All-star conference panel ponders aging’s future

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Laurent Morand via Flickr

For most of humankind’s existence, the average life expectancy was around 18 years. It’s only in the past century that advances in public health, medicine, and social services have enabled many of us to reach very old age. And we’re still at the beginning of a longevity revolution.

But when it comes to living longer, the United States is only somewhere in the middle compared with the rest of the world, according to the World Health Organization. Although we spend almost twice as much on health care as any other nation, 33 other countries boast longer life expectancies. That’s why we need to consider health span as well as lifespan, rethink how our medical systems care for aging adults and address the need for well paid, well-trained caregivers, according to an expert panel at the opening keynote of the American Society on Aging’s annual conference, which was held virtually this year dur to the pandemic. Continue reading

New data resource lists research on infection prevention from COVID-19 vaccines

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Coronavirus CG Illustration

Photo: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr

Since the COVID-19 vaccines were authorized by the FDA, one of the big questions has been how well they prevent transmission of the COVID-19 even among those who have been vaccinated. The clinical trials used disease — an infection with symptoms — as the endpoint because stopping severe disease and death was the most important priority. In addition, it’s very difficult to develop a vaccine that creates sterilizing immunity, the type of immunity that prevents infection — the virus’s ability to enter cells and begin replicating. Continue reading

Report discusses how ‘public option’ may put pressure on commercial health plans

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.

"Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets", American Medical Association, 2020

Source: “Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets,” American Medical Association, 2020.

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t received wide coverage, so far but may become an important resource for journalists in the coming months if Democrats in the U.S. Congress seek to increase competition in health insurance markets nationwide. It also could be a useful resource if any state seeks to develop a public option. Continue reading

Having both hearing and vision loss may double risk of dementia

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Mike Krzeszak via Flickr

Photo: Mike Krzeszak via Flickr

Losing some hearing or eyesight is fairly common as we age. However, a new study says losing function in both senses may increase risk of dementia and cognitive decline down the road.

Journalists may want to consider looking at any local programs that address vision and hearing loss in older adults and how, or if, these programs address challenges of cognitive decline or multiple sensory impairments. Continue reading

Schools still ill-equipped to serve special-ed students with mental illnesses

About Katti Gray

Katti Gray (@kattigray) is AHCJ's core topic leader for behavioral and 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.

School desks in an empty classroom

Photo: Alachua County via Flickr

The mental health of students has been of particular concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some students more severely affected by the lockdowns and safety restrictions than others. Particularly impacted are youth enrolled in special education, a population already disproportionately beset by mental illness and school suspensions. Continue reading

AHCJ welcomes new directors of education and engagement

About Andrew Smiley

Andrew Smiley is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He is an assistant professor of professional practice at the Missouri School of Journalism. Smiley comes to AHCJ from a sports broadcasting background, including nearly a decade at the Golf Channel/NBC Sports and a decade at ESPN, where he won an Emmy.

AHCJ welcomes two new senior staff members to continue its efforts for education, content and member engagement. They will start mid-May.

Experienced journalist and educator Katherine Reed of Columbia, Mo., will become the new director of education and content. She will play a key role in planning content for AHCJ conferences, workshops and fellowship programs. She will also oversee AHCJ’s growing website and publications.

Andrea Waner

Andrea Waner

Katherine Reed

Katherine Reed

Andrea Waner of Columbia, Mo., has been named director of engagement for AHCJ. She will work toward developing strategies for further engaging our members, marketing educational and training opportunities, growing our social media footprints, and collaborating with other journalism organizations.

We are thrilled to have Katherine and Andrea join our talented AHCJ staff in these two important senior roles. Both of them have displayed a commitment to serving journalists in all aspects of their work and are dedicated to furthering the mission of AHCJ. We look forward to enhancing our educational offerings and member outreach efforts as we continue to grow the organization.

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