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About AHCJ: General News

New fellowship program compares international health systems Date: 10/03/18

The Association of Health Care Journalists has announced a new pilot fellowship program to help veteran U.S.-based journalists compare elements of the U.S. health system with those of other countries. The AHCJ International Health Study Fellowships, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, provides for training as well as international field reporting assistance.

The program for mid-career journalists is intended to give print, broadcast and online reporters an opportunity to study how one element of the U.S. health care system is handled in another country and to report on the differences. Fellows will be able to interview patients, health care providers and policymakers both in the United States and abroad.

The Commonwealth Fund grant will cover the costs of fellows attending a pre-reporting seminar in New York, a two-week reporting trip to a foreign country and a post-reporting seminar in London. Fellows also will receive mentor support and individual consultation on their projects.

"In debates over health care, Americans often hear – depending on the speaker – criticism or praise of systems in other countries," said AHCJ president Ivan Oransky, Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University's Arthur Carter Journalism Institute. "Often, spin can distort the facts. Thanks to a generous grant, AHCJ will give journalists the opportunity to examine health care in other countries for themselves. We're thrilled to be able to offer this to our members."

Applications for the 2018-19 fellowships are now being accepted until Nov. 12, said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese. Fellows will be selected competitively by an independent panel of journalists appointed by AHCJ.

"We hope these fellows will take advantage of the opportunity to compare a slice of the U.S. health system with how another country tackles that issue,” Bruzzese said, noting that trying to look at the entire health care system at once can be overwhelming.

The first seminar will take place in January in New York, with the overseas reporting trip and second seminar taking place in March. Each reporter will continue in his or her current job and will be expected to complete a significant story or project before July 1. The field reporting assistance will allow them to complete site visits for examining clinical work in person, interviewing relevant stakeholders and collecting data relevant to the health systems.

Interested reporters should have a minimum of 10 years of experience as a professional journalist, preferably with strong experience covering health care policy and delivery at the national or regional level.

“The U.S. can learn a lot by looking at how other countries have tackled the same challenges we confront in our health care system,” said Barry Scholl, the Fund's senior vice president for communications and publishing. “But too often, journalists lack the time and resources to dig deep into international models, and that puts Americans at a disadvantage. The Commonwealth Fund is proud to partner again with AHCJ to support a fellowship program that will give reporters and consumers new perspective to inform ongoing discussions about health reform.”

AHCJ and Commonwealth will republish or post online links to the fellows' projects at the end of the fellowship.

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 Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable. The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. The Fund is based in New York City and has supported this fellowship program since it began.

More detailed information and an application: