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About AHCJ: General News

Veteran journalist to lead patient safety topic area Date: 10/17/19

Cheryl Clark, a journalist based in San Diego, will lead AHCJ’s newest core topic on patient safety.

She will be guiding AHCJ members to the resources they need to cover the many aspects of patient safety through blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other material. The core topic area of healthjournalism.org will feature a glossary, a more lengthy explanation of key concepts, shared wisdom from other reporters, story ideas and more.

She will write tip sheets and background briefs, ask other journalists to share their experiences, host webcasts and curate lists of resources for journalists. Her blog posts for Covering Health will recognize important reporting on patient safety topics and offer journalists information about its growth and implementation, including what to look for and what to steer clear of in their reporting.

Clark (@CherClarHealth) is a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

“Cheryl has done award-winning work on a wide range of health and health care topics over the years,” said Len Bruzzese, executive director of AHCJ. “That includes more than 1,300 stories about hospitals' efforts to improve quality and safety and related issues while with HealthLeaders Media. We believe she has some amazing insights to share with her fellow reporters and an ability to spot issues that more of them should be exploring.”

The creation of the patient safety core topic is being made possible by support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, based in Palo Alto, Calif., which has a profound interest in this area. The funders agreed reporters could use more help in reporting on patient safety, including wrong-site surgery, foreign bodies retained after surgery, diagnostic errors and more. Although the organization is providing funding, it has not sought to influence any of the materials on the pages, Bruzzese said.

While there are hundreds of health and health care-related topics covered in news and feature stories every day, the Association of Health Care Journalists believes there is a core set of topics that today’s health journalists will need to master to cover the beat well.

Healthjournalism.org is home to thousands of pages of information, data and brilliant story examples. In an effort to curate this information into a curriculum of sorts for fellow journalists, the association launched a Core Topic effort using “core topic leaders” – lead editors – from the membership to shape this material into practical guidance in covering stories on those topics.

Each specialty topic page includes glossaries, key concepts, reporting tip sheets, weekly blog items, first-person stories by fellow journalists, videos, data and more. The topic home pages serve as a launch pad to more resources, on healthjournalism.org and elsewhere.

If you have suggestions for Clark, questions you’d like to see answered or examples of medical studies you’d like guidance on, please send them to cheryl@healthjournalism.org.