Category Archives: Public health

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 She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at

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 She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at

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

Tip sheet examines health issues of hoarding among older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Wendy Berry via Flickr

Many of us hang on to a few special items – like that ticket stub from your first concert, a seashell from your honeymoon, or artwork from when your kids were in kindergarten. Hoarders, however, go beyond saving a few memories and have a hard time letting go of anything. Hoarding is a legitimate psychological disorder and, if left unchecked, can upend an older adults’ life.

Their difficulty in getting rid of things causes their living spaces to become so cluttered that they are nearly unusable. Continue reading

On the health beat, public records can be a lifeline

Michael Morisy

About Michael Morisy

Michael Morisy is the founder of MuckRock, a non-profit that works for a more informed democracy. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe and contributed to the New York Daily News' Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the last of four.

MuckRock, a nonprofit that assists journalists, newsrooms, and others requesting public information, has helped thousands of reporters file public records requests all across America, digging out information from federal agencies and local inspection boards alike.

Time and again, public records break essential stories and shine light on dangerous lapses — but only if someone knows to ask.

Here are some tips on using freedom of information laws to get great stories while juggling everything else you need to get done. Continue reading

Antibiotic resistance highlighted at World Conference of Science Journalists

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.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alexander Fleming developed penicillin, the first antibiotic, in 1928. In less than a century, scientists have developed more than 130 other antibiotics — saving millions of lives, making surgery safer than ever, transforming medicine … and creating the huge new problem of antibiotic resistance that threatens to toss us back into the pre-antibiotic era.

Take gonorrhea for just one example: humans have gone from having no way to treat the disease in the 1920s to having effective antibiotics against it to now, when the “bacteria has developed resistance to nearly every drug used for treatment,” according to the CDC. Continue reading