Tag Archives: language

Simple language helps convey health information

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, 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: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

As I was scanning posters during last spring’s American Society on Aging’s conference, I spotted one presentation that stopped me in my tracks. It wasn’t about a novel piece of research or a study which made overarching claims about a new drug or program.

Rather, it was a simple, straightforward demonstration from Alzheimer’s Los Angeles on the importance of communicating with family caregivers in plain language. Continue reading

Identity-first vs. person-first language is an important distinction

Tara Haelle

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: U.S. Army IMCOM via Flickr

Freelance journalist Cassandra Willyard recently asked me on Twitter about resources on the use of appropriate, respectful language when it comes to how we identify the people who are living with various conditions or disabilities.

It was in response to an excellent question by biomedical research writer Kim Krieger about the acceptability of referring to someone with a condition as a descriptor, such as “epileptic child” or “diabetic adults.” Those constructions are called “identity-first” language, as opposed to “person-first” language where the person literally comes first: “children with epilepsy” and “adults with diabetes.” Continue reading

New data section offers statistics and info on disability in America

Tara Haelle

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.

What do depression, diabetes, dyslexia, prosthetics, hearing loss, obesity and heart disease all have in common? All are considered disabilities or associated with increased risk of disability. About a quarter of American adults have some type of disability, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including two in five adults over age 65.

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Careful language important when reporting on transgender health issues

Tara Haelle

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: Immanuel Brändemo via Flickr

Using appropriate terminology when reporting on medical studies is important not only for the sake of accuracy and clarity, but also to avoid causing harm to populations by using specialized but often misused terms.

This can be especially true when reporting on transgender people, a population now battling a proposal by the Trump administration proposal that in effect would define them “out of existence” as far as government programs, regulations and funding are concerned, as the New York Times recently reported. It’s more important than ever for journalists to avoid inappropriate terminology when reporting on this population. Continue reading

’13 Reasons Why:’ Are you ready for coverage of sensitive topics?

Tara Haelle

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.

The second season of 13 Reasons Why, a controversial teen drama TV show, premiered May 18 on Netflix. Throughout its first season, loosely based on the award-winning book by Jay Asher, the show dealt in great detail with the suicide of a high school student, including its precursors and its aftermath. Now, the show has already drawn criticism for a rape scene this season. Continue reading

Be sure terminology about transgender-related studies is appropriate

Tara Haelle

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.

By Rumpusparable via Wikimedia Commons

More and more medical studies are focusing on research about transgender individuals: demographics, surgeries, insurance coverage, unique health needs, prevalence of mental health conditions, pregnancy, hormone therapy and any number of other issues and research questions related to transgender identity. That means journalists covering these studies need to be sure they are using appropriate terminology and not inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes or stigma. Continue reading