The Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, the educational arm of the Association of Health Care Journalists, has been awarded a grant of nearly $1.1 million to improve training resources for health journalists.
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust made the three-year grant of $1,097,000 to the Missouri-based center to increase the range of training opportunities for current journalists and to help develop new health journalists across the country.
“The real stories on the state of health care can be found at the local level,” said Len Bruzzese, executive director of AHCJ. “The Helmsley Trust’s generous support will allow us to expand our training in underserved geographic areas and in underreported topic areas to better assist local reporters in telling those stories.”
The funding will support the annual conference of the association, starting with Health Journalism 2011 this spring in Philadelphia; regional workshops on niche health topics; an annual rural health journalism workshop; and three conference fellowship programs assisting ethnic media, rural reporters and journalists on non-health beats who routinely face health-related stories, such as education, environment, business and government.
Significantly, the funding will allow the continuation – and expansion – of an intense regional fellowship program that has trained dozens of journalists in Kansas and Missouri over the past four years. Each year, the new AHCJ-Regional Health Journalism Fellowships program will select 10-12 reporters, editors and producers from a different region of the country for customized training. The yearlong fellowships are meant to improve abilities to provide meaningful coverage of critical issues and assist and motivate fellows to increase such coverage.
The funding also will allow updates to the technology used to produce the association’s website, www.healthjournalism.org, and to increase the resources available there. The site assists reporters working on health-related stories with tip sheets, reporting guides, government data, training presentations and resource links.
“As America struggles with access and the rising cost of health care, it is important that the information on choice and cost is available to the consumers. New technology allows consumers to manage their healthcare closer to home and at less cost. Giving journalists access to information on those technologies is important to the Helmsley Charitable Trust,” noted Rural Healthcare Program Director Shelley Stingley. Continue reading