Prizes go to AHCJ membership survey raffle winners

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.

Dear AHCJ members,

In April we asked for your feedback for a membershipwide survey on AHCJ’s benefits and offerings – and you delivered! We are grateful for all who took the opportunity to lend your voice to the future of our organization.

The winners of our two random participation raffles are below. Congratulations! Continue reading

New tip sheet helps you find sources during virtual conferences

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: Roy Blumenthal via Flickr

As someone who was used to covering multiple medical conferences in person each year, 2020 was a big shift. I had to adapt to covering conferences virtually.

On the one hand, it was great: I got to sit in my home, eat my own (far less expensive) food, and watch many of the presentations on my own time instead of racing from one end of a convention center to another. Continue reading

Worst of COVID may be yet to come in Africa

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 the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and other outlets.

Transmission electron micrograph of two SARS-CoV-2 virus particles

Photo: NIAID via Flickr

For global health reporters watching for the next COVID-19 story, health officials warn that all eyes should remain on Africa, where COVID-19 could spread uncontrollably.

Though the surge of COVID-19 cases that occurred in South Africa earlier in 2021 has somewhat eased, there is potential for new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter Africa via visitors other hotspots, such as India, and quickly overwhelm already weakened health systems in many African countries.

“A lot of countries actually assume that the worst is over because (they think) the African population for some reason is different, (that) it is a young population (or there were) prior infections or something (that) might have protected them innately … but Africa is not out of the woods yet,” University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medicine Dawd Siraj, M.D. said during a May 12 Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing on global health and COVID-19. “Look at India; everyone assumed India had dodged a bullet and now look at what is happening. My fear is that the worst is yet to come” in Africa. Continue reading

Grow your freelance business with resources from AHCJ 

About Barbara Mantel

Barbara Mantel (@BJMantel), an independent journalist, is AHCJ’s freelance community correspondent. Her work has appeared in outlets that include CQ Researcher, Rural Health Quarterly, Undark, Healthline, and NPR. Barbara is helping AHCJ members find the resources they need to succeed as freelancers and welcomes suggestions at

Closeup of person taking notes

Photo: Security & Defence Agenda via Flickr

Freelancers are always looking for resources to help find sources for stories, identify editors, improve pitches, connect with colleagues and run our small businesses. AHCJ is a rich source of material.

Moderated email discussion list: Join this community for support, encouragement and practical information from your fellow AHCJ members. It’s a great place to ask about possible sources to interview or for suggestions about outlets to pitch a particular story idea. (Click on “Networking” at the top of the AHCJ home page or

Market Guides: This is where freelancers can find out what assigning editors at specific outlets want from writers. We ask editors to share information about fees, length of stories, where and how to pitch and common mistakes freelancers make when pitching story ideas. Currently, there are eighteen guides, including Scientific American and the BMJ. The guides are being updated and their number expanded. (Click on the “Freelancers” tab on the AHCJ homepage or Continue reading

COVID-19 lockdown yielded positive benefits for some older adults, study suggests

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic leader on aging. Her work has appeared in, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News 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.

Older man wearing mask in UK

Photo: Neil Moralee via Flickr

An interesting study out of the UK found that the COVID-19 lockdown was a catalyst for many older people to embrace technology to reconnect with friends and build new relationships with neighbors. The findings are a counterpoint to other research documenting the toll that loneliness and social isolation has been taking on many elders during the pandemic.

Understanding the coping mechanisms adopted by some older adults during the pandemic will play a key role in developing interventions to help tackle loneliness, isolation and well-being in the future. Continue reading