Category Archives: Core Topics

Playwright puts racism in health care on the stage

Harrison David Rivers

“Weathering,” a play that premiered last fall, takes on a public health crisis. The story centers on the grief that women carry after having a stillbirth, how they cope with it and why. But it also addresses the link between pervasive racism in health care and the concerning maternal and infant mortality rates in Black women that are much higher than those in their white counterparts. 

Harrison David Rivers, the playwright, said he was inspired to write a play that addressed the troubling trends after reading an article about the pregnancy and childbirth experiences of a young Black woman that was written by journalist and author Linda Villarosa. The play was commissioned by Penumbra Theatre, a stage company based in an African American neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn. that was August Wilson’s home theater for several years.

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What to know about the state of patient safety

Photo by RODNAE Productions via pexels.

In the last year many prominent voices have raised alarms about deficiencies in patient safety, just as staffing shortages have heightened concerns about harm due to inadequate care.

Here are five key points that have emerged.

1. Measures of patient safety worsened during the pandemic.

Rates of some hospital-associated infections tracked by the CDC increased in 2020 and 2021 following several years of improvement. Data show that falls and bed sores also increased.

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Why journalists should follow bird flu closely in coming months

Photo by Italo Melo via pexels.

As you look for infectious disease stories (other than COVID-19), consider getting up to speed on avian flu, which could worsen this spring as birds migrate north with warming weather.

While the present bird flu virus hasn’t yet demonstrated the ability to spread among humans, it is extremely contagious among wild birds and chickens that lay eggs, playing a role in the rising price of eggs. And like all contagious viruses, there is a possibility that a genetic shift in the pathogen could make it dangerous for people at some point in the future. 

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A niche mental health newsroom eyes expansion   

Mind Site News website screenshot

MindSiteNews.org is the nation’s only news organization exclusively covering mental health.

Launched in September 2021, it’s an outgrowth of a smaller, state-focused website at California’s Steinberg Institute that veteran health and mental health journalist and AHCJ award-winner Rob Waters was running at the time.

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Why race equity plans matter and how to report on them

Photo via Canva

Dallas is among cities, counties and other local governments that have recently adopted race equity plans. In the 2022-2023 goals and metrics report, city officials have said they want to track their goals, which include tracking air quality in certain areas and upgrading water and sewer lines in neighborhoods that haven’t seen investment for decades. There’s a line in there about improving the health of the city’s Black and Hispanic residents, who represent more than 60% of the population of the country’s ninth-largest city and are more likely than their white peers to have preventable chronic diseases. 

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