Category Archives: Social determinants

Covering climate change and public health from the local level

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.

Photo: Luca Castellazzi via Flickr

One angle journalists can take to tackle huge issue like climate change and public health is to take a focused look at how life might be changing for low-income people in a specific city.

This is what NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro did earlier this spring in her report on how climate change is affecting residents’ health in Miami. Continue reading

Health Journalism 2019 sets attendance record

Cynthia Craft

About Cynthia Craft

Cynthia Craft (@cynthiahcraft) is the director of engagement for AHCJ, joining the organization after an extensive career in daily journalism, including a decade on the health care beat. Craft most recently worked as a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee, having also worked for the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Times Herald and the California Journal.

Drawn by an influential lineup of speakers and panels – plus an intriguing offering of field trips – more than 800 conference-goers helped make AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore a record-setter in attendance.

In AHCJ’s 20 years of annual conferences, the increase in attendance has mirrored the public’s level of interest in health news and need for clear, accurate health care reporting. Today, health-care pocketbook issues, partisan politics and worrisome matters such as the re-emergence of measles and stubborn drug dependence epidemics are seen as topics likely to be front and center in upcoming elections.

From May 2 to May 5, health journalists attended more than 60 panels, including a carefully curated lineup guiding independent journalists toward success and informative sessions on how to cover aspects of the scientific revolution of genetics.

Continue reading 

Reporter drew on life experience to report on inadequate prison dental care

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Much remains unknown about the oral health status of more than two million incarcerated Americans, but research suggests that many dental needs go unmet behind bars.

Reporting on the problem can be challenging. But in a recent project we wrote about, Keri Blakinger, who covers breaking news, prisons and the death penalty for the Houston Chronicle, found a way to document the desperate wait for dentures in Texas state prisons. Continue reading

This is the brain on health disparities: Their role in dementia

Emily Willingham

About Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) is AHCJ's core topic leader on the social determinants of health. She is a science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others, and co-author of "The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to Your Child's First Four Years."

Photo: NIH Image Gallery via Flickr

In a recent commentary in JAMA Neurology, Elisa de Paula França Resende, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues write about how social determinants of health affect demographic patterns of dementia in the United States. Noting that with an aging population, the prevalence of dementia will increase substantially, Resende and her co-authors write that of the social determinants affecting dementia risk, health and socioeconomics act more strongly than do race or cultural identifiers. I will add here that being female also is involved in dementia risk, as women are at greater risk for it than men. Continue reading

Beyond addiction: Medical consequences for opioid misuse

Catherine Wendlandt

About Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt is a graduate research assistant at AHCJ, pursuing a master's degree in journalism-magazine editing at the University of Missouri. She has a degree in journalism-magazine publishing in 2018 from MU and minored in Spanish and religious studies. As an undergrad, she worked at Vox Magazine and the Columbia Missourian.

Photo: Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

What are people leaving out in the conversation about the opioid crisis?

Joshua Barocas, who teaches Boston University’s School of Medicine, said the answer is embedded in the question. “Opioids themselves aren’t the crisis,” he said. “Overdoses are the crisis.” Continue reading

Speaker spotlight: Eliminating disparities in maternal and child health

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Rebecca Dineen

Rebecca Dineen, assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at the Baltimore City Health Department, will be the awards luncheon speaker for Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore on Saturday, May 4.

Dineen joined the Baltimore City Health Department in 2008 and leads the B’more for Healthy Babies campaign, which promotes proper infant sleeping practices to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths in children under age one. The campaign offers parents and other caregivers best practices to promote safe sleep and breastfeeding. It also works to reduce teen pregnancy. Continue reading