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About AHCJ: General News

Comparative Effectiveness Research Fellows named for 2018 Date: 09/11/18

COLUMBIA, MO. – Eleven journalists have been chosen for the fourth class of the AHCJ Fellowship on Comparative Effectiveness Research. The fellowship program was created with support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to help reporters and editors produce more accurate in-depth stories on medical research and how medical decisions are made.

The fellows will gather in Washington, D.C., the week of Oct. 7 for a series of presentations, roundtables, how-to database sessions and interactions with researchers.

The 2018 fellowship class includes:

  • Lola Butcher, independent journalist, Springfield, Mo. (@LolaButcher)

  • Maria Castellucci, reporter, Modern Healthcare (@CastellucciME)

  • Ginger Christ, health reporter, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland (@GChristCLE)

  • Carolyn Crist, independent journalist, Athens, Ga. (@cristcarolyn)

  • Mari Edlin, editor, Healthcare Innovation News and Population Health News

  • Amy Kraft, editor, Everyday Health (@akraft22)

  • Michele Cohen Marill, independent journalist, Atlanta

  • Julio Ochoa, editor, Health News Florida, WUSF Public Media (@julioochoa)

  • Aneri Pattani, health reporter, Philadelphia Media Network (@aneripattani)

  • Sana Siwolop, health journalist/educator, St. John’s University, Queens, N.Y. (@SanaSiwolop)

  • Emily Willingham, independent journalist, San Rafael, Calif. (@ejwillingham)

The training topics will include:

  • How to evaluate treatments and approaches and how medical decisions are made

  • Determine what constitutes reliable research methodology

  • Learn how research findings are applied in shared-decision making

  • See how comparing treatments could reshape the health system

  • Identify the evidence gaps in treating common conditions

  • Understand how patient health care data is used in research

  • Understand coming changes in clinical trials.

  • Make scientific concepts come alive for your audience.

Fellows will head home with an arsenal of resources they can use on deadline, and much more.

 “It’s a pleasure to be collaborating with PCORI again,” said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese. “This program allows experienced journalists an opportunity to get advanced training on understanding medical studies, evaluating evidence and looking for ways to tap into patient involvement.”

Joe Selby, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of PCORI, said his organization is eager to support connections between researchers and the journalists who need to make sense of medical studies and evidence for an interested public.

“As a research funder that emphasize involving patients and others in all the work we do, we believe it’s critically important to continue improving public understanding of how comparative effectiveness research is done and how the evidence it produces can be useful,” Selby said. “Journalists play a vital role in making this happen. So we’re very pleased to continue to work with AHCJ in welcoming another new class of fellows.”

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With about 1,500 members across the United States and around the globe, its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism provide training, resources and a professional home for journalists. Offices are based at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, an independent nonprofit, nongovernmental organization located in Washington, D.C., was authorized by Congress in 2010 to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, clinicians, employers, insurers and policymakers make informed health decisions. Specifically, it funds comparative clinical effectiveness research, or CER, as well as supports work that will improve the methods used to conduct such studies.