February 2019 In this hour-long webcast hosted by the Wiley Network, Mark D. Fielder, professor of medical microbiology at Kingston University London explains the origin of antibiotic resistance, why it is a global issue that affects humans, animals and the environmental and details the multiple research projects being conducted by his team. Among the most promising of his research projects are several new diagnostic tools that may help physicians and veterinarians determine what kind bacteria a person or animal is infected with to better tailor medical treatments and reduce the overuse of antibiotics.
January 2019 Climate change has many impacts on public health, including the transmission of infectious diseases. Changes in temperature and rainfall mean that mosquitos and ticks that transmit disease become more plentiful and affect more regions of the U.S. and the rest of the world. More destructive storms destroy public health infrastructure and expose more people to water-borne diseases. Changes in humidity increase the risk of illnesses being spread through bodily fluids. Learn more about these impacts from two environmental health experts and story ideas to illuminate how climate change is changing the spread of disease in animals and people.
November 2018 After years of decline, the number of sexually transmitted disease diagnoses in the U.S. is on the rise. The CDC found in 2017, there were nearly 2.3 million confirmed cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, up more than 9 percent from 2016. Public health officials say the U.S. now has the highest STD rates in the industrialized world. Our panelists discuss why this is happening and what journalists need to know. They also suggest some story ideas to explore and resources for reporters.
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.
April 2018 As adults age, so do their immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases like the flu, shingles and pneumonia. Yet adult vaccinations are low in the U.S., which can result in costly hospitalizations and other medical interventions. This panel will explore some of the reasons for low adult vaccination rates, which range from the failure of insurers to cover adult vaccines to lack of information from health providers.
The Challenges of Covering Infectious Disease Outbreaks
January 2018 SARS. Bird flu. Ebola. Zika. Outbreaks of new or re-emerging diseases keep coming, and science, society and the media always seem to be caught off guard. This session, presented in San Francisco as part of the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists, was organized by the Association of Health Care Journalists. Panelists explored the causes of the dramatic rise in infectious disease outbreaks — from ecological disruption and booming travel to human behavior and the advent of the megacity. They discussed what may be in store in the years ahead, including the growing risk of bioterrorist events like the 2001 anthrax attacks that paralyzed the U.S. East Coast. Finally, they asked whether the world is better prepared now than a decade ago, examined the challenges that journalists face during disease outbreaks, and evaluated how the media have done in the recent past.
Is the U.S. prepared for a flu pandemic? October 2017 Next year, 2018, will mark 100 years since the Spanish flu swept the world, killing as many as 100 million people. Now that we are at the beginning of this year's flu season, what are the deadly strains that are circulating and how likely is a pandemic flu? What is the state of preparation if a pandemic flu in the United States if one were to strike? What about the world?
Covering antibiotic resistance in the post-antibiotic world December 2017 The threat of antibiotic resistance continues to grow. About 2 million Americans annually contract an antibiotic resistant bacteria and 23,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some cases, resistant bacteria have already meant patients are living in a "post-antibiotic" world. In 2016, a Nevada woman died after developing an illness from bacteria that were resistant to all approved antibiotics in the U.S. How are these bugs spreading? What is the U.S. doing to halt their spread? And how can reporters cover antibiotic resistance in their communities? Two CDC officials talk to reporters about this evolving story.
In this webcast panel discussion from Oct. 11, 2019, Helen Boucher, Director, Tufts Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance (CIMAR) and Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, Lauri Hicks, Director, Office of Antibiotic Stewardship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Marc Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator), and Professor of Law, Boston University discussion the growing crisis of antimicrobial resistance and efforts of public health and business leaders to address the growing problem of more and more pathogens becoming resistant to antimicrobials.
Understanding the microbiome
On August 22, SciLine, a free media resource offered by the American Association for the Advance of Science, hosted a webcast on understanding the microbiome. Speakers were Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Lita Proctor, coordinator of the Human Microbiome Project at the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Anna Seekatz, assistant professor in the Biological Sciences Department at Clemson University.
Mosquitos and ticks
SciLine, a free service for journalists offered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, hosted a briefing with CDC officials and scientists on the topic of mosquitos and ticks and what journalists need to know. This is an excellent video for gaining a background in understanding these vectors, which transmit Lyme Disease, malaria and other dangerous infections.
60 Minutes highlights the growing dangers of antibiotic resistance
In this 15-minute piece, the news program (with 11.1 million weekly viewers) looks into the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Reporter Holly Williams talks to David Ricci, a Washington-state student who was hit by a train while studying in India and developed a bacterial infection resistant to 19 antibiotics. He recovered but lost his leg. Williams then travels to India to talk to doctors who are treating babies with antibiotic resistance and then to Harvard University where researchers demonstrate how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. Williams also examines how the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is fueling the rise of resistance in India and China and how that is spreading to the rest of the world. See the video here (free for those with CBS All Access) and a transcript of the program here.
A path to curing HIV
Interested in understanding the history of the AIDs movement? and what the recent stories on a possible HIV “cure” were about and what it means to AIDS activists and those living with HIV? Listen to this really interesting “The Daily” 27-minute podcast between the New York Times’ Michael Barbaro and long-time AIDS activist Peter Staley, conducted on March 21. Staley, who is living with HIV, was one of the prominent AIDS activists in the early 1980s, and for him, the recent medical breakthrough, leaves him hopeful that he might live to see a cure. Listen here or here.
January 2019 In this short video, epidemiologist Michael Peercy, M.P.H., with the South Central Climate Research Center and the Chikasaw Nation’s Department of Epidemiology, Research and Public Health, explains the nature of vector-borne diseases and why climate change has increased the risk that these diseases may spread to places that have never experienced them, including the U.S.
January 2019 AHCJ is pleased to provide ongoing training and support for new and seasoned health reporters. As part of our partnership with Wiley we offer members access to an educational series of webinars called Science Talks that are brought to you by The Wiley Network.
In this session media will learn:
A brief history of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and how it occurs.
What are the leading causes of microbes/bacteria becoming resistant to drug treatments?
What threat does antimicrobial resistance pose to humans?
How are scientists fighting back against antimicrobial resistance?
November 2018 The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases produced a short video explaining “What was the 1918 Influenza Epidemic?” The video features Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, a senior investigator in the NIAID’s Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section. Taubenberger hunted down the graves of 1918 flu victims, and through that search was able to isolate the cause of the influenza epidemic. The cause was a strain of H1N1 virus. Another version of the H1N1 viurs continues to circulate the world today, and the annual flu shot includes a vaccine against the H1N1 virus.
September 2018 This edition of Science Talks looks at the history of HIV/AIDS, what regions are most affected and the reasons for regional disparities, what treatments are available now and in the future and which sources of information are most reliable for journalists reporting on HIV and AIDS.
On Sept. 27, 2018, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gotlieb spoke at a briefing at the National Press Club to discuss expectations for the coming 2018 to 2019 flu season, as well as to urge the public to get a flu shot. The two also discussed the previous flu season, which was one of the deadliest on record, when an estimated 80,000 people died of the flu. The briefing was hosted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was the headline speaker at the National Press Club in July 2018, where he explained the origins of the flu, why the season flu vaccine doesn’t work as well as public health officials would like and efforts to create a more effective flu vaccine. He took about 45 minutes of questions from the audience, which included more questions about the flu, and flu vaccines as well as his concern about respiratory illnesses become the next pandemic. He also talked about HIV/AIDS, the opioid crisis and the increase in infectious diseases connected to it, as well as addressed sexual harassment in science and some of the biggest challenges that medical research faces.
June 2018 SciLine, the American Association for the Advancement for Science’s editorial service to help journalists connect with scientists, hosted this recent webinar on how genetic engineering is being used to stop the spread of diseases, such as malaria and Zika caused by the bite of insects, like mosquitoes. Speakers included Zach Adelman, Texas & M University associate professor of entomology; Anthony James, University of California, Irvine professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, Jennifer Kuzma, North Carolina State University professor of microbiology and molecular genetics and co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center and Renee Wegrzyn, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program manager. The panel explains the science and then addresses concerns many have raised about the biological consequences of unleashing genetic engineering into nature in an effort to control a particular disease.
March 2018 Reid Wilson, a reporter for The Hill, wrote a new published book on the 2014 Ebola outbreak called “Epidemic: Ebola and the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak.” Here he talks to C-SPAN on March 27, 2018, about his book which includes interviews with dozens of public health officials involved in responding to the outbreak. The half hour interview provides context in thinking about global health challenges and underscores that the U.S. is only partially prepared for another outbreak like Ebola.
February 2018 In this Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health video recorded on Feb. 13, 2018 , Dr. Tim Uyeki, Chief Medical Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza division, Alfred DeMaria, Massachusetts department of health medial director for the bureau of infectious disease, Dr. Yonatan Grad, assistant professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health’s Division department of immunology and infectious diseases, Marc Lipsitch, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, discuss why the 2017-2018 flu season has been severe and the prospects for a universal flu vaccine that could prevent serious outbreaks in the future.
The next pandemic: Are we prepared? November 2018 In May 2018, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. will unveil a new three-year exhibit on the history of pandemics that have changed history - like the 1918 Spanish flu - and how the world’s current environment is brewing up new potential infectious disease outbreaks that could grow to pandemics. The exhibit marks the first time the museum has focused on public health.
The exhibit “places influenza, Ebola, Zika, hantavirus, Nipah, MERS (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome), SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) in an ecological context,” said Sabrina Sholts, curator at the department of anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History. “Human health, animal health and environmental health are one health. We show how pandemics can result from a failure to recognize and respect that connectedness.”
On Nov. 13, the Smithsonian gathered public health leaders like Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Sally Phillips, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and others to talk about the 1918 Spanish flu and the potential for another flu pandemic. Watch the webcast here.
Vaccines: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
On June 25, 2017, the comedian devoted a humorous yet serious look at the promise of vaccines and the controversies as well as potentially deadly consequences that have arisen from the spread of misinformation about the risks of vaccines.
On the Front Lines of Infectious Diseases July 2017 Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, speaks about U.S. public health responses at the National Press Club.