About AHCJ: General News

AHCJ names 2017-18 Regional Health Journalism Fellows Date: 06/26/17

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Association of Health Care Journalists has named the 2017-18 class of the Regional Health Journalism Fellowship, an annual fellowship program for reporters and editors across the United States.

The program, which changes regions each year, will focus this year on journalists from the Mid-Atlantic region, namely Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Kentucky and West Virginia. The program begins in the next month. Past classes of fellows have come from the northern Midwest and Plains, the Southeast, the West Coast, the South Central United States and the Great Lakes.

The new fellowship class includes:

  • Erin Beck, Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail

  • Dominique Bonessi, WYPR-Baltimore

  • Jason deBruyn, WUNC-Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Lisa Gillespie, WFPL-Louisville, Ky.

  • Taylor Knopf, North Carolina Health News

  • Kara Lofton, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  • Katie O’Connor, Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • Melissa Patrick, Kentucky Health News

  • Elizabeth Simpson, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.

  • Heather Wolford, Cumberland (Md.) Times-News

  • Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.

Follow the fellows with this Twitter list.

The aim of the program, supported this year by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is to provide established journalists with the tools needed to improve the depth and amount of coverage focused on localizing critical health issues. Designed by journalists for journalists, the training is spread over a year's time.

The training includes:

  • An initiation and in-depth seminar in Baltimore on social determinants and disparities

  • An intense health reporting boot camp at the Missouri School of Journalism featuring some of the top health journalists in the country

  • Customized briefings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta

  • An exclusive online news webinar

  • Attendance at Health Journalism 2018, the annual conference of AHCJ featuring dozens of panels, field trips and news briefings with key health experts and policy makers

  • Attendance at the 2018 Rural Health Journalism Workshop

  • A professional membership in the Association of Health Care Journalists, with access to all print and Web-based member resources

  • Access to an experienced personal mentor from AHCJ's 1,500-plus membership

  • A fellows-only electronic discussion list

  • Continuing resources and support after the fellowship

AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese has called the fellowship one of the most important programs AHCJ offers. “It’s wonderful to see so many reporters and editors – with such a wide range of experience – show their passion for continuing to build their health coverage expertise,” Bruzzese said. “This is certainly a topic area in which you can never be satisfied with what you already know.”

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. In less than 20 years, it has grown into the premier organization for training health journalists, boasting about 1,500 members across the United States and in several other nations. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. AHCJ, which is based at the Missouri School of Journalism, conducts training through its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.