Reporter shares how to integrate effects of social determinants in health stories


Rhiannon Meyers
Rhiannon Meyers

It’s easy to blame disadvantaged people for engaging in behaviors that put them at risk for developing diabetes.

Rhiannon Meyers, a reporter at The (Corpus Christi, Texas) Caller-Times, says that “Over and over again, I heard doctors blame our region’s high rates of diabetes and related complications on noncompliant patients unwilling to make the necessary changes to get healthy,” while she was reporting “Cost of Diabetes.”

But Meyers delved deeper and found there were environmental and social forces that contribute to higher rates of unhealthy behavior and illness. In the latest “Shared Wisdom,” she explains:

“What’s even more important for journalists than being able to explain these social determinants is understanding them well enough to ask the right questions and challenge those who dismiss chronic illness as strictly a matter of ‘personal responsibility,’ another phrase I heard often in this series.”

Read more about how she illustrated those underlying social and environmental factors for her readers and how that added richer context to her stories.

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