Author Archives: John Andrew "Andy'' Miller

About John Andrew "Andy'' Miller

Andy Miller (@gahealthnews) is the editor and publisher of the nonprofit Georgia Health News. The former health care reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is a member of AHCJ's board of directors and leads the association's Atlanta chapter.

Second open-enrollment period discussed at Atlanta chapter event

The Atlanta chapter of AHCJ and the Alliance for Health Reform sponsored a Dec. 2 event focused on the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act.

The panel discussed the state of navigator assistance, narrow networks and slower-than-expected enrollment since the insurance exchanges opened Nov. 15. About 25 AHCJ members and invited guests gathered for the event.

Joining me on the panel were Trey Sivley, a division director in the office of Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner; Lisa Stein of Seedco, which runs a navigator program in Georgia and three other states; and Dorian Martindale of Whitefoord, a federally qualified health center in Atlanta.

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Atlanta chapter learns the latest about e-cigarettes

A $2 billion market, sultry Jenny McCarthy ads, lounges dedicated to “vaping.”

Members of the Atlanta AHCJ chapter heard about these and other e-cigarette trends on May 21 from Michael Eriksen, Sc.D., dean of the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, and Sonya Collins, an Atlanta freelancer who won a 2013 Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism for her article on e-cigarettes.

 Their riveting talk touched on the rapid growth and youthful appeal of e-cigarettes.

Collins spoke about her experience in interviewing users at a vaping lounge. Many have started on e-cigarettes to quit their tobacco habit, she said.

Eriksen, who is leading research at Georgia State on the e-cigarette phenomenon, discussed the lack of regulation on these nicotine-laden products. E-cigarettes are less damaging to health than regular cigarettes, but the long-term effects are unknown, he said.

Big Tobacco has entered the market, Eriksen noted, and the billion-dollar industry is expected to grow exponentially. He foresees eventual regulatory oversight of e-cigarettes.

Studying the trend has been a fascinating experience, said Eriksen, who is a former director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the CDC.

AHCJ fellows meet with Atlanta chapter

The Atlanta chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists held a social gathering Dec. 10 at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, gathering with the 2013-14 Regional Health Journalism Fellows, who were in town for their visit to the CDC.

Twelve local health journalists and guests shared stories about the Affordable Care Act with fellows from states that, unlike Georgia, are running their own insurance exchanges and are expanding their Medicaid programs under the ACA. Continue reading

Atlanta chapter hears from CDC about global health efforts

Members of the Atlanta chapter of AHCJ heard a fascinating talk about the CDC’s global reach from Ron Ballard, associate director for laboratory science for the agency’s Center for Global Health.

Ballard, who has traveled extensively in coordinating international lab activities for the CDC, told about 20 journalists at a Sept. 10 meeting that the agency is working in dozens of  countries on activities ranging from disease detection and immunizations to programs fighting HIV/AIDS. Continue reading

Member close-up: John Dorschner

Now 68, Dorschner has retired from The Miami Herald after working there since 1970. That’s almost 43 years with the newspaper.

He covered health care economics for the past decade, and wrote many stories on health in prior years.


Health care economics for The Miami Herald. Retired March 1.


During a quarter century as a writer with The Miami Herald‘s Sunday magazine, Tropic, I won several awards for health care stories, including a National Headline Award and Green Eyeshade, Around 2001, I was in the business section, supposedly doing “high-class GA,” but, in fact, most business stories fall into beats and so only the dregs were left for general assignment. When the health care reporter left, I began doing some health care stories and really liked it, until it became a full-time endeavor. Starting in 2009, much of my time was devoted to the highly troubled Jackson Health System, the public hospitals of Miami-Dade County. Continue reading

Member close-up: Julie Rovner

Julie Rovner began her journalism career in 1985 at Legal Times, where she covered banking. She previously had been a staff writer at the Humane Society of the United States and also a press aide for a “very young and brash congressman from Brooklyn,’’ Chuck Schumer.

After a year at Legal Times, she was hired at Congressional Quarterly, where she first took on health as a beat, along with human services.

Rovner started part time at NPR in 1998. She also worked part time at National Journal’s CongressDaily for more than 10 years.

Since 2006, she has worked full time at NPR as a health policy correspondent. In her ‘’spare time’’ she is writing the health and human services chapter of “Congress and the Nation” for CQ.

Julie Rovner

Health policy correspondent, NPR

When I got hired at Congressional Quarterly in 1986, that was the beat that was open. I barely knew the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Luckily, I had a fabulous editor, Martha Angle, who remains a friend and mentor to this day. She trained me well.

Roe v. Wade – the landmark Supreme Court ruling hardly marked the start of the nation’s abortion debate

It’s not just religious institutions suing over contraceptive mandate

Rep. Pete Stark’s health legacy

The wealthy already pay more for Medicare

I have an interesting, wide-ranging beat, and a big audience to tell stories to. Continue reading