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AHCJ webcasts 

NYC's first lady speaks about mental health care

Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City and founder of ThriveNYC, discussed urban initiatives for mental health reform as the keynote speaker at the 2018 Urban Health Journalism Workshop in New York City on Oct. 19, 2018.

AHCJ Webcast

Social determinants, opioids and infectious disease deaths

August 2018
Deaths from infectious diseases steadily declined in the U.S. between 1980 and 2014, but not everywhere. There were large differences between some states, where rates either didn't decline or rose for certain diseases. The disparities were especially apparent in regions hard hit by the opioid epidemic and in communities that are less economically prosperous. Two public health leaders who are working on the front-lines of the opioid crisis talk about how they are working to address the impact of social determinants on infectious disease death rates and will provide reporters with ideas on where to find stories in their community.

Responsible, accurate reporting on addiction
August 2017
Reporting on addiction can be challenging because there are so many facets to the big picture and so many pitfalls resulting from stigma about addiction. Sometimes stories don't focus enough on withdrawal and recovery aspects of addiction. Sometimes an article inadvertently reinforces stereotypes or stigmatizing misconceptions, such as portraying addiction as a moral failing rather than a chronic disease.

Violence as a public health emergency
April 2017
As we’ve become more effective in preventing or treating classic infectious diseases, homicide and suicide have continued to climb the causes-of-death ladder. If behavior modifications can greatly reduce the toll of heart disease, cancer and stroke, reason public health professionals, then addressing the behavioral and situational issues behind violent and suicidal actions also can result in saved lives. Our speakers at this Health Journalism 2017 roundtable study, explain and implement efforts to change the underlying conditions that foster and spread violence, whether it be guns on the street, bullying in schools, abuse in relationships or the taking of one’s own life. They believe there are public health interventions that can turn the tide.
Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director, American Public Health Association
Rachel A. Davis, M.S.W., managing director, Prevention Institute
Gary Slutkin, M.D., chief executive officer, Cure Violence
Moderator: Andrea K. McDaniels, health and medicine reporter, The Baltimore Sun

Healthy neighborhoods: Covering new approaches to well-being
May 2017
Public health experts from Purpose Built Communities and Build Healthy Places Network offer journalists insights into growing efforts to tackle the social determinants of health with an eye on communities at-large. Amid increasing recognition that one’s neighborhood can impact health as much as – if not more than – other medical factors, this webcast will look at specific steps some cities and other areas are taking to address health with a more holistic lens by looking at space, redevelopment, affordable housing and more.

Where Medicaid stands: From the AHCA to state waivers
May 2017
This webcast focused on how the AHCA would impact states and Medicaid beneficiaries, how a system of per capita caps would work, what we learned from the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, and how states might respond to new waiver flexibility from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. We examine these issues from both the federal and state perspective, and from the perspective of reporters covering this important issue.

Medicare: What would it take to add a dental benefit?
November 2016
This webcast featured Beth Truett, president and chief executive officer of Oral Health America, a national advocacy organization that is focused upon improving the oral health of older Americans. She talked about a growing push to add a dental benefit to Medicare and the findings of new research by her group on the oral health of multigenerational "grandfamilies."

The long view on lead: Covering the crisis from Flint and beyond
November 2016
Public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner, authors of “Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children,” offer their take on the nation’s long fight against lead poisoning and its devastating health impact. The discussion includes how the environment impacts the health struggles of various communities as well as how those health struggles have been tackled over time, particularly when it comes to children, race and equality. The webcast provides context and ideas for those covering environmental health, public health or specific readership areas.

Covering consumers: Tackling costs, pricing and access

August 2016
Nearly every health care reporter comes across this challenge daily: how to account for costs? Whether writing about the uninsured, drug prices, insurance plans or the business of heath care, journalists are constantly wading through complex web of pricing and related issues. Consumer Union’s Lynn Quincy discussed how to navigate the challenge of health care costs, from finding transparent information on costs and quality to understanding the wide price variations for seemingly similar care.

Health literacy: How language, context affects disparities

May 2016
Social media, video and a host of other technological changes have a daily impact on health journalism coverage – but what about their messaging to patients, caregivers and others?

We will take a look at how the language and information facing today’s population is impacting people’s health across the country with Rima Rudd, a founder in the field of health literacy studies and a leading researcher exploring this aspect of health communication.

During the webcast, we explore how health literacy impacts people’s ability to make health care decisions, the impact of technology, and the role of culture in assessing how people view health and treatments. We examine specific language and context, and we’ll discuss how journalists covering health can play a role.

Covering the special health challenges of LGBTQ youth

December 2015
LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for mental health, substance abuse and other health issues, yet are less likely to get health care.

Despite growing attention to these health challenges, health care providers, insurers, families and even youth themselves are grappling with how to address such disparities.

Susan Heavey, AHCJ's topic leader on the social determinants of health and health disparities, discussed ongoing and unique challenges facing LGBT youth with Lawrence D’Angelo, M.D., M.P.H., division chief of adolescent and young adult medicine at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C and director of the hospital's Youth Pride Clinic.

Rhiannon Meyers takes you behind diabetes coverage

Rhiannon MeyersJuly 2013
Meyers, a reporter at the The (Corpus Christi, Texas) Caller-Times is examining the scourge of diabetes in the region.

At the midway point of the yearlong series, she discusses what the series discovered so far. Meyers, recipient of an AHCJ Reporting Fellowship on Health Care Performance, also shares what's to come, including a piece that takes readers inside the operating room for a behind-the-scenes look at weight loss surgery and its effect on Type 2 diabetes.

Presentations from 'Multicultural health in the Bay Area: The untold story'

Multicultural health in the Bay Area: The untold story was a 2007 AHCJ workshop in San Francisco.

Uncovered stories in multicultural communities:

Covering the multicultural community with limited resources:

Video & audio

Climate Change and Health Equity: Using a Local Tool to Support Action

Race in Medicine: Genetic Variation, Social Categories, and Paths to Health Equity

From the New England Journal of Medicine: The new Perspective Roundtable on Race in Medicine, in which experts from diverse clinical and biomedical fields discuss complex questions about race in medicine and how to build a system of equitable health for all.

Injustice Laid Bare: A Pandemic’s Revelation in American Healthcare

Achieving Health Equity for People with Disabilities During the Pandemic and Beyond

In the United States, one in four adults has a disability and the pandemic has disproportionately impacted this community and made it more difficult to access care. Some people with disabilities were more likely to become infected with or have a severe illness from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions or living situations. The pandemic also affected their psychological and financial health, with people with disabilities experiencing higher rates of unemployment than the general population. While individuals with disabilities were often given higher priority status for receiving the vaccine, many of the COVID-19 vaccine websites violated disability rights, hindering access.

This webinar explored these challenges and showcase strategies to address the diverse needs of people living with disabilities and work toward health equity.

"The answer is yes"

D. Anthony Fauci says he considers institutional racism to be a contributing factor to the disproportionate coronavirus death toll for black Americans.

Health in Rural America: Innovative Solutions to Address Disparities

November 2019

America is facing a complex rural health crisis. Increasing urbanization leaves behind an older, sicker, and poorer population in rural America that may struggle with social determinants of health like access to medical care and healthy meals. These challenges contribute to rural-urban health inequities in rates of chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes. Despite the odds, leaders are leveraging the unique strengths of rural communities to develop and implement promising solutions.

This webinar explored disparities in rural health and initiatives designed to close those gaps. Speakers discussed:

  • An overview of racial and geographic inequities in rural America

  • Federal strategies to promote state innovation in rural health care delivery

  • How Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is working to increase medical residency positions across the state in response to an aging rural physician population

  • How a Texas health plan and local university are leveraging technology to address barriers to accessing care in rural communities

  • How the closure of hospital obstetric units in rural communities can lead to negative health outcomes like preterm births


John Oliver, Larry David and Wanda Sykes Give Medical Bias the Last Week Tonight Treatment

John Oliver, Wanda Sykes, and Larry David teamed up to help fight reported bias in medical care on "Last Week Tonight" on Aug. 25, 2019.

How climate change impacts people of color
Ultimately, climate change is going to affect all living life, but right now it is hitting one community more than others. CNN's Bill Weir has the details

Treatment overkill
Watch @LizSzabo and an expert panel discuss her #TreatmentOverkill series and the $210-billion problem of unnecessary care.

#HealthEquity‪ is an issue in cardiology. Doctors, listen to your female patients! Victor Okunrintemi discusses his findings.

How one woman survived her mental illness isolated in jail with only the voices in her head for company

This clip is part of a much larger multimedia story about mental illness in U.S. prisons, by Gary Harki and team at The Virginian-Pilot. The video features one of the people affected by her experience of having a mental illness and being incarcerated. It accompanies text reporting on her personal experience as someone with schizophrenia who was jailed without care for her condition being provided. She was kept in jail without trial on misdemeanor charges for two years.

Rural Health Care in America

The Senate Finance Committee examines health care in rural areas, particularly the role and financial sustainability of hospitals in less populated rural and frontier parts of the United States. The hearing, entitled “Rural Health Care in America: Challenged and Opportunities,” looks at payment policies, including with Medicare and Medicaid, as well as access to emergency departments and services. It also discusses the impact of a population that in many cases is older with more chronic conditions and higher mortality rates. Expert witnesses include representatives from the University of Iowa’s RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, NC Rural Health Research Program Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Pennsylvania-based Geisinger’s Glenn Steele Institute of Health Innovation; Midwestern-based UnityPoint Health; and Colorado-based regional health care provider San Luis Valley Health.

Treating Childhood Trauma

CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program examines the impact of adversity on children and their development, and the new science and other efforts to understand and address it . The piece looks at the effects of childhood trauma such as post-traumatic  stress disorder and suicide risk.  The segment, by Oprah Winfrey, also weighs efforts to grapple with such adverse childhood experiences and ‘scores’ health care providers are now using to help address it through so-called trauma-informed care . CBS’s piece was inspired by A Time to Heal by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s John Schmid.

Reuters: The painful truth of physician burnout

Doctors can also be impacted by the social determinants of health. Reuters takes a look at recent studies about how physician burnout can increase medical errors, suicide rates and other serious issues among doctors providing care.

PBS/KHN: Housing and Health

Health journalist Sarah Varney takes a closer look at the impact of housing on individuals’ health. Her December 2017 piece, Giving poor families more choices in where to live can greatly improve health, examines the effects of moving to less segregated neighborhoods and the impact some family relocation programs are having.

MSNBC: One Nation Overdosed

Jacob Soboroff examines the cause of the deadliest drug crisis in American history.

The Hill: America’s Opioid Epidemic: Aging and Addiction

With much of the nation’s attention on the ongoing opioid crisis focused on younger Americans, The Hill takes a look at how U.S. seniors are also impacted by drug misuse and addiction. The sponsored panel discussion, broken down in four parts, includes a discussion with U.S. lawmakers, a look at preventing misuse, and strategies to help stem the problem. Speakers range from federal health officials and the National Council on Aging’s senior director to substance abuse experts from Brandeis University and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Unnatural Causes

This PBS series explores various examples of socio-economic and racial inequities on people’s health.. Over four hours, it examines wealth and employment, immigration and ethnicity/race as well as the impact of geography, infant mortality and other factors. From Louisville, Ky., and Greenville, Mich., to the Marshal Islands and the home of the Pima and Tohono O’odham Indians in southern Arizona, the 2008 series still offers reporters an introduction to ongoing issues that still challenge the healthcare sector (and includes an update online). The series website also includes resources such as data tools, handouts and a list of experts on the issues featured.

Senate hearing on healthy choices and outcomes

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee examined the impact of individuals’ decisions choices and behavior on health at an Oct. 19, 2017, hearing entitled “Examining How Health Choices Can Improve health Outcomes and Reduce Costs.” Speakers include Cleveland Clinic Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Michael Roizen and Jennifer Mathis, head of policy and legal advocacy at the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, among others.

Breaking the Cycle: Health, Poverty, and the Social Determinants of Health

Courtney Martin, the co-founder of Solutions Journalism Network, discusses the social determinants of health at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The June 2017 panel, entitledDeep Dive: Breaking the Cycle: Health, Poverty, and the Social Determinants of Health,” looks at the impact of relationships as well as building systems around social determinants of health. Speakers include Aetna Foundation President and University of Connecticut School of Medicine cardiologist Garth Graham, who formerly led the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among others.

One Nation Overdosed
MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff examined the nation’s opioid epidemic and its hold on Ohio in a three-part series on the ongoing drug crisis. The compelling series looks at the growing role of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid far stronger – and deadlier – than heroin. A coroner in one Ohio county estimated about 70 percent of deaths there are drug-driven, calling it “a mass casualty event.” The 2017 series also looks at the role of jails in treating addicts. 

The Health-Care Cost of Homelessness

In the past year, Los Angeles has dedicated billions of dollars towards housing the homeless. The effort is, in part, aimed at addressing the city’s exorbitant health-care spending on this population. Housing is now widely understood to be the best health intervention for the homeless population, who experience far more hospitalizations than those with homes. However, a critical step in this new effort is actually connecting the city’s homeless population, many of whom are very wary of services, to the these new resources.

What is Resilience?
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University offers its take.

Proximity to clogged highways could increase risk of Alzheimer's, dementia
Reuters examined new data on the impact of living near pollution can affect one’s risk of degenerative diseases. The piece looks at a University of Southern California study on how such particles can affect inflammation and related plaque that may increase Alzheimer's and dementia.

Aspen Forum on Children and Families
The Aspen Institute’s January 2017 forum examined the well-being of children and their families, including boosting education and economic stability. Speakers included representatives from the American Enterprise Institute; First Focus; U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican; U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat; the Bezos Family Foundation, the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, among others. 

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy: How 'America's Doctor' sees opioids, gun violence and more

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy joined Politico's "Pulse Check" podcast to discuss the role of the surgeon general (starts at the 2:20 mark), why he's focused on getting Americans walking (10:10 mark), how he sees the nation's opioid problem (15:00), how he picks his priorities (24:00) and whether he thinks the surgeon general can truly be independent on issues like gun violence (30:30).

The Open Mind: Poisoning America

Public health historian David Rosner on origins of the lead epidemic in Flint and beyond.

Health Care Consolidation: What You Need to Know

The Alliance for Health Reform hosted a discussion about health care consolidation on Dec. 15, 2015. A top Federal Trade Commission official, along with key experts, met with reporters to discuss the recent surge in health care consolidation; the driving forces behind this trend; and the implications for policymakers and enforcers. 

In 2014, there were a total of 1,299 mergers and acquisitions in the health care sector – a record number, up from 1,035 the year before. That includes a recent spike in pharmaceutical transactions, including inversions, which base U.S. drug companies overseas. 

Speakers provide the latest information about the roles of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission; efforts by policymakers; the scope and extent of consolidation among doctors, hospitals, insurers and pharmaceutical companies; and implications for consumers and other stakeholders. 

  • Deborah Feinstein, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition 

  • Andrea Murino, partner and co-chair of Goodwin Procter’s antitrust practice 

  • George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumers Union  

  • Alan Weil of Health Affairs and Marilyn Serafini of the Alliance for Health Reform moderated. 

A transcript of the discussion is available.

Alliance for Health Reform: Quarterly media briefings, which you can subscribe to on YouTube, tackle a variety of health policy topics. The Dec. 11, 2015 panel, for example, looked at the health needs of former federal and state prisoners.

Understanding the economic impact of obesity

May 2015
A  Look at the Lifetime Economic Costs of Obesity: The Brookings Institution’s Center for Social Dynamics and Policy and the University of California-Davis’ World Food Center host a forum in Washington on the impact of U.S. obesity rates, including new research on the costs of the condition.

Harvard professor Robert Sampson on social infrastructure

The resilience of cities depends on the social infracture as well as the physical. Robert Sampson talks about ways to measure the social ecology of urban enironments to help strengthen neighborhoods.

Social capital and health: A cautionary tale from Roseto, Pa.

Roseto, Pa., was settled by Italian immigrants who were found to have astonishingly low rates of heart disease in the 1950s. Ichiro Kawachi, chair of Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, explains why Roseto is a cautionary tale in regards to social capital and a recession.

Harvard Public Health Magazine Extra: Social Capital & Health from Harvard School of Public Health on Vimeo.

Social Progress Index 2014

This video explains a new index comparing nations on ‘social progress’ and not just economic productivity: 

“A broader and more inclusive model of development requires new metrics with which policymakers and citizens can evaluate national performance. We must move beyond simply measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and make social and environmental measurement integral to national performance measurement. Tracking social and environmental performance rigorously will inform and drive improvement in policy choices and investments by all stakeholders. Measuring social progress will also help to better translate economic gains into better social and environmental performance, which will unleash even greater economic success.”

Michael Marmot: Putting fairness at the heart of policy-making

Michael MarmotMichael Marmot famously showed that the link between socioeconomic status and health, the SES-health gradient, persists even among people in the middle and upper ranges of social advantage. He is a passionate speaker – and fearless critic of policies that, in his view, perpetuate social inequality and undermine public health. Here, for example, is what he says about the high rate of child poverty in the U.S.:

"The U.S. looks a lot like Latvia. You have elected not to use taxes and transfers to reduce child poverty. You as a society have made a decision that child poverty is what you want. I can only assume that's the case. Otherwise you would do what European countries are doing and use taxes and transfers to reduce child poverty."

Marmot delivered the keynote address at the Second Annual Symposium on the Social Determinants of Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in April 2013.

Healthy neighborhoods: Covering new approaches to well-being


Public health experts from Purpose Built Communities and Build Healthy Places Network will offer journalists insights into growing efforts to tackle the social determinants of health with an eye on communities at-large.

Amid increasing recognition that one’s neighborhood can impact health as much as – if not more than – other medical factors, this webcast will look at specific steps some cities and other areas are taking to address health with a more holistic lens by looking at space, redevelopment, affordable housing and more.