Category Archives: Covering medical studies

Vox reporter describes deep dive into medical studies on back pain

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ’s medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Two years ago Vox began a new feature section called Show Me the Evidence. In each piece, the reporter reviews several dozen recent studies on a specific question with the goal of summarizing the consensus of the evidence on that issue.

It’s important to provide context in any article about a single study or even a couple studies, but it’s not possible in daily journalism or even shorter features to dig deeply into all (or most of) the evidence on a specific topic and look at the big picture. Continue reading

AHCJ fellows attend briefing at CDC about ongoing public health emergencies

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

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

Photo: Jeff Porter/AHCJBrenda Fitzgerald, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spoke at a briefing on public health emergencies at the CDC on Dec. 4.

Fellows in two of AHCJ’s health journalism fellowship programs attended today’s press briefing about ongoing public health emergencies with Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric Hargan, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., and CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The journalists are attending a week-long training session at the CDC as part of the AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowships and the Mid-Atlantic class of the AHCJ Regional Health Journalism Fellowship. Continue reading

Covering HIV in the modern era: What reporters need to know

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ’s core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Image: Benny Sølz via Flickr

About 36.7 million people around the world – about 1.1 million in the U.S.- are living with an HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) diagnosis, making it one of the most enduring pandemics on the planet. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Since the virus was first discovered in the 1980s, about 35 million people have died from complications of AIDS.

There has been much progress in terms of treatment. There are now 30 antiretroviral drugs available for those diagnosed with HIV, writes Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, in the JAMA Network. Continue reading

AHCJ compiles tip sheet for reporting on sexual assault and harassment

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ’s medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

The most recent wave of reporting on sexual abuse and sexual harassment began with the report on Harvey Weinstein’s decades of abuse in Hollywood, but other accusations of sexual assault and harassment by prominent figures continue to dominate the headlines. As more survivors of sexual assault and harassment come forward, journalists face a dual challenge.

First, they need to corroborate and fact check their stories as they would any other story, a necessity driven home recently by the Washington Post’s report of an attempt to deceive the paper into reporting a false accusation against Roy Moore, a nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat. Continue reading

Story about genetic testing company’s problems shows how good reporting stands up to criticism

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Canadian Blood Services via Flickr

In December 2016, Charles Piller (@cpiller), the west coast editor for Stat, reported that a genetic test to identify patients who could be prone to addiction lacked a firm scientific basis.

With an eye-opening headline, “Called ‘hogwash,’ a gene test for addiction risk exploits opioid fears,” the article raised important questions about the Proove Opioid Risk test from Proove Biosciences in Irvine, Calif. Continue reading