Category Archives: Public health

Calculating the multiple costs of Flint’s water 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 susan@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Bottle Heaven via photopin (license)

Photo: Bottle Heaven via photopin (license)As federal, state and local health officials work to resolve Flint’s water crisis, cost has become a central issue in addition to grappling with the long-term effects of lead contamination.

About $7.50 a gallon. That’s how much bottled water can cost when purchased in typical 17-ounce (500 milliliter) containers, according to Business Insider. On average, the publication reported, it costs $1.22 a gallon compared with about 4 cents per gallon for tap water.

In Flint, Mich., responding to the city’s ongoing water contamination crisis is showing the health divide in sharp relief – not just in health impacts, but also economic ones. Continue reading

Where to turn for the best information about Zika

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.

Photo: CDCAedes aegypti

Photo: CDCAedes aegypti

We’ve gathered some of the best, most science-based resources to help reporters who are covering Zika or may find themselves covering the emerging disease as the seasons change.

The NLM Outreach and Specific Populations Branch sent out this extensive list of resources from a wide range of U.S. and international health organizations. It includes information for special populations, epidemiology, detection and diagnosis, travel and does include some information in Spanish. Continue reading

AHCJ fellow tells how she examined hospital community benefit, post-ACA

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.

Reform_Kutscher-StFrancisMemorialHospital

Photo: HaeB via Wikimedia CommonsSaint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco

Beth Kutscher, a Modern Healthcare reporter who recently become the publication’s California bureau chief, has covered health care finance for several years, with a particular focus on for-profit health care.

During her 2015 AHCJ Reporting Fellowship on Health Care Performance, she looked at the impact Medicaid expansion had on hospital finances. And she spent some time reporting on how not-for-profit hospitals have to give back to their communities to justify their tax exempt status.

That’s often through providing charity care or training physicians – but some hospitals are addressing different community needs. One San Francisco hospital, for instance, supports a program that escorts kids after school through a gang-ridden neighborhood, enhancing both their physical safety and their stress levels.

Find out more about how Kutscher explored this topic, and what she learned from it, in her How I Did It essay.

How the Flint water crisis has further exposed health disparities

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 susan@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)

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)

The ongoing water quality crisis in Flint, Mich., highlights many public health issues, but shines its brightest light on health disparities, too.

Residents of the struggling community, about an hour northwest of Detroit, began complaining about problems with their tap water almost as soon as the city – under the control of a state manager – began pumping water from Flint River to fill the gap after switching providers in 2013.

It’s something that would have never happened in one of Detroit’s wealthier, leafy suburbs, according to Nancy Kaffer, a political columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Continue reading

Obesity research: What to know and making sense of studies

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.

obesity-webcastCalling obesity an “epidemic” is almost a cliche in health reporting, but there is no question that obesity is linked to many serious health issues and quality of life, and obesity incidence has been increasing.

That reality has led to even more medical research into its causes, its treatment and management and the conditions obesity increases the risk of experiencing.

In a Jan. 13 webcast, obesity expert and physician Yoni Freedhoff will provide an overview of the state of obesity research and explain what reporters need to know and look for in medical research about obesity.

With Tara Haelle, AHCJ’s core topic leader on medical studies, Freedhoff will explain what we know, how to cut through hype, how to spot less evidence-based claims, and how to talk about the issue in a respectful way. Find out how to participate.