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Training: Conferences

2004 AHCJ Conference

03/26/04 - 03/29/04     Minneapolis, MN

Program

Friday, March 26

1:30 - 5 p.m. The Economics of Pharmaceuticals -- Sponsored by the Foundation for American Communications (FACS), the opening session will focus on pharmaceutical issues in the news. First, a primer on the economics of the pharmaceutical industry by Steven Schondelmeyer, who heads the University of Minnesota's Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems. He is the professor of Pharmaceutical Economics and Century Mortar Club Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Management and Economics.

At 3:30, a panel will explore the growing issue of the reimportation of drugs from Canada. The panel will feature Commissioner Kevin Goodno, the director of the Minnesota Department of Health Services, the state's "point person" on reimportation; Chris Ward, a representative of the Pharmaceutical Reserach and
Manufacturer's of America (PhRMA) who is president of Ward Health Strategies, and a representative of the Canadian Consul General's office.

5:30 – 7 p.m. Reception with Cash Bar
Sponsored by the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center

This event will be held at McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street S.E., across the street from the hotel.

7 -- 8:30 p.m. PLENARY: The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research -- Elias Zerhouni, Director of the National Institutes of Health, will speak about the road map he's plotting for the future of NIH and what he intends to accomplish as NIH director. A question-and-answer period will follow his presentation.

Saturday, March 27

8:30 a.m. -- noon WORKSHOPS
Understanding Evidence-based Medicine (Basic)
-- Back by popular demand, prize-winning Australian journalist Ray Moynihan will repeat the highly successful workshop held at the 2003 conference. You will learn how to select the best medical evidence to write the finest story on deadline. And, you'll find out how to replace misleading medical story formulas with informative, compelling stories destined for Page One. Advance registration required. Limited to 30 participants.

REQUIRED Homework for Evidence-Based Medicine Assignment
:

  • Risks and Benefits of Estrogen Plus Progestin in Healthy Postmenopausal Women: Principal Results From the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial Writing Group for the Women's Health Initiative Investigators. JAMA 2002 (PDF)
  • Fletcher, S Colditz, G Failure of Estrogen Plus Progestin Therapy for Prevention JAMA 2002;288:366-368 (PDF)
  • Lessons of the Hormone Replacement Debacle, By Thomas J. Moore

RECOMMENDED Homework for Evidence-Based Medicine Assignment:

  • Tipsheet for reporting on drugs, devices and medical technologies
  • Moynihan R, Heath I, Henry D. Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering. BMJ 2002; 324: 886-891
  • Moynihan, R The making of a disease: female sexual dysfunction BMJ 2003; 326: 45-47
  • Moynihan R., et al Coverage by the News Media of the Benefits and Risks of Medications, Abstract N Engl J Med 2000; 342:1645-1650, Jun 1, 2000.

Vitamins, Supplements and Drugs: Understanding the FDA --This complex federal agency continues to be the source of a plethora of health stories. Scott Gottlieb, senior advisor for medical technology for the FDA, will give you the inside skinny on how to navigate the agency. Anna Mathews, a Wall Street Journal reporter who focuses on the FDA, will also give you tips and story ideas to pursue. Advance registration required. Limited to 50 participants.

Is Your Local Hospital Any Good? -- Two veteran health care journalists, Charlie Ornstein of the Los Angeles Times and Karl Stark of The Philadelphia Inquirer, will show you how to find specific information about your local hospital and turn it into a story or two. By the end of this session, you will walk out with a disk full of data and the guts of a story. Limited to 30 participants.

Making Numbers Tell A Story -- If you don't know how to make sense and make stories out of databases, here's your chance to learn. This will cover the basics. Every reporter needs to understand at least the basics of database reporting for your reporters' bag 'o tricks. This will be taught by one of the best: Ron Nixon formerly a trainer for the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting before joining the Star-Tribune staff in Minneapolis.Limited to 20 participants.

Uncovering Accounting Tomfoolery, Part 1 – Given the trials and tribulations of Tenet, HealthSouth and other giant health care companies, we thought it was time to bring in the big guns. Hear from Jay Taparia, principal with Sanksakar Investments in Chicago and a representative of the Association for Investment Management and Research, a not-for-profit group for security analysts, investment advisors, portfolio managers and other investment professionals If anyone can bring you up to speed in writing about these complex issues, these folks can. This group has put on seminars for Reuters, Forbes, Dow Jones. Advance registration required. Limited to 25 participants.

Noon – 1 p.m. LUNCH ON YOUR OWN (Plenty of places near the hotel.)

1 – 2:30 p.m.
Understanding Evidence-Based Medicine (Advanced, Part 1)Steve Woolf, a former member of the US Preventative Services Task Force and a specialist in family practice, preventive medicine, and public health at Virginia Commonwealth University, will offer more invaluable instruction to help you interpret medical evidence and produce accurate stories with the proper context. He will be joined by Mark Zweig, who works for the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute. This is for participants who already have a basic understanding of relative risk and other fundamentals of epidmiology. Advance registration required. Limited to 30 participants.

Uncovering Accounting Tomfoolery, Part 2 – Given the trials and tribulations of Tenet, HealthSouth and other giant health care companies, we thought it was time to bring in the big guns. Hear from Jay Taparia, principal with Sanksakar Investments in Chicago and a representative of the Association for Investment Management and Research, a not-for-profit group for security analysts, investment advisors, portfolio managers and other investment professionals If anyone can bring you up to speed in writing about these complex issues, these folks can. This group has put on seminars for Reuters, Forbes, Dow Jones. Advance registration required. Limited to 25 participants.

How I Got the (Print) StoryGlenn Howatt, a business investigative reporter with the StarTribune in Minneapolis, was part of the newspaper’s team that probed the Parker Hughes Cancer Center and its founder, Dr. Fatih Uckun. The series, Profiting from Hope, reported that patients were subjected to what experts called unnecessary and inappropriate care and extraordinary charges for repeat visits. The stories also reported the clinic had inflated the credentials of some of its doctors. Let Glenn tell you some of the war stories behind THE story.

How I Made the (Broadcast) Story – Hear from one of the country’s best broadcast journalists about how to capture health policy stories on television. Award-winning documentary producer Jon Palfreman will discuss his recent production, "The Other Drug War." He has won a Peabody, an Emmy and duPont-Columbia Silver Baton and is the only television producer ever to receive the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Writing.

Surviving in a Difficult Freelance Market, Part 1 – This is one of a two-part session for freelancers that will cover how to negotiate a contract, find new markets, employ techniques of technical/medical writing, write a book proposal and manage time.Panelists include: Debra Gordon, Freelance Writer/Editor; Roxanne Nelson, Freelance Writer; Mariska Van Aalst, Editor, Women’s Publishing Group, Rodale and Alisa Bauman, Author. Advance registration required.

2:30 – 3 p.m. Break

3 – 4:30 p.m.
Understanding Evidence-Based Medicine (Advanced, Part 2)Steve Woolf, a former member of the US Preventative Services Task Force and a specialist in family practice, preventive medicine, and public health at Virginia Commonwealth University, will offer more invaluable instruction to help you interpret medical evidence and produce accurate stories with the proper context. He will be joined by Mark Zweig, who works for the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute. This is for participants who already have a basic understanding of relative risk and other fundamentals of epidmiology.Limited to 30 participants.

How I Got the (Print) StoryThe Orange County Register recently published an extensive one-day package called "Hospital Report Card" on the quality of hospitals after developing a report card. Hear first-hand from Bernard Wolfson, one of the reporters, how the story was developed and the community’s response.

Ten Ways to Beef Up TV Health News -- Gary Schwitzer, former head of CNN Medical News Unit and now on the University of Minnesota's journalism faculty, will present a fascinating analysis of health news coverage. Minneapolis-St. Paul television news directors Jeff Kiernan and Ted Canova will discuss the challenges of covering TV health news.

Surviving in a Difficult Market, Part 2 – This is second of a two-part session for freelancers covering how to negotiate a contract, find new markets, employ techniques of technical/medical writing, write a book proposal and manage your time.

5:30 – 7 p.m. Opening Night Reception/Light Dinner (Cash bar)

7 – 8 p.m. Plenary Address

Medical Mistakes: Why They Keep on Happening by Robert Wachter, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco and author of Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind the Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes. Read what Atul Gwande and others say about this book.

Sunday, March 28

7 – 8 a.m. Fun Run

8 -- 9 a.m.Continental Breakfast

9 – 10:30 a.m. BREAKOUTS
Cheating the Mentally Ill -- Are patients with mental illnesses getting short shrift when it comes to the quality of medical services? Charlotte Mullican, who works for the Center for Outcomes Effectiveness Research at AHRQ, will give an overview on the latest findings. Then, Paul Raeburn, former president of the National Association of Science Writers, will offer his perspective on the quality of mental health car and discuss his experiences as a reporter covering health care and as a father of a son with bipolar disorder and a daughter with depression. Raeburn has just completed a book, Acquainted with the Night, a memoir of his experiences with his children’s illnesses.

The Medical Arms Race: Getting the Global Perspective from the Frontlines – A gold mine of stories on the dazzling array of medical devices and how they're changing the practice of medicine await enterprising reporters. Yet because of a disconnect between science, business and policy, reporters might miss the full picture. Susan Foote, a health policy expert who has advised the FDA and the NIH on the medical device industry, will take you through the trenches, pointing out the booby traps that trip up reporters. She will help you understand the dynamics at play when a new technology emerges. Laurie McGinley, a Wall Street Journal reporter, will discuss how to craft these stories and sell them to Luddite editors.

Conflicts of Interests: Theirs and Ours – How do we report on conflicts of interests involving medical research and how do we deal with our own journalistic conflicts? Kelly McBride, an ethicist with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and Ray Moynihan, an award-winning Australian journalist, will lead the discussion. Attendees will have an opportunity to review and discuss a draft AHCJ code of ethics/statement of principles. This session will conclude at 11 a.m.

HIV/AIDS: What's Left to Report? -- Now that HIV/AIDS is turning into a chronic illness, the story is shifting to funding of services for these patients. Each year, about 40,000 more people are infected. At the same time, funding for services has been scaled back and many states already have waiting lists for patients. This is another one of those stories that shouldn't be ignored. Jennifer Kates, director of HIV Policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Steve Sternberg, a reporter for USA Today, will help you get a handle on this always complicated but still compelling topic.

10:30 – 11 a.m. Break

11 – 1 p.m. Plenary Brunch
FOIA: Where It Is Now – Every journalist should hear Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, explain the current situation and what’s being done to safeguard the public’s right to information about our governments. Just be prepared to leave this session scared as hell, but determined not to take it anymore.

1 – 1:30 p.m. Break

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Annual Membership Meeting -- Join the AHCJ Board of Directors to hear about some exciting new AHCJ projects. Learn about the board's vision for long-term stability. Air your grievances. Offer your feedback.

2:30 – 3 p.m. Break

3 – 4:30 p.m. BREAKOUTS
Hottest Spots: Stock Analysts Dish the Dirt on Health Stocks -- Thom Gunderson, who tracks the sizzle of what’s hot and what’s not in health care for Piper Jaffray Cos., and John Fargnoli, a not-for-profit healthcare analyst at S&P, will offer their views on what the next year will bring, what stories are about to break and what stories should get follow-up after an already tumultuous year.

Stem Cell Research Hits Adolescence -- Where’s the edge of research? What’s next now that the Bush Administration has decided to fund research on human embryonic stem cells. Catherine Verfaillie, who has been named one of the top 10 scientists in the country and head of the University of Minnesota’s Stem Cell Institute, will lead this discussion.

Telemedicine: Rx for Rural Health? -- Some experts think telemedicine is a model that will help give patients access to top quality health care – even if they live in the modern wilderness. Here from two experts on the frontlines. Nina Antoniotti, director of the Marshfield Clinic's TeleHealth Network in Wisconsin, has firsthand experience with efforts providers are making to reach patients in rural areas. Tim Size, executive director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, will provide the context.

A Long Way Home -- Using the Nursing Home Watch List -- Consumers Union will tell you about new research to help you understand what makes a bad facility and how residents are being hurt. And, you'll learn how the current financing system affects quality of care. Panelists include: Bob Kane, University of Minnesota prrofessor who holds the Minnesota Chair of Long-Term Care and Aging; Catherine Hawes, a professor of gerontology at Texas A&M University and Iris Freeman, who founded Advocacy Strategy, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in the Twin Cities.

Inside TV Medical News -- From documentaries to news, what goes into creating a successful medical broadcast show? How can we keep it accurate and informative, yet real and entertaining? Get a behind-the-scenes look from the producer of the highly successful Discovery Health Channel show "The Residents." Learn how he captures the reality of the resident training years (cameras in the hospitals, permission in the HIPAA era, tricks of the trade) and hear from the writer/producer of "News Breaks" on how to keep the public informed about important topics in medicine, health, and science and still break new ground. The general manager of Discovery Health will join us in a discussion about the future of television health news.

5:30 – 7 p.m. Reception
Sponsored by Discovery Health Channel

Dinner of your own
-- We'll supply a list of popular dining spots. You can create informal groups and split cab fare.

Monday, March 29

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. PLENARY
Biotech On Our Plates: What Are They Doing To Our Food? --
Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University and author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, David Schmidt, vice president of the International Food Information Council, and Chuck Muskoplat, dean of the University of Minnesota's College of Agriculture and a widely recognized scientist and leader in biotechnology and its application to human, plant and animal improvement, will discuss how our food is turning into nutraceuticals and what the implications are for our health, our econony and the environment.

10 – 10:15 a.m. Break (Mayo Clinic Field Trip participants leave.)

10:15 – 11:45 a.m. BREAKOUTS

Emerging Infections: Inciting Fear or Educating the Public?
As public health experts scramble to contain new infections like SARS and the avian bird flu, reporters are struggling with how to cover the topic. This will be a give-and-take conversation with Michael Osterholm, a nationally recognized infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota and Gregory Poland, an infectious disease specialist from the Mayo Clinic. Both advise the federal goverment. They will discuss why the media needs to pay attention to emerging infections and provide story ideas on how to cover them.

Playing the Game, Making the Rules: Consumer-Driven Health Plans -- This session will examine the benefits and pitfalls of consumer-driven health care. Join Trudy Lieberman, Consumer Reports' health policy editor and Lee Newcomer, founder of Vivius, a Minnesota-based seller of consumer driven approaches; Michael Parkinson, an executive with Lumenos, a firm that markets consumer-driven insurance products to employers and Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate at the Employees Benefit Research Institute, to discuss this new approach. This session is sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

Legislative Sausage: How Health Policy Is Made – It’s an ugly process, but someone has to do it. Hear from some Washington insiders who will tell the behind-the-scenes stories of health care legislation and rule-making. They will include Ed Howard, executive vice-president of the Alliance for Health Reform, John Rother, director of policy and strategy for AARP, Cybele Bjorklund, staff director for the Subcommittee on Health House Ways and Means Committee, and Linda Fishman, formerly on the staff of Republican Senator Charles Grassley. This session is sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

Neglected Stepchild: Native American Health Issues -- Health problems that have a unique impact among Native Americans are rising to the top of news budgets across the country. Yvette Roubideaux, assistant professor at the University of Arizona, is well-known for her research in an area rich with story possibilities. And Judy Nichols, a senior reporter at The Arizona Republic, will offer tips and her perspective on covering this important topic.
This session is sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

Noon – 1:30 p.m. BOX LUNCH
Health Care Prosecutions: The States Get Aggressive – Two attorneys general – from Mike Hatch from Minnesota and Peg Lautenschlager from Wisconsin – discuss what has led to some ground-breaking prosecutions of health care companies and other efforts to protect consumers' interests in a world where the big muscle is often big companies.

1:30 – 1:45 p.m. Break

1:45– 3:45 p.m. BREAKOUTS AND FIELD TRIPS

Blue On Blue: When Blue Cross Plans Try To Merge -- In the late 90s, companies would swoop in and buy struggling Blues plans without a challenge from regulators and consumers. Now, life ain’t so easy for the Blues. Hear from experts, including Tom Hefty, former CEO of Wisconsin Blue Cross Blue Shield and CEO of Cobalt, the merged for-profit company; Steve Larsen, former insurance commissioner for Maryland; and Laurie Sobel, senior attorney for Consumers’ Union. They will help you understand nuances of the story that you may have missed. Advance regisration required.

Mayo Clinic: Cutting Edge Research – Since its founding more than 100 years ago, Mayo Clinic has earned a reputation of excellence through clinical expertise, research, and education. This tour will highlight recent and promising research conducted by Mayo scientists and physicians in heart disease, transplant, cancer, and molecular pharmacology (how medicines interact with genes). Speakers will explain the latest findings, current and future applications. You will see labs where discoveries are made and how innovations in patient care are developed. This half-day program will offer journalists story ideas and background information on medicine and science. And, since it’s 90 minutes each way, you’ll have plenty of time to pick the brains of your colleagues. Well worth the trip. Advance registration required. Limited to 40 participants.

Field Trip to Medtronic -- Medical devices are the next big boom in the health care industry. Learn how what starts out as an idea in a researcher's mind turns into a medical device worth millions. You'll tour Medtronic, one of the world's major medical device manufacturing plants, and hear from the research and business sides. Advance registration required. Limited to 30 participants.

Field Trip on Innovative Cancer Therapies -- The University of Minnesota Cancer Center has a history of developing new technologies in the laboratory and translating them, through clinical research, into innovative therapies. For example, U of Minnesota researchers performed the world’s first bone marrow transplant for lymphoma and created the first animal model for the study of bone cancer. Tour the Cancer Center research facility as presenters discuss promising therapies, such as cancer vaccines and activated “natural killer” cells, that trigger the body’s immune system to fight cancer. This will be an interactive lab tour with a “lab-to-therapy” overview and discussion of some novel developments in cancer prevention and care.Advance registration required. Limited to 30 participants.