Category Archives: Public health

Access – or lack of access – to health information is making news

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

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

key-in-lock-showing-forbidden-information-graphicstockSeveral stories about access to public information have caught my eye in the past week. Whether it involves public health data from Florida, evidence in a federal criminal case or embargoes and favored access at a federal agency, it’s clear that journalists are facing obstacles in ensuring the public’s access to information.

In Rhode Island, a judge ruled in favor of a journalist seeking evidence presented in the trial of a doctor now “serving four life sentences for his role in operating a pain management clinic like a ‘pill mill.'” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had refused to release the records since journalist Phil Eil requested them after the trial ended in 2011. Continue reading

Another look at blood donation in wake of Orlando shooting

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 She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at

Photo: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

Photo: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

Last month’s shooting in Orlando in drew attention not only to the city’s gay community but also to limits in how the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community there could respond when it comes to what many do in the aftermath of such tragedies – give blood.

The shooting at the gay nightclub left 49 victims dead. Many in the community sought to donate blood only to run into U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations that call for sexually active gay men to wait a year after their last sexual encounter before giving blood. Continue reading

Safety-net clinics in your community may benefit from new federal dental care grants

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 She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at

Photo: Jessica Lucia via Flickr

Photo: Jessica Lucia via Flickr

New federal grants will help safety net clinics across the country to provide more dental care in their communities.

Nearly $156 million in oral health funding will enable clinics in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to employ oral health professionals to provide new or expanded services, federal officials recently announced. Continue reading

Could health information technology help solve homelessness?

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

Photo: Jeremy Brooks via Flickr

Photo: Jeremy Brooks via Flickr

This week, 70 San Francisco Bay Area media organizations have banded together to coordinate coverage on homelessness. The goal was to shine a bright spotlight on a pervasive problem that is only growing worse with the skyrocketing cost of living in the region.

The San Francisco Chronicle created a page that collects homelessness coverage from participating news organizations.  You can follow coverage on Twitter at #SFHomelessProject. Continue reading

How the media reports mass shootings may influence future ones

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: Ryan via Flickr

As the U.S. struggles to process and grieve yet another mass shooting — this one unique in targeting a minority group (the Latino community) of a minority group (the LGBTQ community) — the media is struggling to cover the massacre responsibly and sensitively without letting the coverage feel like a recycle of every previous shooting.

And there is at least one way they appear to be succeeding: giving less attention to the killer than to the victims. Though research is limited, studies have suggested that this approach is more responsible if one goal is not to inadvertently inspire future massacres. Continue reading