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Health Journalism 2008: Detailed conference schedule

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Tentative list of sessions
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Thursday, March 27

7:30 a.m.

CHECK-IN AND REGISTRATION OPENS (Crystal Ballroom Foyer)

8 a.m.

FIELD TRIPS
Requires advance sign up. Buses start loading at 8 a.m., leave hotel at 8:20 a.m. Buses will return to the hotel by 4:30 p.m.

1-4:30 p.m.

SPECIAL WORKSHOP ON MAPPING HEALTH
AHCJ in partnership with ESRI
Visualizing health data can enhance reporting and enlighten readers and audiences. The use of GIS (geographic information systems) tools is becoming necessary on the Web and in newsrooms worldwide. Brad Heath of USA Today and Chris Kinabrew of ESRI Inc. will lead 30 journalists through a hands-on session to introduce the use of mapping software and techniques for health reporting. Those attending will learn the basics of using databases and maps to analyze patterns and trends in health. ESRI, a leading company in the GIS software industry, will provide copies of the book "GIS Tutorial for Health" and evaluation copies of ArcGIS 9.2, desktop mapping software, so the participants can continue learning after the conference.
• Brad Heath, reporter, USA Today
• Chris Kinabrew, M.P.H., M.S.W., public health specialist, ESRI Inc.

This workshop is full.

5-6:15 p.m.

Dennis Quaid PRESS BRIEFING: A candid conversation with Dennis Quaid
Last November, a medication error changed the lives of actor Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly. Twice over an eight-hour period, their newborn twins received 1,000 times the recommended concentration of the blood thinner heparin at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Nurses and pharmacy technicians had failed to check the drug vials before administering the wrong dosage. A similar mistake killed three children in Indiana a year earlier. The Quaid children recovered and are now at home, thriving. But the error led the Quaids to launch a foundation devoted to improving patient safety and reducing medication errors. In this special conference kickoff, Dennis Quaid will talk about this frightening experience and what good he and his wife hope will come of it.

6:30-7:45 p.m.

FOUNDERS ROUNDTABLE: THE EVOLUTION AND FUTURE OF HEALTH JOURNALISM
A look at how the AHCJ changed health care journalism, how the industry continues to evolve and what role the Association could play in that future. Panelists include AHCJ founders, original board members and a health care foundation official exploring the future of health care journalism and AHCJ's role in it.
• Penny Duckham, executive director, Kaiser Family Foundation
• Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.
• Duncan Moore, independent journalist, Chicago
• Joanne Silberner, health policy correspondent, National Public Radio
• Melinda Voss, M.P.H., public relations director, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System
• Irene Wielawski, independent journalist, Pound Ridge, N.Y.
• Moderator: Mark Taylor, independent journalist, Chicago

7:45 p.m.

COMMEMORATIVE RECEPTION
Sponsored by Kaiser Family Foundation


Friday, March 28

7:30 a.m.

Continental breakfast available in exhibit hall
Hall offers a cybercafé, hosts dozens of exhibitors sharing useful resources for journalists, handouts from panel sessions, valuable reprints and food.

8 a.m.

BREAKFAST WITH THE EXPERTS
Stop by the Exhibit Hall to grab something to eat and then drop by one of these quick presentations meant to expose you to some new research or to provide you with the background to do future stories. Each session is 30 minutes long and then will be repeated.

Hospital quality briefing
The Hospital Quality Alliance and HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt will make a major announcement Friday at Health Journalism 2008. To help you put the material in context, we have added two breakfast briefings in the morning at which officials will discuss the announcement and what it means for consumers. The comments from the briefing are EMBARGOED until 3 p.m. Eastern time to coincide with the secretary's address. The breakfast briefings are for conference registrants only.

Speaking at the morning briefings:

  • Rich Umbdenstock, American Hospital Association president/CEO and HQA chairman
  • Herb Kuhn, Centers from Medicare & Medicaid Services deputy administrator
  • Gerry Shea, AFL-CIO assistant to the president of governmental affairs
  • Carolyn Clancy, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality director

The secretary's press conference is open to credentialed press.

Computer-aided vision – the next generation
Neuroscientist Max Riesenhuber is doing research that combines computer vision with an analysis of brain activity in order to develop the next generation of binoculars (eventually for use by the U.S. military). The binoculars would be designed to help soldiers process massive amounts of data gathered by satellite imaging by increasing the speed of images and monitoring brain activity when a person identifies a possible threat. The brain identifies threats via ocular nerves, before the person can even register the impulse and respond. An EEG in the helmet would monitor the brain and correlate the suspicious images with brain activity, making it easier for threat surveillance in combat and covert operations scenarios – a combining of human and computer intelligence.
• Presenter: Max Riesenhuber, Ph.D, assistant professor, Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center

Exploring the sociological issues around breast cancer
In the United States, African American and Latina women are diagnosed with breast cancer less frequently than white women. But once diagnosed, studies have shown that these women are far more likely to die of their disease. Vanessa Sheppard, a researcher at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, has developed outreach initiatives for both groups that pairs a woman just diagnosed with breast cancer with a survivor who acts like a life coach – helping to educate her about talking with doctors, asking the right questions, getting the support she needs from her family, etc. The program is focused on reducing health disparities and Sheppard and her team have done extensive research on the kinds of messages that are most effective for reaching populations of interest.
• Presenter: Vanessa Sheppard, Ph.D., assistant professor, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

New transplant frontier: Small intestine
The latest frontier of transplant medicine is the transplant of the small bowel or small intestine. With these highly technical and complicated transplants often comes the need for multi-organ transplants, sometimes as many as six organs at a time. Five to 10 years ago children and adults who had the medical conditions that necessitated these transplants simply died. Today babies as young as eight weeks and adults as old as 70 years are living normal lives thanks to these successful transplants performed in only five CMS-approved centers in the United States. Talk with Thomas Fishbein, M.D., one of the few transplant surgeons in the United States who performs these transplants, about this new frontier and about his newly published genetic research in the area of small bowel transplantation that's helping doctors at Georgetown determine which patients could be transplanted safer and sooner.
• Presenter: Thomas Fishbein, M.D., Georgetown University Hospital

9:30-10:45 a.m.

ECONOMICS OF HEALTH 101
We spend 16 percent of our gigantic economy on health care. Here is your opportunity to understand the financial fundamentals of this huge and confusing system. How the money is spent, who pays the bills, who gets the revenues, the differences among public and private programs, and why health markets are local. The experts explain everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.
Panelists:
• Joy Drass, M.D., president, Georgetown University Hospital
• Paul Fronstin, senior research associate, Employee Benefit Research Institute
• Paul Ginsburg, Ph.D., president, Center for Health System Change
• Gail Wilensky, Ph.D., senior fellow, Project Hope
• Moderator: Bob Rosenblatt, independent journalist, Annandale, Va.

WHAT HEALTH SYSTEMS OF OTHER DEVELOPED NATIONS CAN TEACH US
Michael Moore says universal health care works great in other countries. Rudy Giuliani says it's a disaster. Who's right? Find out by hearing experts talk about four countries with four very different health care systems: Canada, England, France, and the Netherlands. They'll describe what's good and bad in each nation – and offer some lessons for would-be reformers in the United States.
Panelists:
• John Appleby, chief economist, King's Fund, London
• André Picard, public health reporter, The (Toronto) Globe and Mail
Victor Rodwin, Ph.D., professor of health policy and management, New York University
Paul Thewissen, counselor, Health, Welfare & Sport at the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C.
• Moderator: Jonathan Cohn, senior editor, New Republic

CLINICAL RESEARCH INTO VACCINES FOR CANCER AND OTHER DISEASES
Vaccines have come a long way since Edward Jenner produced the first smallpox vaccine in 1756. It would take a century for scientists to produce the next round, for cholera, rabies, tetanus, plague and typhoid fever. In the 20th Century, 22 vaccines were approved, including those for polio and influenza. So far this century, just one vaccine has made its debut. It’s different than all the others, designed to protect women against a virus that causes cervical cancer. More nontraditional vaccines are in development for chronic diseases including Alzheimer's, hypertension and other cancers. Two vaccine pioneers, including the developer of the first cancer vaccine, and one of the top federal vaccine policy experts will discuss the trend.
Panelists:
• John L. Marshall, M.D., division chief, associate professor of medicine and chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Georgetown University Hospital; associate director, clinical research, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
• Richard Schlegel, M.D., Ph.D., chairman and professor, Department of Pathology, Georgetown University Medical Center
• Melinda Wharton, M.D., M.P.H., Centers for Disease Control
• Moderator: Steve Sternberg, reporter, USA Today

COMMUNITY ... THE HEALTH STORY
Everyone knows "good" neighborhoods and "bad" ones. But there are gripping, untold stories to be found in the reasons people in some neighborhoods lead longer and healthier lives than those in others. It's more than a simple tale of wealth vs. poverty, health habits, or years of schooling. Even rich, well-educated people tend to die younger if they live in places strained by inequality and social disconnection. Learn from a health expert and a master storyteller how to tell the stories from your community.
Panelists:
• Christine Herbes-Sommers, senior series producer, PBS series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
• Llewellyn Smith, co-executive producer Unnatural Causes
• A.H. Strelnick, director, Institute for Community & Collaborative Health, Montefiore Medical Center
• Moderator: Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

FLATTENING FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDING: THE LOCAL ANGLE
In an era of tightening NIH budgets, researchers in your region are likely full of complaints about how hard it is to get funding. In this session, you’ll hear from an NIH institute official on innovative ways to make the agency’s budget go further. You’ll hear from the head of a major academic health center about how he’s managing a large research budget and looking for ways to help researchers be more successful at grant applications. And you’ll hear from a researcher who can describe what it’s like to struggle applying for grants, instead of working on studies. Go back to your newsroom with a new appreciation for where are all those tax dollars are going, and with funding policy story ideas with faces.
Panelists:
• Peter Cariani, Ph.D., consultant, former NIH-funded researcher
• Howard K. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health sciences, Georgetown University Medical Center
• Jane Scott, Sc.D., director, Office of Research Training and Career Development, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
• Moderator: Ivan Oransky, M.D., managing editor for online, Scientific American

VIOLENCE AND MENTAL ILLNESS: HOW STRONG IS THE LINK?
After the Virginia Tech shooting, journalists must keep a step ahead of the common wisdom when covering stories about mentally ill people and violence. Is violence inevitable or an aberration among the mentally disabled? Can we predict who will become violent? What can be done to treat or restrain mentally ill but potentially violent individuals? A psychiatrist, a medical sociologist, and an advocate for the mentally ill clarify the facts and explicate the controversies.
Panelists:
• Harvey Rosenthal, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
• Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University School of Medicine
• E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., founder and president, Treatment Advocacy Center
• Moderator: Aaron Levin, senior staff writer, American Psychiatric Association

HOW TO COVER LOCAL NURSING HOMES AND OTHER LONG-TERM CARE
Nursing homes are always fodder for good stories. It's an industry that always invites media scrutiny, and families with loved ones in poor-performing facilities look to the press to shed light on questionable care. This panel will explore tools you can use to cover your local nursing homes, how to use data bases and inspection reports, and how to find new sources who will give you the inside scoop. You will learn how to keep an eye on the regulators charged with protecting our oldest and frailest citizens.
Panelists:
• Charles Bell, programs director, Consumers Union
• Lisa Chedekel, reporter, The Hartford Courant
Charles Duhigg, reporter, The New York Times
Charlene Harrington, Ph.D., R.N., professor of sociology and nursing, University of California, San Francisco
• Moderator: Trudy Lieberman, director, Health and Medicine Reporting Program, City University of New York

UNDER PRESSURE: FDA OVERSIGHT, FUNDING, EFFECTIVENESS
Long considered the "gold standard" of food and drug regulation, FDA now is being blasted for exposing the public to unsafe food and drug products and for inadequate monitoring of clinical research, growing imports and drug advertising. This panel of current and former FDA officials and outside experts will discuss how FDA resources, policies and legal authority shape agency actions and responses.
Panelists:
• Gail H. Cassell, Ph.D., vice president, scientific affairs, Eli Lilly
• Michael Taylor, professor of health policy, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Service
• Susan Winckler, chief of staff, FDA
• Moderator: Jill Wechsler, Washington editor, Pharmaceutical Executive

12:30-2 p.m.

LUNCHEON
Sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund

ROUNDTABLE SESSION
ELECTION 2008: WHICH WAY HEALTH REFORM?

With health reform once again on the agenda before Congress and on the campaign trail with the presidential hopefuls, join us over lunch for this discussion. Leading health policy experts from the left, middle and right will debate the widely varying options facing lawmakers and voters. The moderated discussion will include time for questions from the audience.
Panelists:
• Karen Davis, president, The Commonwealth Fund
• David Himmelstein, M.D., associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School
• Tom Miller, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute
• Julie Barnes, deputy director, health policy program, The New America Foundation
• Moderator, Julie Appleby, reporter, USA Today

2:15-3:15 p.m.

Michael O. LeavittNEWSMAKER BRIEFING
Michael Leavitt, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

3:30-4:45 p.m.

HOW WILL RETIRING BOOMERS AFFECT THE NATIONAL HEALTH AGENDA?
The first of the nation's 78 million Baby Boomers – one-quarter of the population – are just three years from retirement age. Experts predict escalating age-related chronic disease and disability, and a health care system ill-prepared to handle them. The nation faces a shortage of geriatricians, a lack of preventive care, a need to better integrate acute and long-term care, and bewildering array of financing options. Panelists will discuss those problems and solutions developing at the federal and state level.
Panelists:
• Jennie Chin Hansen, R.N., M.S., F.A.A.N., president-elect, AARP
• Daniel Perry, executive director, Alliance for Aging Research
• Joshua M. Wiener, Ph.D., senior fellow and program director, Aging, Disability and Long-Term Care, RTI International
• Moderator: David Gulliver, reporter, (Sarasota, Fla.) Herald-Tribune

MANDATORY REPORTING OF HEALTH CARE INFECTIONS: WHY NOW OR WHY NOT?
Almost 20 states now compel hospitals to report health care-associated infections, and another half-dozen require reports of MRSA as well. Advocates say public reporting shames hospitals into enforcing infection control and warns the public when they don't; critics say well-funded health care organizations can easily game the system. Who's right? What's fair? Hear from panelists on all sides of the issue, from the CDC, the American Hospital Association, an advocacy nonprofit and the mother of a child who died of MRSA.
Panelists:
• Carmela Coyle, senior vice president, Policy American Hospital Association
• Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., CEO and chair, Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
• Carole Moss, founder and executive director, Nile's Project
• Chesley Richards, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director, Division of Health Care Quality Promotion, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Moderator: Maryn McKenna, independent journalist, Minneapolis

TEACHING THE PUBLIC WHAT TO EXPECT IN A GOOD DOCTOR
Some doctors are better than others. Some are downright dangerous. Yet patients don't get much help telling them apart, and dangerous doctors can fly under the radar for months or years. Journalists play a pivotal role in helping readers and viewers understand physician quality, and sound the alarm when bad doctors surface. What makes a doctor good or bad? How do you piece together a "bad" doctor's record from regulatory records and lawsuits?
Panelists:
• Sir Donald Irvine, C.B.E., M.D., F.R.C.G.P., FMedSci, former president, General Medical Council, United Kingdom
• Ridgely Ochs, staff writer, Newsday
• Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., F.C.C.M., professor, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Medicine and director of the Quality and Safety Research Group
• Moderator: Theo Francis, staff writer, The Wall Street Journal

FREELANCE PITCHFEST FOR WRITERS AND EDITORS
(continues until 6:15)
Attention freelance writers! Editors from some of the top magazines, newspapers, Web sites are coming to Washington D.C. to meet you! Bring your best ideas and your business cards to the first AHCJ Freelance PitchFest. This session has been created to give you an opportunity to sit down in and discuss your ideas one-on-one with editors from selected publications. Sign up for time with the editors and come prepared to sell your work.
Editors:
• Sara Austin, features director (health & news), Self
• David Corcoran, assistant science editor, The New York Times
• Tami Dennis, health section editor, Los Angeles Times
• Julian Kesner, senior editor, Prevention
• Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., senior food & nutrition editor, Health magazine
• Marilyn Milloy, features editor, AARP: The Magazine
• Glenn O'Neal, assignment editor (health, medicine), USA Today
• Ivan Oransky, M.D., managing editor for online, Scientific American
• Julia Sommerfeld, senior health editor, MSNBC
• Frances Stead Sellers, health editor, The Washington Post
• Sean Swint, executive editor, WebMD
• Coordinator: Sheree Crute, independent journalist, Brooklyn, N.Y.

BIG PHARMA AND MEDICINE: UNDERSTANDING THE RELATIONSHIP
This session will explore the current state of pharmaceutical marketing and how it is changing as profits slip and new drugs are slow to materialize. Learn about new guidance involving off-label prescribing, a big area for government law suits. Other subjects may include the reality and future of pharmaceutical dinners and honorariums, the changing roles of drug reps, the future of direct-to-consumer advertising and what reporters need to know about the funding of continuing medical education.
Panelists:
• Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., director, PharmedOut.org
• Daniel J. Carlat, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine
• John S. McInnes, M.D., J.D., associate, Arnold & Porter
• Moderator: Karl Stark, pharmaceutical reporter, The Philadelphia Inquirer

5-6:15 p.m.

OBESITY INTERVENTIONS: SCIENCE, POLICY, ENVIRONMENT
Learn more about the intersection of research, new policy strategies and how surrounding factors like race, ethnicity and the economy influence obesity. We’ll hear about a new study using simple chemical injections in laboratory animals to add and remove fat in targeted areas. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation policy maker will talk about the organization’s commitment to reversing childhood obesity and the Temple University medicine director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education will delve into how race and cultural markers tie into obesity. We’ll also discuss the interplay of the market place with the author of “The Fattening of America: How the Economy Makes Us Fat, If it Matters and What to Do About It. “
Panelists:
• Eric Finkelstein, Ph.D., M.H.A., director, Public Health Economics Program, RTI International
• Gary D. Foster, Ph.D., director, Center for Obesity Research & Education, Temple University
• James Marks, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
• Zofia Zukowska, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Physiology & Biophysics; director, Stress Physiology and Research Center; Georgetown University Medical Center
• Moderator: Kelley Weiss, health care reporter, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento

THE MEDICAL SYSTEM'S LOOMING MILITARY-RELATED DEMANDS
Advances in medical care and body armor are helping more troops survive combat than in previous wars, but thousands are coming home from the battlefield with serious injuries. Traumatic brain injury, called the signature wound of the Iraq war, and post-traumatic stress disorder are among the challenges facing many veterans. This panel will discuss the impact of brain injuries and research on possible treatments, as well as how the U.S. military and medical systems will handle the growing needs of wounded troops.
Panelists:
• Gerald Cross, M.D., principal deputy under secretary for health, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs
• Alan I. Faden, M.D., professor of neuroscience, neurology and pharmacology, Georgetown University Medical Center
• Kelly Kennedy, medical reporter, Military Times
• Jose Ramos, veteran, President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors
• Moderator: Lisa Richwine, reporter, Reuters

CURRENT CONTROVERSIES IN TRANSPLANTATION
Unlike any other aspect of medicine, organ transplantation involves genuine rationing, with not enough supply to meet demand. That fact prompts a variety of tough questions: Should young people be given an advantage over older patients in distribution of donated kidneys? What should hospitals be required to do to protect the interests of living donors? Should the U.S. allow Americans to sell their kidneys? This panel will examine these and other policy questions being debated today.
Panelists:
• Scott D. Halpern, M.D., Ph.D., instructor, pulmonary & critical care medicine senior fellow, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
• Lynt Johnson, M.D., chief, Division of Transplant Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital
• Robert Montgomery, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of surgery and chief, Division of Transplantation, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
• Mark Stegall, M.D., chairman of the UNOS kidney committee and surgeon, Mayo Clinic
• Moderator: Laura Meckler, reporter, The Wall Street Journal

BRINGING HOME THE GLOBE: PITCHING AND COVERING INTERNATIONAL HEALTH STORIES
There is a big world of stories out there, but you have two problems: 1) convincing your editor the readers/audience will care and 2) getting the facts and sources at home and abroad. This session will help you discover and then report stories that connect with your community and the world beyond.
Panelists:
• Christie Aschwanden, independent journalist, Colorado
• Rachel Jones, project director, Internews Gulu
• David Kohn, health and science reporter, The (Baltimore) Sun
Ann Peters, development director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
John Schidlovsky, director, International Reporting Project
• Moderator: Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.


Saturday, March 29

7:30 a.m.

Continental breakfast available in exhibit hall
Hall offers a cybercafé, hosts dozens of exhibitors sharing useful resources for journalists, handouts from panel sessions, valuable reprints and food.

8-9 a.m.

NEWSMAKER BRIEFING: PUBLIC HEALTH BLUEPRINT FOR TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE
Georges BenjaminOver the past year, the American public's concern about climate change has reached an unparalleled level. The scientific community has made it clear that climate change is one of the most serious public health threats facing our nation. The American Public Health Association has been working with its partners to devise a public health blueprint for tackling climate change. This one-of-a-kind consensus document, compiled by a group of leading climate change and public health professionals, outlines strategies to mitigate and prepare for the effects of climate change. APHA will unveil the document at this news briefing in advance of National Public Health Week (April 7-13), when events are planned across the nation to help Americans better understand the link between climate change and public health.
• Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director, American Public Health Association
• Edward Maibach, Ph.D., Center of Excellence in Climate Change Communication Research at George Mason University
• David Satcher, M.D., director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute; director, Center of Excellence on Health Disparities; Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Chair in Mental Health, Morehouse School of Medicine

9:15-10:30 a.m.

THE INTERSECTION OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH
Climate change, or climate disruption, is already having severe negative impacts on health worldwide. In general, warming favors the spread of disease. For example, it is causing vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, to spread into high-elevation cities like Nairobi, Kenya, where it was seldom seen before. The incidence of asthma in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1980. Climate change may be part of the explanation because high concentrations of carbon dioxide stimulate the growth of ragweed. Speakers at the session will discuss both the health impacts of climate change and what can be done to adapt to and mitigate the impacts.
Panelists:
• Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director, American Public Health Association
• Kristie Ebi, M.P.H., Ph.D., consultant
• Howard Frumkin, M.D., Dr.P.H., director, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Moderator: Bette Hileman, independent journalist, Jeffersonton, Va.

LIFE AFTER CANCER: SURVIVORSHIP PLANNING
For many cancer survivors, beating the disease is only the first of many challenges. There's the threat of recurrence, and psychological fallout that can take a toll on relationships. Young survivors face educational burdens and decisions that could affect their fertility. Older survivors struggle to hold onto jobs that provide health insurance, or pay the immense costs for treatment, while often dealing with co-morbid conditions. With two-thirds of survivors expected to live at least five years after diagnosis, these issues are very real and relevant to your readers.
Panelists:
• Diane Balma, vice president of public policy, Susan G. Komen for the Cure
• Priscilla A. Furth, M.D., professor. Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
• Kenneth Miller, M.D., Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center
• Aziza Shad, M.D., chief, pediatric hematology, Georgetown University Hospital
• Moderator: Meredith Matthews, senior editor, Current Health 2

MEDICAL TOURISM: TREND OR ABERRATION
Driven by soaring U.S. medical costs, more Americans are going abroad for medical treatment – sometimes with the encouragement of their health insurers and employers. But while much of the medical care overseas is of high quality and far less costly, there are many things would-be “medical tourists” should do before they decide to go for such care. There also are important emerging standards for transport and interoperability of personal health data for medical tourism that could make this more feasible. Three experts in the field look at the pros and cons of medical tourism, and a journalist who has written about this extensively will suggest ways to cover medical tourism in ways that serve readers.
Panelists:
• David Boucher, assistant vice president for health care services, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
• Wouter Hoeberechts, chief executive officer, WorldMed Assist
• Julius A. Karash, health care and business reporter, The Kansas City Star
David Kibbe, M.D., senior adviser, American Academy of Family Physicians
• Moderator: Jim Gutman, vice president and executive editor, Atlantic Information Services Inc.

TAPPING THE BEST OF WASHINGTON FROM OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY
Trying to figure out how other reporters seem to know about important health policy news coming out of Washington before it's announced? Frustrated about not getting callbacks from federal agencies in Washington? Hear from people close to the stories. Panelists will tell you how to learn what's coming up, how to get background quickly, how to know who to call or e-mail, and how to get phone calls (or e-mails) returned. Reporters should come out of this practical session knowing how to get their Washington questions answered and how to anticipate major announcements.
Panelists:
• Mason Essif, senior vice president, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
• Jill Gerber, press secretary, Committee on Finance, Ranking Member Sen. Grassley
• Ed Howard, executive vice president, Alliance for Health Reform
• Karen Migdail, chief press officer, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
• Mark Taylor, independent journalist, Chicago
• Julie Zawisza, assistant commissioner for public affairs, Department of Health and Human Services
• Moderator: Joanne Silberner, health policy correspondent, National Public Radio

10:45 a.m. - noon

EFFORTS TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE THROUGH NURSING INNOVATIONS
Nurses are creating research-based solutions that bring new thinking and methods to a range of health care challenges. Presenters will report on the clinical and financial outcomes of specific innovations, including reducing mental health and psychosocial problems among young people, magnet hospitals and nursing care excellence, transitional and community-based elder care, and personal health management. The panel also will discuss the barriers to getting successful models of care integrated into the health care system.
Panelists:
• Connie Burgess, M.S., R.N., managing partner, Health InterConnexions
• Joyce Johnson, Ph.D., R.N., C.N.A.A., F.A.A.N., vice president of operations, Georgetown University Hospital
• Bernadette Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.A.P., F.A.A.N., dean and distinguished foundation professor in nursing, Arizona State University
• Eileen Sullivan-Marx, Ph.D., C.R.N.P., F.A.A.N., associate dean for practice and community affairs, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
• Moderator: Diana Mason, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., editor-in-chief, American Journal of Nursing

FUTURE OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFITS
Health insurance arranged for and subsidized by employers is a major component of the American health care system. More than 54 million American workers receive employer-provided health insurance for themselves and their families. With medical costs and insurance premiums rising, and with health care "reform" in the political winds, how are employee health benefits likely to change over the next few years -- and what might that mean for access to adequate medical care?
Panelists:
• Linda Dillman, executive vice president, benefits and risk management, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
• Mary Kay Henry, international executive vice president, Service Employees International Union
• Mary Nell Lehnhard, senior vice president, office of policy and representation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
• Andrea O'Brien, Esq., partner, Venable LLP
• Andrew Webber, chief executive officer, National Business Coalition on Health
• Moderator: Tim Race, health care business editor, The New York Times

FREELANCE: FINDING SUCCESS THROUGH THE TRADES
Regular gigs from medical and scientific trade magazines can bring a steady flow of income and provide you with lots of ideas for the glossies or even books. Dozens of reputable medical and science trade publications cover the business, science, and technology of health care, crave good writers and top-notch reporting ... and will pay for it. How can you get started writing for trades? How can you find the best trades to fit your skills? What are the benefits? What are the downsides? Our panel of medical trade writers and editors will explore this and more.
Panelists:
• David Bronstein, editorial director, Hospital Group, McMahon Publishing
Mary Jo Dales, editorial director, International Medical News Group
• Lisa Gill, independent journalist, New York City
• Pat McNees, independent journalist, Bethesda, Md.
• Moderator: Jeanne Erdmann, independent journalist, Wentzville, Mo.

TRACKING HEALTH LOBBYING AND ELECTION DOLLARS
Panelists:
• Dan Boston, executive vice president, Health Policy Source Inc.
• M. Asif Ismail, project director, Center for Public Integrity
• Paul Singer, senior staff writer, Roll Call
• Moderator: Jonathan Cohn, senior editor, New Republic

12:15-2:15 p.m.

AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN HEALTH CARE JOURNALISM LUNCHEON
Elizabeth Edwards, keynote speakerWinners of the 2007 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism will be singled out and recognized. These winners were picked from nearly 400 entries in the fourth-annual AHCJ-sponsored contest.

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, will be the keynote speaker at the awards luncheon. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Edwards traveled the country on behalf of her candidate husband, former Sen. John Edwards. She spoke about the need for universal health care and health care reform. Although John Edwards is no longer in the race, he and his wife still feel passionately about the cause and intend to continue speaking up, sometimes criticizing media coverage of the topic. During her keynote address, Elizabeth Edwards will talk about the people she met who lack insurance coverage and don't have a support system to help them deal with their medical issues. She will also discuss her own battle against cancer and her insights into being a patient.

2:30-3:45 p.m.

LIES, DAMNED LIES AND MEDICAL STATISTICS: HOW TO INTERPRET THE EVIDENCE
Get nuts-and-bolts tools for interpreting clinical trials and ideas for stories that take a critical look at medical research. The panel will offer examples of widely accepted medical practices and treatments that need a second look, including problems with screening for cancer, focusing on the controversy surrounding CT for lung cancer and PSA testing. Panelists will deconstruct several published trials. Topics will include the use of surrogate endpoints; how trial design can be manipulated to achieve the desired outcome; the meaning of such terms as underpowered, number needed to treat, sensitivity, specificity, all-cause mortality and relative risk reduction versus absolute risk reduction.
Panelists:
• Barnett Kramer, M.D., director, Office of Disease Prevention, National Institutes of Health
• Jeanne Lenzer, independent journalist, Kingston, N.Y.
• Moderator: Shannon Brownlee, Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation

U.S. ROLES IN GLOBAL HEALTH: WHICH DIRECTION?
In today’s interconnected world, health is an increasingly global issue. The American role in confronting health issues in the world's poorest countries is evolving, with direct involvement from the U.S. government and increasingly-active foundations. This session will delve into trends in addressing international health problems, both successes and failures, and look ahead to future challenges.
Panelists:
• Scott F. Dowell, M.D., M.P.H., chief, Global Disease Detection and Emergency Response Branch, Coordinating Office for Global Health, CDC
• Daniel Epstein, information specialist, World Health Organization Regional Office for the Americas
• Rachel Wilson, M.P.H., director of policy and advocacy, PATH
• Moderator: Jim Simon, assistant managing editor, The Seattle Times

MAKING BROADCAST STORIES SIZZLE
Want your stories to be dynamic, not dull? Deborah Potter will share strategies that bring radio and television stories to life. This session includes examples of effective storytelling and simple tricks for adding power and punch to your writing.
Instructor: Deborah Potter, executive director, NewsLab

INTERPRETING HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOR REPORTERS
Should patients be storing their medical records on Web sites owned by Microsoft or Google? Why are doctors and hospitals so slow to adopt electronic medical records and ordering systems? What's to be gained by reducing need for paper and pen? What's the federal government doing to drive the use of technology? This panel of top government and industry officials will give you the answers.
Panelists:
• Robert M. Kolodner, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
• Karen Linscott, COO, Leapfrog Group
• Rod Piechowski, senior associate director of policy, American Hospital Association
• P. Jon White, M.D., health IT director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
• Moderator: Phil Galewitz, health writer, The Palm Beach Post

4-5:15 p.m.

THE ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS
Hear from AHCJ’s contest winners. This year’s winners in the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism contest will discuss their work and offer tips on producing winning work of your own.
• Moderator: Charles Ornstein, investigative reporter, Los Angeles Times

KEEPING PUBLIC HEALTH COVERAGE FRESH
How prepared is your community for pandemic flu? What's being done to prevent obesity and at what cost? Gather story ideas and trends to watch from two reporters and a leader in public health advocacy.
Panelists:
• Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., executive director, Trust for America's Health
• Lauran Neergaard, medical writer, The Associated Press
• David Wahlberg, health/medicine reporter, Wisconsin State Journal
Moderator: Carla Johnson, staff writer, The Associated Press

HOW VALID ARE RATINGS OF DOCTORS, HOSPITALS AND HEALTH PLANS?
In the past decade, hundreds of rating schemes for health care services have been created. The idea behind most of them is to give consumers tools to become better shoppers in our market-based health care system. But have they done the job? Is health care like other consumer products? Have ratings and consumer information changed the marketplace for the better and driven out poor-performing providers or health plans? This panel will answer those questions and tell what to expect and what stories to look for as ratings evolve.
Panelists:
• Robert Berenson, senior fellow, Urban Institute
• Richard Goldberg, M.D., vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer, Georgetown University Hospital
• Margaret (Peggy) O’Kane, president, National Committee for Quality Assurance
• Joe Martin, director, Communications and Education Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council
• Moderator: Trudy Lieberman, director, Health and Medicine Reporting Program, City University of New York

GETTING QUOTES DESPITE GOVERNMENT REFUSALS TO COMMENT
Do government agencies dealing with issues affecting public health have an obligation to respond to media inquiries? Journalists representing newspapers, wire services, network television and trade journals will share their experiences trying to get comments from reluctant government officials on the federal, state and local levels, and what they did to get the quote in spite of stonewalling. Following brief presentations, the session will welcome audience participation.
Panelists:
• Seth Borenstein, science writer, The Associated Press
• Carol Ann Campbell, medical reporter, The Star-Ledger
• Kathryn Foxhall, independent journalist, Hyattsville, Md.
• Moderator: Eric T. Rosenthal, special correspondent, Oncology Times

5:30-6:30 p.m.

MEMBERSHIP MEETING

7 p.m.

Open reception for AHCJ members
Hosted by The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships


Sunday, March 30

8 a.m.

Continental breakfast available in exhibit hall
Hall offers a cybercafé, hosts dozens of exhibitors sharing useful resources for journalists, handouts from panel sessions, valuable reprints and food.

9-10:15 a.m.

PROS AND CONS OF GENETIC RISK PROFILING
What would you do if you knew that you carried a gene that put you at risk of a deadly disease? Meet a 23-year-old woman who has tested positive for a gene linked to breast cancer, and her mother, a breast cancer survivor. Patients have access to more information than ever about their genes, but that knowledge brings an array of choices and consequences. This panel will explore the ethical, medical and scientific dimensions of genetic testing.
Panelists:
• Jennifer Davis, daughter of breast cancer patient
• Susan Davis, breast cancer patient
• William G. Feero, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Genomic Healthcare Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute
• Kevin T. FitzGerald, S.J., Ph.D., Dr. David Lauler Chair in Catholic Health Care Ethics, Georgetown University Medical Center
• Kelly Vogel, vice president for federal affairs, America's Health Insurance Plans
Moderator: Rebecca Adams, senior writer, Congressional Quarterly

MULTIMEDIA TOOLS FOR TELLING STORIES
Blogs, podcasts, video, audio, convergence, multimedia … We’re all hearing those buzzwords in all kinds of newsrooms these days. Find out how the move towards multimedia affects you and, more importantly, how you can take advantage of it. We’ll talk about blogging, how to write for the Web, shooting video and the general “new” media landscape. You’ll take home practical tips that you can start applying to your work right away.
Panelists:
• Amy Eisman, director of writing programs, American University School of Communications
• Scott Hensley, editor and contributor, The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog
• Joy Robertson, anchor and reporter, KOLR-Springfield, Mo.
• Moderator: Pia Christensen, managing editor/online services, Association of Health Care Journalists

CLASS: A ROAD MAP FOR COVERING YOUR LOCAL HOSPITAL'S QUALITY
In the past two years, a tidal wave of information has been made available to help the public and journalists assess the quality of their local hospitals. How reliable is it? And how can you use it to write meaningful stories? This session will show you helpful sites, pitfalls to avoid and help you identify other useful resources to provide needed context. With the imminent release of new patient satisfaction data from the federal government, this is a session you won't want to miss.
• Instructor: Charles Ornstein, investigative reporter, Los Angeles Times

10:30-11:45 a.m.

REGULATIONS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD: SCIENCE AND POLITICS
The trans fat ban in New York City, junk food bans in schools, smoking bans in all bars, restaurant menu labeling. What is the science and the spin behind these new public health regulations? What is in the likely next wave of public health laws?
Panelists:
• Michael Jacobson, executive director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
• Peter G. Shields, M.D., professor of medicine and oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center
• Mitchell Zeller, vice president for policy and strategic communications, Pinney Associates
• Moderator: Mary Chris Jaklevic, independent journalist, Chicago

RIPPING THE COVER OFF HOSPITAL FINANCES
This session will focus on the key financial indicators that professionals use to evaluate the financial health of your local hospital. It will suggest important documents to get and key questions to ask. This session will also offer a practical summary of fiscal trends changing the industry, such as how community hospitals are hiring more doctors on their staffs. One area of interest will be the revamped IRS Form 990, which now requires more detail on nonprofit hospitals' community benefit.
• Instructors:
Gita B. Budd, principal, ECG Management Consultants
Karl Stark, pharmaceutical reporter, The Philadelphia Inquirer

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN AUTISM RESEARCH
This panel will provide medical reporters insight into new research – and where it can lead – for detecting and dealing with autism. With the number of U.S. children diagnosed with autism soaring, and questions continuing to mount, this discussion will help journalists navigate the maze of information about what's being called an "epidemic." From genetics to behavioral neuroscience to intervention, this panel of experts will lay out the latest.
Panelists:
• Dan E. Arking, Ph.D., assistant professor, McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
• Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director, National Institute of Mental Health
• Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, director, Center for Autism & Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute
• Moderator: Carla K. Johnson, staff writer, The Associated Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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