Separated migrant children face infectious disease and other health threats

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Hi Tricia! via Flickr

The thousands of children separated from their undocumented parents at the border have been exposed to prolonged stress that can cause long-lasting injury to the developing brain, say many prominent professional medical associations. The policy of taking children from their parents while they await deportation hearings – reversed on Wednesday – may have increased their chances of getting infectious diseases, too.

Dr. Marc Siegel wrote in USA Today that “thousands of children now being housed in makeshift detention centers have been reported to suffer from large outbreaks of scabies, a highly contagious, itchy rash spread by tiny insects known as mites.” There also have been reports of outbreaks of lice, measles, flu, drug-resistant tuberculosis, dengue fever and Zika, Siegel added. Continue reading

Study of decade of data backs argument for community water fluoridation

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Jonathan Cohen via Flickr

Children living in counties with fluoridated water have significantly less tooth decay than those living in counties that lack water fluoridation programs, according to a newly published large-scale study.

Reduced decay rates were most pronounced in the primary teeth of children living in fluoridated counties. Yet community water fluoridation (CWF) also was credited with conferring a meaningful level of protection to the permanent teeth of children and adolescents. Continue reading

Experts discussed rural health topics at workshop

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the special projects director for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

Photo: Len Bruzzese/AHCJHannah Koch, Psy.D., research and technical assistance associate, Mental Health Program, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

AHCJ’s 10th annual Rural Health Journalism Workshop brought journalists to North Carolina’s Research Triangle to hear from experts who offered resources and story ideas about the health challenges facing the United States’ 47 million rural residents.

Nearly 70 attended the all-day workshop, gaining a better understanding of what’s happening – or will be happening – in rural regions. Continue reading

Indictment of Theranos executives offers lessons for journalists

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Len Bruzzese/AHCJWall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou spoke about his award-winning investigation of Theranos at Health Journalism 2018.

The story about the fall of Theranos provides an important lesson for journalists about how we should be more diligent when reporting on the spin that companies use to promote themselves.

Last week, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of Theranos, and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who served in various roles for the clinical laboratory testing company in Palo Alto, Calif. In an indictment unsealed Friday, the federal Department of Justice announced in a news release that Holmes and Balwani were alleged to have perpetrated multimillion dollar schemes designed to defraud patients, doctors and investors. Note that the release includes a link to a PDF of the indictment itself. Continue reading

HHS to hire strategist to work with local reporters

Sabriya Rice

About Sabriya Rice

Sabriya Rice (@sabriyarice) is the business of health care reporter for the Dallas Morning News. She’s an AHCJ board member and vice chair of the association’s Right to Know committee.

Judy Stecker

The new assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to improve the agency’s outreach to regional reporters and plans to hire a liaison devoted to working with journalists outside the Beltway.

Judy Stecker, appointed to the role in April, mentioned the new emphasis on reaching regional reporters in a phone call last week with the chairs of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee. Continue reading