For the past few days, Consumer Reports‘ Jamie Hirsh has been filing dispatches from what she calls “health journalist heaven,” otherwise known as the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md. She and five other health reporters were there on an AHCJ-NLM Health Journalism Fellowship.
The National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md. Photo by rex libris
Not only is it the largest medical library in the world, Hirsh writes, it’s also relatively immune to nuclear attack, courtesy of an underground vault. Also, thanks to exhaustive databases of both research and clinical trials, it’s also a spectacular resource for health journalists.
Six journalists have been named to this year’s class of AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows. The fellowship program was created to increase reporters’ access and understanding of the considerable resources available at NLM and the National Institutes of Health.
The fellows, selected from dozens of qualified applicants, will visit the NIH campus in September for hands-on workshops about how to use and get the most from several government research databases, such as PubMed, MedlinePlus, ClinicalTrials.gov and ToxNet. Fellows also will meet with senior NLM and NIH researchers and officials.
The journalists chosen to take part this year are:
- Karla Gale, medical journalist, Reuters Health
- Jamie Hirsh, associate health editor, Consumer Reports
- Sally James, independent journalist, Seattle
- Sandra Jordan, health reporter, St. Louis American
- Hiran Ratnayake, health reporter, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal
- Miriam E. Tucker, senior writer, International Medical News Group/Elsevier
“We were very happy to be able to work with the Library of Medicine to offer this fellowship again this year,” said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese. “Last year’s fellows found the information and instruction very valuable in attempting and completing more complicated stories.”