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AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowship

12/04/11 - 12/08/11     Atlanta, GA

AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowships logo♦ Need inspiration?
♦ Story ideas?
♦ How about new sources?
♦ What if you could visit labs and watch researchers tackle the latest public health issues?

That's what AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellows get ... for free:

"This was a great opportunity to access the most up-to-date information about some of the biggest health issues I cover. We learned a month’s worth of information in only four days."
– Kate Daily, Newsweek

"You must offer this fellowship program again! I wish every member of the AHCJ could attend. There's no question that it's an experience that will improve my reporting. These briefings really pulled back the curtain on many of the CDC's activities. I have enough story ideas to keep me busy for years!"
– Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio

Marshall Allen (right), a Las Vegas Sun reporter, speaks to Grant Baldwin, Ph.D., director of the CDC’s Injury Center, about interpreting child safety data for localizing stories.Marshall Allen (right), a Las Vegas Sun reporter, speaks to Grant Baldwin, Ph.D., director of the CDC’s Injury Center, about interpreting child safety data for localizing stories, during the 2008 fellowship.

About the fellowships

AHCJ has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – with the support of the CDC Foundation – for this national fellowship program for journalists. Ten fellows will be chosen to spend a week studying public health issues at two CDC campuses. The AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellows will:

  • attend sessions on epidemiology, global disease prevention efforts, pandemic flu preparedness, climate change, vaccine safety, obesity, autism and more
  • tour the CDC director's National Emergency Operations Center
  • meet new sources on policy and research
  • learn how to tap the agency's abundant resources to produce better stories

The competitive fellowships are open to professional journalists working in the United States. The fellowships include membership, travel, lodging and meals. The fellowship dates are Dec. 4-8, 2011.

Applications will be due in October.

Still not convinced? Here's more from former fellows:

"As a magazine freelancer, I was brimming with story ideas after leaving the fellowship, and I soon put that information to use in articles for Good Housekeeping, Reader's Digest, More, Parenting and other publications." That's what fellow Meryl Davids Landau, a freelance writer based in Florida, said about the fellowship. In "Eight months later, freelancer still generating story ideas from fellowship," she writes about meeting top officials at the CDC, briefings from experts on health issues from genomics to infectious diseases to child safety and more. She says they learned about navigating databases such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and CDC publications.

And if you've ever wanted to tell the CDC what to do, be inspired by fellow JoNel Aleccia who suggested they send media their tentative Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report lineup the day before publication, something that was implemented and is still in practice.

The Las Vegas Sun's Marshall Allen, who was a member of first class of AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellows, learned that avian flu was still a danger. Elizabeth Fernandez of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the CDC's efforts to uncover what causes autism. Modern Healthcare’s Jessica Zigmond wrote about the enthusiasm she encountered among public health experts at the CDC. She says it allowed her to find an expert who “not only had great interest in his work, but who also seemed genuinely interested in sharing that information with a group of 11 journalists, all of whom had different backgrounds, interests and goals.”

"Great idea and execution from AHCJ. Thoughtful and balanced approach. A unique experience that I can’t get anywhere else. A classroom and time on the beat can’t give this combination of education and up-close interview access. I got a mix of quick hit news, light feature, in-depth weekender and investigation. I have about eight concrete ideas I can definitely use."
– Mary Shedden, The Tampa Tribune

"Overall, a very informative, helpful program that aided my knowledge and understanding of public health coverage."
– Ginger Rough, The Arizona Republic

"It's been a great opportunity to connect with sources and hear about issues that fly under the radar. It will significantly improve my understanding and coverage of CDC-related health issues. Great access to top level sources. This conference provided that personal connection that can make the difference in timely, relevant response."
– JoNel Aleccia, health writer, MSNBC.com