Open to AHCJ members: Virtual Rural Health Journalism Workshop

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the director of education for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2021Leading rural health experts will highlight AHCJ’s upcoming Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2021 – a virtual event scheduled for June 21-23.

Like last fall’s virtual Journalism Summit on Infectious Disease, the June workshop will bring together journalists with health care and policy experts. This time, the focus will be the stories – both pandemic-related and longstanding concerns – in rural areas, with 60 million residents.

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Fixing the public health system for the next pandemic

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.

Hotel floor sticker

Photo: Bryan Alexander via Flickr

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed by Congress last month, will be sending about $100 billion into the U.S. public health system — money which is badly needed. But it isn’t enough for the long-term to prepare for the next pandemic.

The pandemic laid bare what had long been known — the nation’s federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public health agencies have been underfunded for decades. When SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began spreading, public health departments were so understaffed and working with such antiquated information systems that they could not respond to the fast-spreading pathogen quickly. Continue reading

All-star conference panel ponders aging’s future

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: Laurent Morand via Flickr

For most of humankind’s existence, the average life expectancy was around 18 years. It’s only in the past century that advances in public health, medicine, and social services have enabled many of us to reach very old age. And we’re still at the beginning of a longevity revolution.

But when it comes to living longer, the United States is only somewhere in the middle compared with the rest of the world, according to the World Health Organization. Although we spend almost twice as much on health care as any other nation, 33 other countries boast longer life expectancies. That’s why we need to consider health span as well as lifespan, rethink how our medical systems care for aging adults and address the need for well paid, well-trained caregivers, according to an expert panel at the opening keynote of the American Society on Aging’s annual conference, which was held virtually this year due to the pandemic. Continue reading

New data resource lists research on infection prevention from COVID-19 vaccines

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.

Coronavirus CG Illustration

Photo: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr

Since the COVID-19 vaccines were authorized by the FDA, one of the big questions has been how well they prevent transmission of the COVID-19 even among those who have been vaccinated. The clinical trials used disease — an infection with symptoms — as the endpoint because stopping severe disease and death was the most important priority. In addition, it’s very difficult to develop a vaccine that creates sterilizing immunity, the type of immunity that prevents infection — the virus’s ability to enter cells and begin replicating. Continue reading

Report discusses how ‘public option’ may put pressure on commercial health plans

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

"Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets", American Medical Association, 2020

Source: “Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets,” American Medical Association, 2020.

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t received wide coverage, so far but may become an important resource for journalists in the coming months if Democrats in the U.S. Congress seek to increase competition in health insurance markets nationwide. It also could be a useful resource if any state seeks to develop a public option. Continue reading