Photo by Pia ChristensenJonathan Bowser of the University of Colorado School of Medicine called oral health “the low-hanging fruit of primary care prevention.”
In 2007, a 12-year-old Maryland boy named Deamonte Driver died from a tooth infection that spread to his brain. His family had lost Medicaid coverage and an $80 tooth extraction might have saved his life, wrote Washington Post staff writer Mary Otto, whose story helped spotlight oral health disparities.
Oral disease is a disease of poverty, said Diane Brunson, R.D.H., M.P.H., director of public health and interprofessional education at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, during a session called “Covering disparities in oral health,” at Health Journalism 2014 in Denver. Continue reading
For journalists wanting to learn more about how to track hospital quality through inspection reports, Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica, and Paul Dreyer, a former senior regulator with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health who now consults with hospitals, gave a presentation at Health Journalism 2013 about how reporters can get that information.
As an example, Ornstein reminded attendees that actor Dennis Quaid’s newborn children had received an overdose of Heparin at a hospital. The Quaids felt the hospital had tried to cover up the incident, but an inspection report uncovered the truth about what had happened.
“It’s a lesson to hospitals to be honest with families,” Ornstein said. “And journalists are the conduit for that.” Continue reading