Category Archives: Member news

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.

  • Ronald Campbell, staff reporter, Center for Health Reporting, Alhambra, Calif. (@campbellronaldw)
  • Fatima S. Faisal, student, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Apoorva Mandavilli, editor in chief, SFARI.org, New York (@apoorva_nc)
  • Jill Patton, senior editor, Experience Life Magazine, St. Paul, Minn.
  • LaRonda Peterson, managing editor, Kaiser Health News, Washington, D.C.
  • Lisa Schencker, legal reporter, Modern Healthcare, Chicago (@lschencker)
  • Emily Silber, student, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 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.

2014 winners named in top health journalism awards

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.

awardsSoaring drug prices that make even copays unaffordable for many, an unchecked rise in robotic surgery, financial abuse revealed using previously secret Medicare data, and the health ramifications of the boom in hydraulic fracturing for oil were among the top winners of this year’s Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

Awards also went to articles that examined the “collateral damage” of urban violence, followed a team of doctors and scientists fighting Ebola, and exposed the growing number of unregulated diagnostic tests that can lead to patient harm.

Read the full announcement and see the winning entries. Congratulations to all of the winners!

D.C. journalists gather, meet with pharmaceutical representatives

Phil Galewitz

About Phil Galewitz

Phil Galewitz, a senior correspondent at Kaiser Health News, helps lead AHCJ's Washington, D.C., chapter. At KHN, he covers Medicaid, Medicare, long-term care, hospitals and state health issues. He is a former member of AHCJ's board of directors.

Photo: Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health NewsWashington, D.C., health journalists got together to catch up and make contact with communications official from several pharmaceutical companies on March 18.

Photo: Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health NewsWashington, D.C., health journalists got together to catch up and make contact with communications official from several pharmaceutical companies on March 18.

About 25 journalists gathered on March 18 at Bistro d’Oc in Washington, D.C.,  for an AHCJ chapter happy hours event with top communications officials with PhRMA and several of its member pharmaceutical companies.

Photo: Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health NewsJulie Appleby (left), of Kaiser Health News, and  Laurie McGinley, of The Washington Post, with a representative of Bristol-Myers Squibb at the Washington, D.C., AHCJ chapter event on March 18.

Photo: Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health NewsJulie Appleby (left), of Kaiser Health News, and Laurie McGinley, of The Washington Post, with a representative of Bristol-Myers Squibb at the Washington, D.C., AHCJ chapter event on March 18.

There was no formal program, just a chance to meet PhrMA officials and representatives of companies that included Novo Nordisk, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Journalists from The Washington Post, Kaiser Health News, Politico, U.S. News & World Reports and Inside Health Policy were among those in attendance. AHCJ helped cover costs for journalists, who were asked for a voluntary $10 to defray expenses.

The event marked the third D.C. chapter event since December. For more info on  D.C. chapter events, contact Phil Galewitz at pgalewitz@kff.org.

Photo: Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health NewsJulie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey, both of Kaiser Health News, and Laurie McGinley, of The Washington Post, (left to right) were among the journalists who attended the March 18 AHCJ chapter event.

Photo: Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health NewsJulie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey, both of Kaiser Health News, and Laurie McGinley, of The Washington Post, (left to right) were among the journalists who attended the March 18 AHCJ chapter event.

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.

  • Nina Agrawal, student, Columbia University School of Journalism, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Bob L. Barrett, reporter/producer/anchor, WUWF-Pensacola, Fla. (@bobwuwf)
  • Hanna A. Battah, student, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo. (@hannabattah)
  • Dennis Bittner, independent journalist, Orinda, Calif.
  • Jordan M. Bowen, student, Columbia, Mo. (@Jordan__Bowen)
  • Monica Braine, senior producer, Native America Calling, Albuquerque, N.M. (@monicabraine)
  • Samantha Caiola, health reporter, The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, Calif. (@sammycaiola)
  • Anthony R. Cave, reporter, Florida Keys Keynoter, North Miami Beach, Fla. (@Anthony_Cave)
  • Rose Ciotta, investigative producer, WIVB-Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Marcel Clarke, student, Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia, Mo. (@Marcel_Clarke)
  • Laura E. Coburn, student, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Tyler Daniels, student, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York
  • Claire Doan, reporter, KCRA-Sacramento, Calif.
  • Christina Frangou, independent journalist, Calgary, Alberta (@cfrangou)
  • Thomas Gounley, watchdog reporter – economy and growth, Springfield News-Leader, Springfield, Mo. (@tgounleyNL)
  • Jon Z. Greenberg, staff writer, Tampa Bay Times, Washington, D.C. (@jonzgreenberg)
  • Justine Gubar, producer, ESPN, San Francisco
  • Kathleen Hayden, senior digital editor, Kaiser Health News, Washington, D.C.
  • Nicole Hester-Williams, staff writer, The Fairfield Ledger, Fairfield, Iowa
  • Darienne J. Hosley Stewart, independent journalist, Sunnyvale, Calif. (@DarienneS)
  • Skye Hubbard, student, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
  • Lindsey Johnston, student, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Katherine Kang, producer, Fox News Los Angeles, Temple City, Calif.
  • Hope M. Kirwan, student, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo. (@hopekirwan)
  • Milena Kozlowska, student, City University of New York-Hunter College, Staten Island, N.Y.
  • Amanda K. LaBrot, student, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo. (@AmandaLaBrot)
  • Sandra Lamb, independent journalist, Denver (@Sandralamb)
  • Elizabeth Leary, student, Yale University, Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Rachel Lombardi, student, Roger Williams University, Wethersfield, Conn. (@rachellombardi)
  • Jyoti Madhusoodanan, independent journalist, San Jose, Calif. (@smjyoti)
  • Dina Maron, associate editor, Scientific American, Washington, D.C. (@Dina_Maron)
  • Jessica N. Mensch, student, Columbia, Mo. (@jessmensch)
  • Naomi E. Ogaldez, reporter, El Nuevo Sol, Reseda, Calif. (@Nogaldez)
  • Gianna Peralta, student, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif.
  • Shale Remien, student, Columbia, Mo. (@ShaleRemien)
  • Luanne Rife, health reporter, The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, Va.
  • Amy N. Roth, health reporter, Utica, N.Y. (@OD_Roth)
  • Bram E. Sable-Smith, lead reporter, health & wealth desk, Columbia, Mo. (@besables)
  • Ramu Sapkota, health journalist, Center for Investigative Journalism, Nepal, Kathmandu, AP (@ramusapkota)
  • Paul Shepherd, senior editor, Angie’s List, Indianapolis (@P_Shepherd)
  • Ben Smart, student, Carolina Week/ University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. (@bensmartunc)
  • Kendra Smith, senior health editor, MedHelp.org, San Francisco (@kendralism)
  • Ben Sutherly, staff writer, The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio (@BenSutherly)
  • Michelle K. Tevis, assistant managing editor, Wellcommons editor, Lawrence Journal-World, Lawrence, Kan.
  • Megan M. Thielking, student, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. (@meggophone)

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.

How close are we to meeting the promise of electronic health records?

Carla K. Johnson

About Carla K. Johnson

Carla K. Johnson (@CarlaKJohnson) is a medical writer at The Associated Press and has covered health and medicine since 2001. She is a member of AHCJ's board of directors, serving as liaison to the association’s local chapters and leading the one in Chicago.

Photo: Carla K. JohnsonA panel of experts discusses health information technology at an AHCJ Chicago chapter event on March 3 in Chicago. From left: Dr. Arnold “Ned” Wagner Jr., chief medical information officer, NorthShore University HealthSystem; Dr. Diane Bradley, senior vice president, chief quality and outcomes officer, Allscripts; Eric Yablonka, vice president and chief information officer, University of Chicago Medicine; and moderator Neil Versel, an independent journalist.

Photo: Carla K. JohnsonA panel of experts discuss health information technology at an AHCJ Chicago chapter event on March 3 in Chicago. From left: Dr. Arnold “Ned” Wagner Jr., chief medical information officer, NorthShore University HealthSystem; Dr. Diane Bradley, senior vice president, chief quality and outcomes officer, Allscripts; Eric Yablonka, vice president and chief information officer, University of Chicago Medicine; and moderator Neil Versel, an independent journalist.

Yes, technology is transforming health care. No, we haven’t come anywhere close to realizing the vision.

Smooth patient handoffs, data-driven performance improvement and real-time analytics are still mostly dreams, although those ambitions have been talked about for years.

Independent journalist Neil Versel, who specializes in health information technology, moderated a panel on March 3. The AHCJ Chicago chapter event was held at AMA Plaza, the new headquarters of the American Medical Association.

Electronic medical record systems “need to play nicer together so they can use each other’s information as if it was natively generated,” said Arnold “Ned” Wagner Jr., M.D., chief medical information officer of NorthShore University HealthSystem. “Can we talk to each other transparently? Well, partly. The success of communication depends on human behavior and (technology’s) job is to help understand the reality of what motivates people to do things.” Continue reading

AHCJ mourns journalist Dori J. Maynard

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.

Dori Maynard

Dori J. Maynard

AHCJ laments the passing of Dori J. Maynard, longtime journalist and president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Maynard died Tuesday of lung cancer at 56. She and the organization named for her father pushed for diversity in journalism coverage and newsroom staffing.

A champion of journalism education, she led the Fault Lines project, which seeks to teach journalists to recognize and leverage diversity “across the ‘fault lines’ of race, class, gender, generation and geography.” She was a 1993 Nieman fellow, following in the footsteps of her father, who was a fellow in 1966.

As a reporter, she worked at The Bakersfield Californian, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., and the Detroit Free Press.  Maynard attended AHCJ events as an AHCJ Ethnic Media Fellow, as an annual conference speaker and as a co-sponsor of a workshop on multicultural health. Her contributions will be missed.

Welcoming 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.

  • Laine Bergeson, news producer, BringMeTheNews, Minneapolis (@lainebergeson)
  • Maggie Clark, business of health reporter, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fla. (@maggieclark320)
  • Naomi Cohen, student, Columbia University, Los Altos, Calif.
  • Folasade Falebita, student, Columbia University, Jersey City, N.J. (@sadefalebita)
  • Michelle Faust, reporter/producer, WXXI Public Broadcasting, Rochester, N.Y. (@michereports)
  • Cynthia McKelvey, science journalist, Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum, Berkeley, Calif. (@NotesofRanvier)
  • Roger Plothow, editor and publisher, Post Register, Idaho Falls, Idaho (@rdplothow)
  • Guimel Sibingo, student, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
  • Nancy Stedman, deputy editor, health, More Magazine, 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.

Reporters use fellowships to take in-depth look at health care issues

Kris Hickman

About Kris Hickman

Kris Hickman (@the_index_case) is a graduate research assistant for AHCJ, pursuing a master’s degree in public health. She has a bachelor's degree in anthropology, with a minor in journalism, from the University of Missouri. She spent two years in Zambia as an HIV/AIDS community education volunteer in the Peace Corps. She aspires to be an epidemiologist and science writer.

Last year, AHCJ awarded five Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance and the fellows produced a rich variety of projects on the health care landscape, investigating little-known stories such as state Medicaid models and the cancer care migration.

We’re highlighting each fellow and their accomplishments. Continue reading

AHCJ award-winner’s work foretold N.Y. moratorium on certain supplements

Kris Hickman

About Kris Hickman

Kris Hickman (@the_index_case) is a graduate research assistant for AHCJ, pursuing a master’s degree in public health. She has a bachelor's degree in anthropology, with a minor in journalism, from the University of Missouri. She spent two years in Zambia as an HIV/AIDS community education volunteer in the Peace Corps. She aspires to be an epidemiologist and science writer.

Image by  Health Gauge via flickr.

Image by Health Gauge via flickr.

AHCJ members likely weren’t too surprised on Feb. 3, when the New York Office of the Attorney General ordered four major companies to stop selling certain herbal supplements, because in 2013, USA Today reporter Alison Young won an Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism for investigating the lucrative and shadowy world of dietary supplements.

Research in New York showed many products did not contain any of the advertised ingredients, and in the series “Supplement Shell Game,” Young showed that some drugs – and their makers – can be downright dangerous. Even worse, industry players often clash with regulators, and many have criminal backgrounds.

Continue reading

What a reporter learned following primary care residents

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

We’ve posted a new tip sheet and a new “How I did it” piece that may yield some story ideas for reporters.

In her “How I did it” essay, Karen Brown describes how she tracked a group of primary care residents for a year of their training – a year in which two of the three she chose to focus on ultimately decided not to go into primary care after all.

“Their decisions may have been disappointing for the field, but they did make for a more compelling story. I was able to use their personal dilemmas, unfolding in real time, to illustrate the crisis in primary care,” she writes. Brown had an AHCJ fellowship to do her project, but she gives advice on how to embark on a similar project  – without a fellowship – in your community.

In the tip sheet, Lola Butcher explains the 340B drug program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to sell discounted drugs to eligible health care organizations that serve a lot of poor people. The drugs are for outpatient use.

But the program has continued to grow, prompting questions about its cost and purpose. “Like all good controversies,” Butcher writes, “this one has enthusiastic advocates and wild-eyed opponents, and it’s easy to get snagged by the passion of the partisans.”

Both feature projects were funded with AHCJ Reporting Fellowships in Health Care Performance.