Category Archives: Public health

Separated migrant children face infectious disease and other health threats

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: Hi Tricia! via Flickr

The thousands of children separated from their undocumented parents at the border have been exposed to prolonged stress that can cause long-lasting injury to the developing brain, say many prominent professional medical associations. The policy of taking children from their parents while they await deportation hearings – reversed on Wednesday – may have increased their chances of getting infectious diseases, too.

Dr. Marc Siegel wrote in USA Today that “thousands of children now being housed in makeshift detention centers have been reported to suffer from large outbreaks of scabies, a highly contagious, itchy rash spread by tiny insects known as mites.” There also have been reports of outbreaks of lice, measles, flu, drug-resistant tuberculosis, dengue fever and Zika, Siegel added. Continue reading

Study of decade of data backs argument for community water fluoridation

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: Jonathan Cohen via Flickr

Children living in counties with fluoridated water have significantly less tooth decay than those living in counties that lack water fluoridation programs, according to a newly published large-scale study.

Reduced decay rates were most pronounced in the primary teeth of children living in fluoridated counties. Yet community water fluoridation (CWF) also was credited with conferring a meaningful level of protection to the permanent teeth of children and adolescents. Continue reading

Like public health officials, reporters should ready BEFORE the next pandemic arrives

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.

Photo: DFID-UK Department for International Development via Wikimedia

It can seem next to impossible to prepare for a threat you know will come without knowing what it will be, where it comes from, how it will travel, how bad it will be and where it will go. Yet that’s what thousands of public health officials and health care providers do on an ongoing basis in order to be ready for whatever infectious disease next threatens to become a pandemic.

During Health Journalism 2018, Bara Vaida, AHCJ’s core topic leader on infectious diseases, moderated a panel discussing what’s necessary to be ready for pandemics. That includes the barriers to being fully prepared, many facets related to an outbreak (including the health and safety of responders on the front line) and the challenge this presents for journalists covering public health. Continue reading

Concussion care evolving as providers seek ‘sweet spot’

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.

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

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.

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