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Katherine ReedKatherine Reed, Interim Executive Director, Director of Education and Content

Reed was a professor of practice in the Missouri School of Journalism for 17 years and an editor at the Columbia Missourian — the newsroom lab for students learning print and digital journalism — where she taught health and public safety reporting. She also designed and taught a course on covering trauma and a course for STEM field and journalism students on improving science communication. Reed came to the school of journalism from Prague in the Czech Republic where she was the editor of Prague Business Journal and an instructor at the Center for Independent Journalism. She was a reporter and copy editor for several years and taught journalism before moving to the Czech Republic. She was a fellow of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and is a longtime member of AHCJ. Reed has published on the teaching hospital model of journalism education, trauma reporting training and more responsible, ethical coverage of mass shootings. (@reedkath) | Phone: 573-884-5477

Andrea WanerAndrea Waner, Interim Deputy Executive Director, Director of Engagement

Waner is the new director of engagement of AHCJ and will work to implement marketing strategies geared towards membership outreach, growth, and retention efforts consistent with the association’s strategic objectives. Waner previously served as director of advancement and operations for Central Methodist University and has held communications positions with the nonprofit Institute of People, Place and Possibility; Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems; and Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. She has a master's degree in public affairs with an emphasis in nonprofit leadership and public policy, as well as a bachelor's degree in English, both from the University of Missouri. (@andreawaner) | 573-884-8103

Erica Tricarico, Managing Editor

Tricarico produces and edits content to support AHCJ’s many member services, including events, core topic materials and other web-based resources as well as news releases, conference programs and newsletters. She is a graduate of Howard University and the master’s program in journalism at CUNY. Tricarico comes to AHCJ from MJH Life Sciences in Cranbury, N.J., where she managed an editorial team producing content on animal care. Before that, she was a freelance health care reporter for Everyday Health.

Tina England, Membership Coordinator

England provides the first line of service for members and potential members. She also coordinates marketing efforts to inform both AHCJ members and other journalists who would benefit from AHCJ events, resources and support. She previously served in administrative, graphic design and conference planning roles in the University of Missouri’s College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Department of Student Life. She also teaches fitness and Pilates classes. She is interested in helping members navigate all the association has to offer. | Phone: 573-882-2955

Susan CunninghamSusan Cunningham, Events Coordinator

Cunningham heads up logistics on conferences, workshops and fellowship programs. She collaborates with hotels and other training sites to make sure events are well-planned and executed, and assists speakers, attendees and exhibitors with their training event plans. She also serves as point person for AHCJ's many fellowship programs. She most recently served as a catering sales manager with Marriott and is a former regional director with the Missouri Restaurant Association. | 573-882-2203

Melissa Acton, Fiscal Officer

Acton is responsible for daily accounting, overall budget monitoring and grants reporting for the association and the center. She previously served as chief financial officer for Welcome Home Inc., a local nonprofit that provided housing and other support services to homeless veterans. She has a master’s degree in public affairs with an emphasis in nonprofit management and a bachelor’s degree in human environmental studies. | Phone: 573-882-2868

Chris ColwellChris Colwell, Web Developer

Colwell is responsible for programming and content creation that will improve site navigation and the overall experience at Before joining AHCJ in 2012, Colwell helped create commercial, educational and journalism-oriented sites and performed programming/development for sites owned by Quaker Oats, Celebrity Cruises and Pepsico brands. He attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

Len BruzzeseLen Bruzzese, Senior Adviser

Bruzzese is the senior adviser for AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He assumed the consulting role after 15 years as executive director of the organization. Bruzzese, a founding staff member of USA Today, spent 20 years in daily journalism before entering the nonprofit and academic worlds. He served as a Missouri School of Journalism professor for 22 years, while also working as deputy director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and then AHCJ’s executive director. He was recently named professor emeritus to acknowledge his contributions to the university and the journalism profession. He is co-author of "The Investigative Reporter's Handbook," (fourth edition), and has edited 15 reporter beat books focused on different reporting topics of use to daily journalists. He has won several newspaper and magazine editing awards and was named Outstanding Alumnus in Journalism by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. | Phone: 573-884-5606


Pia Christensen
Remembering Pia

Pia Christensen, AHCJ’s longtime website editor, died May 4, 2021, from cancer at her home in Loomis, Calif. Christensen, 50, served as managing editor/online services for the previous 15 years and as part of the Missouri School of Journalism staff for the previous 20 years.


Editorial Contributors

Margarita Birnbaum, Topic Leader/Health Equity

Margarita Birnbaum is a Dallas-based independent journalist who has written about heart disease and stroke trends among Black, Hispanics and white adults in the U.S. In her role as AHCJ's Health Equity Core Topic Leader, Birnbaum will build upon the extensive library of resources that help journalists give readers context about the state of health equity in the U.S. A former police reporter, Birnbaum returned to journalism about six years ago to write about health disparities for American Heart Association News, the news division at American Heart. Her stories have been published by Univision, the Associated Press and WebMD, and include articles about smoking rates among Hispanic American ethnic groups, stroke care in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and COVID-19 trends in Hispanic Americans. Her work as a court interpreter and translator, and her personal and professional experiences living and working in Central America, have informed her reporting and writing.

Karen Blum, Topic Leader/Health IT

A health care and science journalist in the Baltimore area, Blum has written health IT stories for publications such as Pharmacy Practice News, Clinical Oncology News, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News, General Surgery News and Infectious Disease Special Edition. An experienced freelancer for the last 17 years, she has master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, with continuing education from Johns Hopkins University. She’s served as a judge for AHCJ’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, and was a member of the conference planning committee for Health Journalism 2019.

Joseph Burns, Topic Leader/Health Reform

Burns provides resources for AHCJ members to cover the complex and changing landscape of health reform through blog posts, tip sheets, articles and links to sources. An independent journalist, Burns has been covering health care since 1991 and writes frequently about health policy and the business of health care for a variety of publications. His work has been published in The New York Times, Hospitals & Health Networks and Managed Care magazine and he has written for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Quality Forum and the National Committee for Quality Assurance. In addition, Burns has edited books on health care business strategies and served from 1991 to 1994 as the editor-in-chief of Business & Health magazine and later was a contributing editor and author of a monthly column for Managed Healthcare Executive magazine. A resident of Massachusetts, Burns began his career as a newspaper reporter in Connecticut and was a lecturer for three semesters in the Journalism Department at the University of Connecticut. (@jburns18)

Katti Gray, Topic Leader/Mental Health

A former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow, Gray is providing resources to help AHCJ members expand their coverage of mental health amid ongoing efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness and to place mental health care on par with all health care. She has covered, among other topics, mental health care in prisons and jails, the debate over whether mental illnesses are being over-diagnosed and efforts to persuade persons of color to be less skeptical about seeking counseling and other mental health services. Her work has been published by, among others, The Washington Post, Salon, Reuters, New York Newsday, Los Angeles Times, Health Affairs, Essence, Colorlines, CNN, CBS News, ABC News and AARP. Her writings appear in, among other books, "The Criminalization of Mental Illness" and "Narrative Matters: Writing to Change the Health Care System." (@kattigray)

Tara Haelle, Topic Leader/Medical Studies

Haelle guides journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enable them to translate the evidence into accurate information that their readers can grasp. Haelle is a freelance journalist and multimedia photographer who has particularly focused on medical studies over the past five years. She particularly specializes in reporting on vaccines, pediatrics, maternal health, obesity, nutrition and mental health. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post, Politico, Slate, NOVA, Wired and Science, and she writes regularly for HealthDay, Frontline Medical Communications, Forbes and her parenting science blog Red Wine & Apple Sauce. She's co-writing an evidence-based parenting book due in April 2016. (@tarahaelle)

Barbara Mantel, Freelance Community Correspondent

An independent, award-winning journalist based in New York, Mantel leads AHCJ’s efforts to expand its resources and services for freelance journalists, writing about issues of concern to independent journalists, such as finding assignments, running a business, ethical guidelines, negotiating contracts and much more. Mantel is a contributing writer at CQ Researcher, where she writes in-depth articles on public health and other social issues. In addition, her reporting has appeared in outlets including AARP, Rural Health Quarterly, Undark, Healthline, and NPR. (@BJMantel)

Liz Seegert, Topic Leader/Aging

Seegert is leading the effort to provide resources to help AHCJ members cover the complexities of aging by writing blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other resources. She has more than 25 years’ experience in print, broadcast and online media. Her journalism experience includes stints in Boston as a general assignment news reporter for public radio and a writer for all-news radio, and as a TV news associate producer/writer in New York City. Several years in the corporate world helped to sharpen her writing and immersed her in the world of health and wellness. Since 1995, she has flown solo as a writer/reporter. She is a regular contributor to the HealthCetera, blog and to the award-winning HealthStyles show (WBAI/Pacifica), both part of the Center for Health, Media and Policy at Hunter College, where she is also a senior fellow. (@lseegert)

Bara Vaida, Topic Leader/Infectious Diseases & COVID-19

Vaida is covering the complex and changing topic and helping journalists recognize emerging stories, understand the science of diseases, as well as prevention and cures. She has been a journalist for more than 25 years and a freelancer since 2011. She has worked for the National Journal, Agence France-Presse and Bloomberg News and has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows. Vaida has written extensively about health care policy and the Affordable Care Act as a contributing writer with Kaiser Health News. Her stories on the business and legal issues raised by health reform, as well as special interest influence on health care policy, have been published in the McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, National Public Radio, Politico, and the Washington Post. She wrote an in-depth report for CQ Researcher titled "Pandemic Threat: Is the world prepared for the next outbreak?" (@barav)

Kerry Dooley Young, Topic Leader/Patient Safety

An independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., Young writes about the practice of medicine, research, Medicare payment policies and congressional health politics. Her work has been published in Medscape Medical News, MD Edge, CQ Researcher and The Journalist’s Resource, among other outlets. (@kdooleyyoung)