Author Archives: Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

How W.Va is crunching data on social conditions and opioids

A social autopsy.

That’s what West Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta called his efforts to examine opioid deaths in his state, one of the hardest hit by the drug epidemic.

In an interview with WBUR, Gupta said he was crunching the data on hundreds of those who die in hopes of seeing past the medical causes and into the social issues that may have contributed. Understanding that, and the stigma, may better help him and other officials tackle the scourge that is sweeping the state. Continue reading

Concussion care evolving as providers seek ‘sweet spot’

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJNeurologist Dr. Glynnis Zieman, of the Barrow Neurological Institute, answers a question from a Health Journalism 2018 attendee about brain injuries. Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. Amaal Starling (left) and NPR science correspondent Jon Hamilton (right) also were featured on the panel moderated by NPR’s Scott Hensley.

Doctors and researchers are adapting treatments for brain injuries to recognize individuals’ needs, but still are searching for the right balance of care for a diverse set of patients who have suffered blows to the head, panelists told attendees at one panel during Health Journalism 2018 in Phoenix.

Treating people with possible concussions means providers must assess and manage a wide range of patients, from young athletes and military personnel to domestic violence victims and the elderly, the experts said during the Friday session, “Concussion and brain health: New angles on diagnosis and treatment,” which was moderated by National Public Radio editor Scott Hensley. Continue reading

Have a plan before tragic news breaks, Las Vegas reporter says

Rachel Crosby, a metro reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, reviewed her Twitter feed from her coverage of the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas as part of her talk for Health Journalism 2018. The panel, “Finding organization in the chaos of mass violence,” offered a look at how journalists and health systems prepare and respond to mass tragedies.

Reporters everywhere increasingly must cover mass violence and other chaotic situations, and should make a plan before any news erupts, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Rachel Crosby told attendees at Health Journalism 2018.

Whether it’s a mass shooting, disease outbreak, natural disaster or other major event – take time now to figure out how your newsroom would report on it and how you can be best prepared, Crosby, a former crime reporter now on the metro desk, said at AHCJ’s annual conference in Phoenix. Continue reading