Author Archives: Bara Vaida

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.

Public health experts discuss U.S. health systems’ disaster readiness

As public health officials grapple with strategies to respond to natural disasters and disease outbreaks, they face a host of challenges, from misinformation on social media and some communities’ lack of trust in government to the definition of what being “prepared” means.

That is why engaging with community leaders on emergency preparedness is especially important, two public health leaders told AHCJ members in a recent webcast. Continue reading

New tip sheet can help you cover public health emergencies

Photo: DIFD via Flickr

Public health emergencies often happen — from a severe flu season or measles outbreak to wildfires or a severe weather event such as a hurricane. Count on them to be a mainstay of the health beat.

Experts in health security continue to debate the readiness of the health system for emergencies. At a July 19 National Academies of Sciences event, Robert Kadlec, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), said that he believes the while the public and private sectors have plans that “have addressed a lot of continuity of operations and classical preparedness” there remains more to be done. Continue reading

How a journalist overcame challenges of covering antibiotic resistance

Since the dawn of antibiotics, there has been antibiotic resistance. Until about 20 years ago, this threat remained muted because there were plenty of new antibiotics in the pipeline to replace those that had stopped working.

Today, there are fewer than 50 antimicrobials in the pipeline, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. Resistant bacteria, meanwhile, are slowly but surely spreading across the planet. If nothing changes, British think tank the Wellcome Trust, estimates that 10 million people will die annually from a resistant microbe by 2050. Continue reading

Understanding what the WHO public health emergency on Ebola means

Photo: USAID via Flickr

For the fifth time in its history, the World Health Organization declared on July 17, that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo was a public health emergency of international concern.

While this doesn’t mean that anyone in the U.S. is at any greater risk of contracting Ebola today than yesterday, it is a political flare to warn the world that Ebola will be spreading around the globe from northeastern DRC, says Helen Branswell with Stat. Continue reading

Advice from a journalist covering global health

Photo: Dan Blah via Flickr

Amy Maxmen, a San-Francisco-based science reporter for Nature magazine, travels the world to cover global health topics. In 2018, her work took her to Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand to cover the rising number of malaria deaths in Southeast Asia.

Her story “Malaria’s Ticking Time Bomb,” won first place in AHCJ’s 2018 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism for a public health story published in the small market category. The article deftly blended plain English with scientific jargon to tell the story of scientists and public health workers efforts to eliminate malaria in Southeast Asia, as they contend with volatile political situations. Continue reading

New angles in writing about mosquito season

Photo: Gustavo Fernando Durán via Flickr

With mosquito season heating up in the United States, reporters may be looking for new angles to write about these outdoor pests.

Consider innovations in mosquito control.  As fears increase about damage to the environment and bee populations, many states are experimenting with biological alternatives to spraying. Continue reading