Covering the hidden mental health effects of a pandemic

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.

Mental health during a pandemicThings we all know: The current pandemic can bring on stress, anxiety and fear. Common sense actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel depressed, isolated and lonely.

But then there are the more hidden mental health concerns. In some populations, stigmas against seeking care can become more entrenched when people become more remote. As some providers and clients face economic hardship, connecting with professionals can become near impossible. Continue reading

What have we learned from COVID-19 vaccine efforts?

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.

What are we learning from the COVID-19 vaccine efforts?The race for COVID-19 vaccines won’t be the last vaccine race we’ll see. Vaccines for HIV are in the pipeline, scientists continue to work toward the elusive universal flu vaccine, and novel viruses we haven’t yet seen are likely in our future.

But the race for a COVID-19 vaccine has been a sprint compared to the marathon style of past vaccine development.

What does that mean for journalists covering development of the COVID-19 vaccine? How does this process differ from past ones, and what lessons and technologies might be applied to future vaccine efforts? How will society react when future vaccines become available? Continue reading

Covering a ‘twindemic:’ Flu, COVID-19 share at least one season

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.

A “twindemic” is what infectious disease experts are calling the possibility that both the COVID-19 and influenza viruses will sicken Americans this winter. How likely is that possibility and what are public health officials doing about it?

Experts, speaking at AHCJ’s Summit on Infectious Disease in November, discussed expectations about the coming flu season, how the health care system will handle the influx of both COVID-19 and flu patients, and how the flu, like COVID-19, disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx and other vulnerable communities. They also offer insights about what this year’s flu vaccination rates might mean for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. Continue reading

Finding data that can bolster your pandemic reporting

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.

Following the pandemic numbersEver since John Snow pieced together how cholera spread from a water pump in London in 1854, data has been key to learning how epidemics spread and what it will take to finish them off.

This recorded panel, from AHCJ’s Summit on Infectious Disease in November, features experts in biosecurity, vaccines and health disparities. Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

About Andrew Smiley

Andrew Smiley is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He is an assistant professor of professional practice at the Missouri School of Journalism. Smiley comes to AHCJ from a sports broadcasting background, including nearly a decade at the Golf Channel/NBC Sports and a decade at ESPN, where he won an Emmy.

welcome-matPlease welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ.

All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves. Continue reading

COVID relief bill bans some surprise medical bills, but not all

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.

us-capitolLeaders of both political parties in the U.S. House and Senate reached agreement Sunday to pass a $900 billion bill to stimulate the economy. That bill also included language supporting a long-sought plan to end surprise medical bills for some patients.

In addition, the bill will fund distribution of vaccines for the coronavirus and aid individuals and businesses struggling to pay their bills during the pandemic.

Members of the House and Senate passed the measure on Monday night as a deadline loomed to fund federal government operations through September. Continue reading