About AHCJ: General News

AHCJ announces 11th class of Health Performance Reporting Fellows Date: 03/08/21

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Association of Health Care Journalists has awarded AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance to five journalists who intend to pursue significant projects in 2021. The program, in its 11th year, is meant to help journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.

The fellowship program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, is intended to give experienced print, broadcast and online reporters an opportunity to concentrate on the performance of health care systems – or significant parts of those systems – locally, regionally or nationally. The fellows are able to examine policies, practices and outcomes, as well as the roles of various stakeholders.

The fellows will continue jobs during the coming year, but also receive customized training, mentoring and financial support for field reporting and conference and workshop attendance. With the support of the program, and their own news outlets, they are expected to complete significant and unique reporting projects by the end of 2021. The underlying theme of this year's projects will focus on health equity.

The 2021 fellows will be:

  • Matthew Ong (@mattobh), associate editor, medical investigative reporter, The Cancer Letter

    Ong’s project will examine inequities in cancer care and how racial and ethnic minorities experience cancer disparities that have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Erin Durkin (@ErinDurkin2), health care correspondent, The National Journal

    Durkin’s project will focus on how tribal governments and health organizations are grappling with the mental health toll the pandemic has placed on American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

  • Farah Yousry (@Farah_Yousrym), health equity reporter, WFYI Side Effects Public Media

    Yousry will focus on the life expectancy gap between neighboring Indianapolis zip codes, where health care challenges faced by local residents in Black communities put them at life expectancy disadvantages.

  • Kristen Schorsch (@kschorsch), reporter, WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio

    Schorsch will examine the hospital system on the South Side of Chicago, where Mercy Hospital and its associated half-dozen clinics are set to close in the next year.

  • Melba Newsome, independent journalist, writing for The Charlotte Observer

    Newsome’s project will be a series of reports focused on the underlying racial and ethnic disparities around the opioid crisis in North Carolina, and how the face of the epidemic has shifted from white to Black and brown communities.

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.