Tag Archives: trauma

#AHCJ17 panels to address importance of social determinants

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.

Health care reporters coming to Health Journalism 2017 in search of story ideas on covering health gaps and the social constructs behind them have a host of panels to choose from while in Orlando.

On the issue of costs, Saturday morning’s session on “Bending the Cost Curve: The Social Determinants of Health” will look at how tackling social determinants of health can help lower costs and improve health, particularly when it comes to health care systems such as hospitals and other networks. Continue reading

Tips from the archives: Covering hurricanes and other natural disasters

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 AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Photo: Eric Hackathorn via Flickr

Photo: Eric Hackathorn via Flickr

With Hurricane Matthew coming ashore on Haiti and approaching Cuba and the United States, this seems like a good time to review some resources and advice that AHCJ has compiled about reporting on hurricanes and other disasters.

Even if you’re not reporting on an affected location, this may be a good time to ask some questions and write about disaster preparedness in your region. Continue reading

Mental trauma is everywhere, panelists tell AHCJ members

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/AHCJAHCJ members in April attended a packed panel on covering mental trauma, from violence, child sexual abuse and other factors at Health Journalism 2016 in Cleveland. The speakers were Dr. Glenda Wrenn, director of behavioral health at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta; Dr. Ewald Horwath, director of Case Western University’s Psychiatry Department; Kristine Buffington, a trained social worker based in Toledo, Ohio; and Kathleen Hackett, a sexual assault nurse examiner.

Photo: Susan Heavey/AHCJAHCJ members in April attended a packed panel on covering mental trauma at Health Journalism 2016 in Cleveland. The speakers were Dr. Glenda Wrenn, from Morehouse School of Medicine; Dr. Ewald Horwath, of Case Western University; Kristine Buffington, a social worker based in Toledo, Ohio; and Kathleen Hackett, a sexual assault nurse examiner.

A single tear is okay, but don’t cry.

Kathleen Hackett, a sexual assault nurse examiner, recently told AHCJ members that breaking down while listening to stories from victims can retraumatize them or even force them to emotionally shut down so as not to cause any one else pain.

“We have to be careful in our response,” said Hackett, who has more than 30 years of nursing experience and has worked with children in the hospital after their ordeal, adding that she never cries in front of her patients. Continue reading

Examining psychology, racism in wake of Charleston 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 healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: CDC Public Health Image Library/Amanda MillsAn African-American boy is seen walking with a teacher in Atlanta.

Photo: CDC Public Health Image Library/Amanda MillsAn African-American boy is seen walking with a teacher in Atlanta.

“Our anxiety and fear is palpable,” New York Times reporter Jenna Wortham wrote recently.

Racism’s Psychological Toll,” written for The New York Times Magazine, highlights the emotional distress that victims of racially motivated aggression can feel and raises questions about the possible link to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The Q&A piece, along with several others, was part of the magazine’s look at racial violence in the wake of the June 17 shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine people dead. After the shooting, a website linked to the white gunman charged in the shooting surfaced with a racial manifesto and photos of him with a Confederate flag.

Continue reading

Covering tropical storms: Resources, related stories to help your reporting

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 AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

As Tropical Storm Hurricane Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, we have gathered tip sheets about covering natural disasters and the ensuing public health risks, along with articles written by journalists about covering the public health angle of disasters.

The compilation includes award-winning stories about covering health and health care systems in the aftermath of hurricanes – along with questionnaires about how those stories were reported. Links to resources and academic research should help you find story ideas and expert sources to help you evaluate and cover the public health response before, during and after the storm.

Among the collection:

  • Presentations from a panel about evaluating how prepared your city is for a disaster
  • A presentation about following the money in public health crisis preparation
  • Two articles about how journalists might cover and survive disasters as well as understand the medical systems in place to handle them.
  • Extensive reporting on health care in southern Mississippi and New Orleans in the years after Hurricane Katrina
  • Sheri Fink’s Pulitzer-winning article, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial,” about what happened at one isolated New Orleans hospital in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, as well as her  article for AHCJ, “Covering a complex story for the long haul,” in which she explains the reporting and writing process for that work.