Category Archives: Public health

Reporters suddenly thrown into health beat need veterans’ support

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.

In an op-ed for the Columbia Journalism Review, Ivan Oransky, M.D., draws on an apt metaphor for reporters from other beats who are being assigned health-related stories during this pandemic.

“I imagine that the dread a newly transferred coronavirus reporter feels when faced with a PDF filled with statistics is the same as I would feel if —as a career-long doctor turned medical journalist — I was suddenly assigned to cover the statehouse.”

Continue reading

Use these COVID-19 clinical trial trackers to keep up with research

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 Cytel/Gates Foundation’s Global Coronavirus COVID-19 Clinical Trial Tracker, as of April 14.

It can be exhausting to keep up with who is testing what in the race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and treatments for the disease it causes, COVID-19. More than two dozen vaccines are under development, and dozens of trials are underway to investigate whether any experimental or existing medications, such as hydroxychloroquine, can be repurposed to treat COVID-19 patients. Continue reading

AHCJ suspends membership expirations during virus efforts

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.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has announced a “no-expiration policy” during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Memberships that would normally have expired between February and June will be kept active, said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese.

“Many of our members are on the front lines of this health crisis and their expertise is being called upon during some extra-long days and nights,” Bruzzese said.

Continue reading

Is U.S. health system ready for increase in COVID-19 cases?

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.

emergency worker

Photo: Defence Images via Flickr

As expectations grow that many more cases of COVID-19 coronavirus may be identified in the U.S. in the coming weeks, public health officials have headlined media and congressional briefings to discuss the readiness of the nation’s health system’s to respond to a surge in affected hospital patients.

In general, there is agreement that while the U.S health system is better prepared than 20 years ago, it cannot handle a sudden surge in sick patients, largely because of insufficient staff, clinical space, medical equipment and treatments. Continue reading

Military’s heat-related illnesses, deaths demonstrate link between climate change, health reporting

Cheryl Clark

About Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) is AHCJ's core topic leader for patient safety, a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Climate change and health care are two separate beats, right? Usually that’s the case.

Environmental reporters worry about endangered species and greenhouse gases. Health reporters worry about hospital and physician quality and safety and reducing costs of care.

But the two are increasingly intertwined, as my former San Diego Union-Tribune colleague and Pulitzer Prize winner David Hasemyer points out. Continue reading

Former reporter offers new angles for covering vaccines, public health crises

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: Self Magazine via Flickr

Health reporters looking for another angle on covering vaccine debates should consider digging into the legal challenges public health officials face in considering quarantines and legislative measures prodding people to vaccinate their children, says Doug Levy, a former USA Today health journalist and author of the book “The Communications Golden Hour: The Essential Guide to Public Information When Every Minute Counts.”

Levy spent years in the trenches as a member of the media, and then as a communications leader for two large health systems.  He thinks journalists are missing the boat if they keep focusing stories just on people’s concerns about the safety of vaccines. Continue reading