Tag Archives: nih

Seven journalists selected for 2016 AHCJ-National Library of Medicine Fellowships

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The journalists, from a wide range of outlets, will visit the National Institutes of Health in September. The visit will include 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 for exclusive informational sessions.

The fellowship program was created to increase reporters’ access and understanding of the considerable resources available at NLM and the National Institutes of Health.

Read more about the program and find out who was selected.

Have you earned your PubMed black belt?

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: Spirit-Fire via Flickr

Photo: Spirit-Fire via Flickr

It’s just about impossible to report on medical research without becoming intimately familiar with PubMed. But just because a reporter uses the database site doesn’t mean they’re getting the most out of it.

How often have you used a service, such as an email client or a social media site, for years when someone suddenly points out to you a shortcut or a feature you’ve never used and didn’t know existed? Chances are  that there’s at least one new skill you can pick up in Hilda Bastian’s tip sheet on using PubMed. Continue reading

How two U.S. health agencies are examining social determinants

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to healthcare. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to health care. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data is the new king of journalism, but when it comes to some aspects of the social sciences – such as the social determinants of health – the numbers can be a bit tricky to nail down.

That may be changing. The U.S. Department of Health recently announced two separate initiatives targeting health disparities.

First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month announced a pilot program to tie medical services for beneficiaries to housing, food, transportation and other social services. Continue reading

A problem with precision medicine: It’s not quite precise – at least not yet

Joseph Burns

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 joseph@healthjournalism.org.

At a conference last year, Michael Laposata, M.D., Ph.D., one of the nation’s best known pathologists, explained how clinical laboratories could deliver more value to patients, physicians, and health insurers. To do so, pathologists and laboratory scientists need to provide more detailed explanations about lab test results because even physicians who order genetic and molecular tests are often confused about the results, said Laposata, chairman of the Department of Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

When he explains test results to ordering physicians, he frequently refers to an “allele” which is one of two or more versions of a gene, he said. When he does, physicians sometimes ask, “What’s an allele?”

His anecdote is telling following President Obama’s announcement last month that he recommended spending $215 million on the precision medicine initiative. The announcement was correctly hailed as an important and needed investment in medical technology. “Precision medicine” is described by the National Institutes of Health as “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.” Continue reading

POGO fears disclosure rule is in jeopardy

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

A database that would document the financial ties between researchers who are funded by the The National Institutes of Health and medical companies is in jeopardy, according to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

Under the proposed requirement, NIH-funded researchers at medical schools and universities would have to publicly disclose their financial ties to medical companies. In March, POGO sent a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the NIH, urging him to implement this idea, which he had shown support for.

But POGO is concerned that the White House’s Office of Management
and Budget may weaken or block the rule. The organization has sent a letter to the OMB director in support of the rule.

Previously: NIH Proposes Rule to Shine Light on Potential Conflicts of Interest

Video, presentations from comparative effectiveness conference available online

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Earlier this month, ECRI’s 17th annual conference tackled the thorniest detail of comparative effectiveness research, namely that it’s rarely a simple matter of A > B. Groups and individuals respond differently.

With a theme of “Comparative Effectiveness and Personalized Medicine,” the nonprofit and its partners at NIH and Health Affairs, among others, sought to better understand how big research ideas will interface with the person-by-person decisions through which such work will ultimately be implemented.

The conference has a detailed postmortem online, including two days of video (Fair warning: Together, they’re a good 700+ minutes of conference) and slides from a number of the presentations. I strongly recommend using the conference schedule listed on the slides page as a rough guide to finding the most relevant bits of video.

In case you’re looking for a place to start, here are two of the most relevant presentations:

The online Q and A is also interesting, though there are only a handful of answers up at present. The most relevant one so far comes from Vivian Coates (Vice President, Information Services and Health Technology Assessment, ECRI Institute), in response to a query about a central listing of comparative effectiveness projects.

The CER inventory contract was awarded to the Lewin Group Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) in June, 2010. Over the 27 month period of the contract, Lewin will design, build and launch a web-based inventory that catalogs CER outputs and activity, including research studies, relevant research methods, training of researchers, data infrastructure and approaches for dissemination and translation of comparative effectiveness research to health care providers and patients.