Author Archives: Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Get a chance to further your health journalism knowledge through AHCJ fellowships

The 2011 AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellows met with Ali S. Khan, M.D., M.P.H., assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response.

The 2011 AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellows met with Ali S. Khan, M.D., M.P.H., assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response.

AHCJ is taking applications for two of its premier fellowship programs: the AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowships and the AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance.

Both programs offer journalists a chance to receive top training and a chance to find new sources and story ideas for their reporting. Continue reading

NIH director, pandemic expert discuss development, rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

NIH director speaks to AHCJ Summit on Infectious DiseasesWhile describing the efforts of the National Institutes of Health and its partnerships with other agencies and pharmaceutical companies, NIH Director Francis Collins described the endeavor as “the most amazing outpouring of scientific capabilities, determination, talent that I’ve ever seen in my 27 years at NIH.”

During a recorded keynote speech at AHCJ’s Journalism Summit on Infectious Disease on Nov. 18, Collins said “The news [about recently announced vaccine trials] is extremely good. Both of these involving trials of 30,000 or more participants have been able to show that the messenger RNA-based vaccine strategy has resulted in over 90% efficacy for both of these and what appears to be a very reasonable safety record as well.” Continue reading

Year in review: What journalists have been reading

ListIt is perhaps little surprise that the most-read blog posts on Covering Health this year were almost exclusively about the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic.

Since we first reported about the “mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China” on Jan. 10 and followed up with a post urging “Use caution when reporting on pandemic potential of Wuhan coronavirus” on Jan. 23, the topic has been top-of-mind for health journalists.

Here is a list of the top-10 blog posts, plus a bonus: Continue reading

Covering the hidden mental health effects of a pandemic

Mental health during a pandemicThings we all know: The current pandemic can bring on stress, anxiety and fear. Common sense actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel depressed, isolated and lonely.

But then there are the more hidden mental health concerns. In some populations, stigmas against seeking care can become more entrenched when people become more remote. As some providers and clients face economic hardship, connecting with professionals can become near impossible. Continue reading

What have we learned from COVID-19 vaccine efforts?

What are we learning from the COVID-19 vaccine efforts?The race for COVID-19 vaccines won’t be the last vaccine race we’ll see. Vaccines for HIV are in the pipeline, scientists continue to work toward the elusive universal flu vaccine, and novel viruses we haven’t yet seen are likely in our future.

But the race for a COVID-19 vaccine has been a sprint compared to the marathon style of past vaccine development.

What does that mean for journalists covering development of the COVID-19 vaccine? How does this process differ from past ones, and what lessons and technologies might be applied to future vaccine efforts? How will society react when future vaccines become available? Continue reading

Covering a ‘twindemic:’ Flu, COVID-19 share at least one season

A “twindemic” is what infectious disease experts are calling the possibility that both the COVID-19 and influenza viruses will sicken Americans this winter. How likely is that possibility and what are public health officials doing about it?

Experts, speaking at AHCJ’s Summit on Infectious Disease in November, discussed expectations about the coming flu season, how the health care system will handle the influx of both COVID-19 and flu patients, and how the flu, like COVID-19, disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx and other vulnerable communities. They also offer insights about what this year’s flu vaccination rates might mean for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. Continue reading