About AHCJ: General News

Georgia event brings health, medical stories to reporters Date: 04/15/07

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For more information about the program and presentations, visit www.grady.uga.edu/KnightHealth/GNAT.

New strategies for covering local hospitals' quality of care and financial soundness were among the topics spotlighted during the "2007 Gnat Line News Briefing: Real Health and Medical News for Working Reporters."

The second annual Gnat Line News Briefing was a joint effort of Knight Health programs at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Association of Health Care Journalists and Morehouse School of Medicine. It was coordinated by Patricia Thomas, Grady's Knight Chair in Health & Medical Journalism.

For the second consecutive year, the Gnat Line event was held at Lake Blackshear Resort near Cordele, Ga. AHCJ board members Charles Ornstein and Karl Stark showed participants how to mine story ideas from tax documents and online databases during the April 12-13 event.

Participants included print and broadcast reporters from six states, journalism graduate students from the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama, and faculty and administrators from Grady, Morehouse and AHCJ.

Stephen Warren, chair of the genetics department at Emory University, delivered the keynote address. He told about finding the gene for Fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of mental retardation in boys, 16 years ago. Today, his team is working on a drug that might protect the cognitive abilities of affected boys.

Other sessions at the briefing looked at the therapeutic window for stroke treatment, interventions to prevent HIV and AIDS in the prison population, and how circadian rhythms are affected by shift work and jet lag.

Three Morehouse School of Medicine faculty members presented new findings about health problems that disproportionately affect poor, rural or black populations.