About AHCJ: General News

Comparative Effectiveness Research fellows named for 2021 Date: 07/12/21

COLUMBIA, MO. – Eleven journalists have been selected for the 2021 class of the AHCJ Fellowship on Comparative Effectiveness Research. The fellowship program was created with support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to help reporters and editors produce more accurate, in-depth stories on medical research, particularly research that compares the benefits and potential harms of health care options, as well as how treatment decisions are made. 

The fellows will gather virtually the week of August 2 for three days of presentations, how-to database sessions and discussions with researchers. 

The 2021 fellowship class is: 

Bridget Balch – staff writer, Association of American Medical Colleges, Richmond, Va. (@bridgetbalch) 

Marcus Banks – independent journalist, New York, N.Y. (@marcusabanks) 

Sharon Donovan – contributor, Clinical Oncology News, New Orleans, La. 

Dylan Klempner – independent journalist, Gainesville, Fla. (@dylanklempner) 

Ellen Kurek – reporter, BrightFocus Foundation, Bellevue, Wash. (@ellenkurek1) 

Esther Landhuis – independent journalist, Pleasanton, Ca. (@elandhuis) 

Nora Macaluso – independent journalist, Philadelphia, Pa. (@noramacaluso) 

Jyoti Madhusoodanan – independent science journalist, Portland, Ore. (@smjyoti) 

Kate O’Rourke – contributor, Medscape, Portland, Maine 

Manasi Vaidya – associate editor, GlobalData, Brooklyn, N.Y. (@manasivaidya22) 

Emma Yasinski – senior health writer, MedShadow.org, West Palm Beach, Fla. (@emmayas24)

The training topics will include: 

  • How to critique research studies that compare various treatments and approaches 
  • Clinical trial challenges 
  • Resources for finding the best evidence 
  • Open science and data transparency 
  • The future of clinical trials. 

“We are excited to be able to present this in-depth learning opportunity once again in collaboration with PCORI, which is a leader in the effort to strengthen health care decision making,” said Andrew Smiley, executive director of the Association of Health Care Journalists. “The pandemic has amplified the need for journalists to properly critique research studies, understand clinical trials and translate that information to the public. There could not be a better time to offer this training alongside PCORI.”

PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D., M.P.H., added that her organization is eager to support connections between research funders and journalists who help to interpret the importance of health research for an interested public. 

“We are very pleased to welcome the 2021 class of fellows,” Cook said. “We value the critical role journalists play in advancing the public’s understanding of the results of the comparative clinical effectiveness research that we support and other work that PCORI does. 

“Part of PCORI’s mission is to encourage greater public engagement in health research,” she noted. “Our support of AHCJ and this fellowship program is a logical extension of that commitment and our appreciation of journalists’ unique role in raising the level of public discourse about research and evidence in clear, compelling and relevant ways.” 

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. Its office is 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 policy makers 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.