Health Journalism 2016 panel to look at cities tackling health and turmoil

road-to-cleveland-2For reporters covering the social determinants of health, AHCJ’s annual conference, April 7-10, will kick off with a roundtable discussion highlighting the unique health challenges facing U.S. cities in the face of turmoil.

The Thursday evening panel aims to shine a spotlight on how America’s urban areas address health care for their populations, featuring city health commissioners representing Baltimore, St. Louis and, of course, Cleveland.

With more people living in urban areas, cities across the country face different health challenges than in less dense rural and suburban areas. Add to that outside pressure – a shooting, lead contamination, or other combustible issue – and the challenges grow.

Melba R. Moore

Melba R. Moore, M.S., C.P.H.A.


Leana S. Wen, M.D. M.Sc.

Natoya Walker Minor

Natoya Walker Minor, M.P.A.

Presenting at the panel, “Covering the health angles of cities facing crises,” are:

  • Natoya Walker Minor, M.P.A., acting director, Cleveland Department of Public Health
  • Melba R. Moore, M.S., C.P.H.A., acting director/commissioner of health, City of St. Louis
  • Leana S. Wen, M.D. M.Sc., health commissioner, Baltimore

Wen, an emergency physician, took up her post in January 2015, just a few months before the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody rocked the city and triggered waves of unrest that closed schools, shuttered businesses and blocked streets.

St. Louis felt the repercussions of upheaval following the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson. Moore, who was appointed acting director of the city’s health department in April 2015, previously served as a health commissioner for more than a decade.

And in Cleveland, recent revelations over lead in the city’s public housing forced out its two top health officials. The Cleveland Plain Dealer series on “Toxic Neglect” prompted a news conference by the mayor, who in November appointed Walker Minor as the acting director of public health.

While each city faces its own unique set of circumstances and challenges, they all must find ways to cope and address health care needs. Be sure to join us Thursday evening, April 7, for an insightful discussion and use the hashtag #AHCJcities to discuss online. Email any suggestions for topics or questions to address during the roundtable to me at

Miss the advance registration deadline for Health Journalism 2016? You can still sign up when you arrive at the conference. Find details here.

The Road to Cleveland

Leave a Reply