been an AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow at the Los Angeles Times and a regular blogger for Scientific American. According to a press release, she plans to apply for residencies in rehabilitation medicine and make journalism an important part of her career.

“Lawrence Altman, M.D., was the first full-time physician reporter to work for a major newspaper when he joined The New York Times in 1969, but more and more, news organizations are looking to staff their ranks with reporters who have particular expertise. What better way to meet that need than by helping train the next generation of doctor-journalists in rigorous evidence-based reporting?” said Ivan Oransky, M.D., vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today.

“And while we’re at it, we get to add the perspective of a doctor-in-training to a newsroom producing content for health care professionals.”

MedPage Today covers clinical and health policy news for health care professionals.

President’s Corner: Health care too vast a beat without generosity of peers 

Karl Stark

About Karl Stark

Karl Stark, the assistant managing editor for health and science at The Philadelphia Inquirer, serves as president of the AHCJ board of directors.

From the Spring 2014 issue of HealthBeat. 

Rhiannon Meyers

Photo: Len Bruzzese/AHCJRhiannon Meyers

If you didn’t get to hear Rhiannon Meyers describe her diabetes project at Health Journalism 2014 in Denver, you missed her take on a real catty whompus state of affairs, as they say in Texas.

Diabetes is so rampant in Corpus Christi, Rhiannon said, that the Dartmouth Atlas ranked the city No. 1 in the nation for below-the-knee amputations. A national magazine even dubbed the town “Corpulent Christi” for its Texas-sized waist lines. Rhiannon, an investigative reporter covering health care part time at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, proposed a yearlong project for 2013 that was chosen for support by AHCJ’s Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance.

The fellowship – which includes travel and research support, mentoring and other resources – enabled Rhiannon to steep herself in issues surrounding diabetes, both locally and nationally. She learned what questions to ask and where to go for data. “AHCJ helped me bust out of the local silo,” she said. “I heard more from readers during that series than I have in my entire career.”

Stories like this are why AHCJ exists. We are all about reporters learning from one another, sharing ideas and techniques and resources, and then supporting stellar work. Health care is too vast and complicated to cover alone, especially when reporters like Rhiannon have to spread their time across multiple beats.

So what is AHCJ doing now that matters to its members?  Continue reading

The challenge of writing about people in poverty

Joe Rojas-Burke

About Joe Rojas-Burke

Joe Rojas-Burke is AHCJ’s core topic leader on the social determinants of health. To help journalists broaden the frame of health coverage to include factors such as education, income, neighborhood and social network, Rojas-Burke will hunt for resources, highlight excellent work and moderate discussions with journalists and experts. Send questions or suggestions to joe@healthjournalism.org or tweet to @rojasburke.

When online commenters get nasty, it’s tempting to just write them off as trolls. But is it possible that sometimes journalists set the stage with cartoonish, stereotyped portrayals of the subjects in our stories, particularly when writing about people who are poor or homeless or undocumented immigrants? Can well-meaning but uncareful journalism about marginalized people do more harm than good?

These are worthy questions posed in a blog by Lori Kleinsmith, who works as a health promoter for a community health center in Ontario, Canada. Kleinsmith says:

The challenge with writing a story about someone living in poverty is that it is really just a snapshot that is unable to display a deeper context of the experience of poverty firsthand. The pathways into and out of poverty are much more complex than a snapshot and many readers are unable to see beyond the surface and to be empathetic to a person’s circumstances, choosing instead to speculate or criticize. There can also be a pitting of the working poor against those in receipt of publicly funded social assistance programs, an “undeserving poor versus deserving poor” battle. The real systemic issues about how to address poverty get lost in the war of words and degrading comments about one’s choices and lifestyle.

Kleinsmith asserts that journalists need to tell more complete stories “that provide evidence and not just emotion, and that do not further victimize those who are brave enough to speak out.” Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

Please welcome these new professional members to AHCJ. All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.

  • Jason Anthony, editor, Proto Magazine, New York (@JWAnthony47)
  • Bob Ray, producer, WMAQ -Chicago, Glendale Heights, Ill.
  • Frederick Reese, staff writer, MintPress News, Minneapolis (@FrederickReese)
  • Prue Salasky, senior health reporter, Daily Press, Newport, Va. (@dphealthnotes)
  • Leigh Ann Winick, medical producer, CBS News, New York

If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.