Author Archives: Susan Heavey

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 She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at

In Baltimore, AHCJ fellows focus on health gaps

Photo: Jeff Porter/AHCJAHCJ Regional Fellows hear from Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s health commissioner, during their kickoff event in Baltimore. The focus of the kickoff was social determinants and health disparities.

A flyer floating along the sidewalk on the way to AHCJ’s 2017-18 Regional Fellows meeting in Baltimore last month seemed to preview the challenges and discussions for the days ahead.

“Cash for diabetic test strips,” it read. Instead of patients using the strips to test their blood sugar, they were being encouraged instead to turn in their unopened boxes “and get cash on the spot!!”

It was an example of the health hurdles facing many residents here that nearly a dozen fellows from the Mid-Atlantic region would grapple with during their July gathering in Maryland’s biggest city. Continue reading

Seeking ways to report on adversity and kids’ health

Photo: Norbert Eder via Flickr

A growing number of reporters are taking another look at adverse childhood experiences when it comes to health in both children and adults.

Such events, known as ACEs, are getting the attention of local and national leaders as well as health care professionals looking for other ways to tackle patient’s ailments beyond the exam room. Continue reading

Groups aim to reinvent neighborhoods with eye on health

Photo: Courtesy of Carol Naughton/Purpose Built Communities

Amid growing awareness about “ZIP code” health disparities, some struggling areas are trying new ways to reinvent their communities and move residents toward better health and wellness.

Some of these projects involve health experts and housing developers to help get local officials out of their silos and into multi-sector projects that will overhaul poorer urban neighborhoods, where maintaining good health can be challenging, two such experts told AHCJ members during a recent webcast. Continue reading

Health care debate shines light on Medicaid

Photo: Dmitriy via Flickr

One result of the ongoing health care reform debate – and the coverage of it – is a renewed look at Medicaid by both journalists and the public.

The joint federal-state government health insurance program is often thought of as simply serving the poor, but Republicans’ efforts to roll back Obamacare’s expansion of the coverage also opened up efforts to educate readers about other beneficiaries, according to some analysts.

Even as Republicans in the Senate appeared to run out of options this week, the debate over the program is likely to continue. Continue reading

Localities turn to lawsuits in opioid fight

Photo: Jesse Loughborough via Flickr

As authorities search for ways to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic, an increasing number of localities are turning to a new venue: the courts.

States, counties, cities and even Native American tribes are taking legal aim at companies they see as helping to fuel the drug crisis. In recent months, lawsuits have been filed against drugmakers, pharmacies and drug distributors even as some legal experts have said such challenges could face hurdles. Continue reading