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Health Journalism 2012: Detailed Schedule

Session recaps
Conference news
Photos and videos

Health Journalism 2012

Conference schedule
Conference Highlights
2012 Exhibitors
Field trips
Freelance PitchFest
Conference hotel
Share a room or transportation
Get a Mentor
Exhibit or advertise
Dining guide
Getting There
Area Attractions


7 a.m.

Check in and registration opens.

6:30-8:30 a.m.

Sunrise Workshop
Group run/walk and idea session

Advance sign up required.

An easy-paced run or walk with 1972 Olympic runner Jeff Galloway will be followed by a light snack and chat with him. Galloway conducts training programs across North America, has authored or co-authored more than 20 books about running or walking, and is a Runner’s World columnist. He’ll draw from these experiences and observations to discuss stories, ideas and resources for journalists who write about health and fitness.

8 a.m.

Field trip buses depart

Advance sign up required.
Buses will load at 7:45 a.m. at the side entrance of the hotel opposite the AHCJ registration desk. Lunch will be provided during each tour, with opportunities to talk informally
with researchers and other health professionals.Buses are scheduled to be back at the hotel in time for the 4:30 p.m. Newcomers Welcome and the 5:30 p.m. Opening Session.


Two workshop tracks offer training in critical skills for journalists. Follow one track for essential knowledge to assess medical evidence in your reporting, better grasp of the intricacies of FOI laws, and expert advice to find local stories in just-updated life expectancy data. Come aboard another track, and you’ll gain more confidence in using high-tech tools in demand for journalists. Sessions will offer tips to improve your use of video, upgrade your social media vehicle, master the more advanced Google tools, blend reporting with tech skills for telling new stories, and looking at journalism as an all-platform proposition. Or cross tracks to tailor your own day of learning!

Track 1

10 a.m.-noon

Evaluating medical evidence for journalists

Learn how to uncover the flaws in published medical research – essential knowledge for journalists charged with evaluating the quality of evidence and the potential tradeoffs between benefits and harms.

• Instructor: Ivan Oransky, M.D., executive editor, Reuters Health; blogger, Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch
• Instructor: Gary Schwitzer, publisher,

Noon-12:30 p.m.

Lunch for workshop registrants

12:30-2:15 p.m.

The working  journalist's guide to using FOI laws

Public records are at the core of some of the most influential health journalism of recent years. This nuts-and-bolts work­shop will show you how it’s done. You will learn when and how to file requests under state and federal Freedom of Informa­tion laws, what you can do to make those requests successful, what pitfalls to avoid, where to turn for help and what options you have when responses are slow or inadequate. You will de­velop ideas for stories drawn from FOI requests on your own beat. And you’ll leave jazzed about making public records a regular part of your reporting.

• Instructor: Charles Davis, Ph.D., associate professor, Missouri School of Journalism
• Instructor: Christina Jewett, health and welfare reporter, California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting
• Moderator: Felice Freyer, medical writer, The Providence Journal

2:30-4:15 p.m.

See the latest life expectancy trends by county

Explore trends in life expectancy for men and women as the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation releases the only county-by-county assessment of life spans in the United States. Conference attendees will have an exclusive first look at which counties are living longest and which are falling behind. They will be able to take the data, maps and graphics to write stories about their own communities.

• Instructor: Ali Mokdad, Ph.D., professor of global health, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington

Track 2
(Track 2 is sponsored by the University of Georgia)

10-11 a.m.

Video the right way

You have gear and know how to use it, but how do different stories engage users? Participants will see examples, weigh the pros and cons of five types of video stories, and determine whether they work better as stand-alone pieces or part of a package.

• Instructor: Mark Johnson, senior lecturer, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Give them something to talk about

You know how to use Twitter and other social media, but are you and your work at the center of the online conversation? Learn to use digital tools and emerging technology to get everyone talking.

• Matt Thompson, editorial product manager, NPR

12:15-12:45 p.m.

Lunch for workshop registrants

12:45-1:45 p.m.

Google tools for health reporters

An insider’s guide to Google tools that will help health journalists search for information more efficiently, quantify trends, add visuals to their stories, and increase audience engagement.

• Sandra Heikkinen, global communications and public affairs manager, Google Inc.

2-3 p.m.

Working with geeks to tell new stories

When does a reporter need to look for data-savvy experts to analyze data and frame questions to get the best stories out of large datasets? Lance Williams will use his recent experience working with precision journalism expert Steve Doig and reporters Christina Jewett and Monica Lam to ferret out shoddy and costly Medicare billing by a Southern California hospital chain to demonstrate when and how to work with experts in data analysis.

• Instructor: Lance Williams, senior reporter, California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting

3:15-4:15 p.m.

Entrepreneurial journalism in an all-platform world

In an era of “hyperconnectivity” storytelling has taken on new form. It’s dynamic, social and highly interactive. Unlike “campfire stories,” modern narrative involves immersive, multi-way experiences that draw a person deeper into a story, compelling them to participate, share and act. It’s the kind of “engaged” experience savvy audiences crave. Journalists today wrestle with shifting priorities, convergence of technology and newsroom roles. Learn about the art, science and importance of a modern story and get tips for keeping up with the important industry trends.

• Instructor: Victor Hernandez, news futurist, CNN Worldwide


4:30-5:15 p.m.

Newcomers' welcome

New members and first-time attendees are encouraged to drop in for a primer on making the most of the conference and how making AHCJ your professional home can pay off for years.

5:30-7 p.m.

Kickoff session: A conversation with President and Mrs. Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter will sit down with Health Journalism 2012 attendees at the conference’s kickoff session on April 19 to discuss issues in global health and mental health, and efforts under way at The Carter Center to address both. The Carters founded The Carter Center in 1982 in Atlanta to advance peace and health around the world.

7 p.m.

Welcome to Atlanta Reception

Take advantage of this casual opportunity to greet and catch up with your fellow health care journalists.


7:30 a.m.

Breakfast available

8-9 a.m.

Networking breakouts

♦ Broadcasters
♦ Editors
♦ Freelancers

9-10:20 a.m.

Moves to address access to dental care

Lack of dental care can be devastating and even deadly, especially to people on Medicaid or without insurance who often end up in emergency rooms with intense pain. Some states are experimenting with solutions, which mainstream dental organizations frequently oppose. Minnesota was the first state, in 2009, to approve dental therapists, the dental equivalent of a nurse practitioner. The Sarrell Dental Centers in Alabama battled the Alabama Dental Association and Alabama Board of Dental Examiners while expanding services to children on Medicaid. Such efforts are catching on in other states, possibly including yours.

• Shelly Gehshan, M.P.P., director, Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, Pew Center on the States
• Michael Helgeson, D.D.S., chief executive officer, Apple Tree Dental, Coon Rapids, Minn.
• Jeffrey Parker, M.P.A., chief executive officer, Sarrell Dental Center, Anniston, Ala.
• Moderator: David Wahlberg, reporter, Wisconsin State Journal

Is the workplace prepared for an increase in adults with autism?

While it’s unclear how many adults have autism, a wave of children with the diagnosis is beginning to enter adulthood and the workforce. What challenges do these adults face as they integrate into the world of work? What resources are available to employers and employees? What are the new models for employing people on the autism spectrum? This panel includes a successful adult with autism who will describe some of his work experiences. Other experts will provide story ideas and discuss how early diagnosis and treatment in childhood can affect quality of life in adulthood.

• Scott Bales, geographic information systems specialist, Environmental Protection Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
• Ami Klin, Ph.D., director, Marcus Autism Center; professor & chief, Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
• Scott Standifer, Ph.D., assistant director, Region 7 Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center; organizer, Autism Works National Conference; clinical associate professor, School of Health Professions, University of Missouri
• Moderator: Carla K. Johnson, medical writer, The Associated Press

Will Medicare survive the decade? 

Will it no longer exist as one of the country’s two social insurance programs and instead become a privatized system like the rest of American insurance? Knowing the basics of how Medicare works and how that could change will help every reporter write about this complex but very popular government program. This panel will tackle the nuts and bolts of Medicare and tell you how to cover it in both a political and consumer context.

• Henry Aaron, Ph.D., senior fellow, Brookings Institution
• Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., senior fellow, Center for Policy Innovation, The Heritage Foundation
• Tricia Neuman, Sc.D., senior vice president and director, Program on Medicare Policy, Kaiser Family Foundation
• Moderator: Trudy Lieberman, contributing editor, Columbia Journalism Review

The expanding health needs of veterans

War has changed. Battlefield injuries have changed. So have the health needs of veterans. What do we need to know about the long-term needs of veterans who have suffered brain injuries and those who have post-traumatic stress disorder? How about the different needs that female veterans have? We’ll look at what veterans – the young ones of today and the older ones from “the greatest generation” and Vietnam – need to manage worsening chronic conditions and as they near the end of life.

• Stella D. Nelms, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, Palliative Medicine, Atlanta VAMC
• Barbara Olasov Rothbaum, Ph.D., professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine; director, Emory Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program
• Moderator: Joanne Kenen, AHCJ topic leader/health reform; deputy health care editor, PoliticoPro

Is earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer's around the corner?

What if Alzheimer’s disease could be identified by a simple blood test or scan years before characteristic symptoms of this illness started to become evident? What if scientists could intervene early in the disease process and change its course? Learn about initiatives under way to find biomarkers for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, as well as neuroimaging initiatives that are peering into the brains of people as they age. Top scientists will discuss the state of the science surrounding the early identification of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, what we know about the earliest stages of these illnesses and issues surrounding the early diagnosis of dementia.

• Neil Buckholtz, Ph.D., chief, Dementias of Aging Branch, National Institute on Aging
• William Hu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine
• Allan Levey, M.D., Ph.D., chair, Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine; director, Emory Center for Neurodegenerative Disease
• Moderator: Judith Graham, AHCJ topic leader/aging; independent journalist, Denver

10:40 a.m.-noon

Global health: How a shrinking world means increasing threats

When it comes to health problems, travel and immigration have erased borders: A disease that is causing cases in the developing world today can be in the United States tomorrow. What are the biggest potential problems, and what are the policy and practical questions evoked by these threats?

• Paul Emerson, Ph.D., director, Trachoma Control Program; co-director, Malaria Control Program, The Carter Center
• Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H., vice president for global health, Emory University; director, Emory Global Health Institute
• Venkat Narayan, M.D., Hubert professor, Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
• Moderator: Maryn McKenna, independent journalist, Atlanta

Identifying disparities in diagnosis and treatment

From race and income to education, a host of factors can create disparities in an individual’s health and medical care. Hear about some of the latest research into how socioeconomic and cultural differences play into America’s obesity epidemic, why minorities are underrepresented in clinical trials and other key issues. Learn how researchers and providers are working to address health disparities and the right questions to ask about how new health services and technologies can impact disparities.

• Vladimir N. Cadet, M.P.H., clinical writer/analyst, ECRI Institute
• Beatrice Gee, M.D., F.A.A.P., associate professor, clinical pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine; medical director, Sickle Cell and Hematology Program, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
• Theresa Gillespie, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute
• Moderator: Carrie Teegardin, reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Future of artificial intelligence in patient care

Come and learn what the machines are thinking. IBM’s supercomputer Watson beat the humans on Jeopardy! and is now making the rounds of medicine in partnership with a health insurance company. Can a computer diagnose disease? Recommend a treatment? Replace a doctor? In this panel, you’ll hear the experts explain what “artificial intelligence” really means – and what it doesn’t--and learn its role in your local health care system from industry, patient and academic perspectives.

• Michael A. Covington, Ph.D., associate director, Institute for Artificial Intelligence, University of Georgia
• Martin Kohn, M.D., chief medical scientist, IBM
• Fred Trotter, patient hacktivist, Cautious Patient Foundation
• Moderator: Antonio Regalado, business editor, Technology Review

Freelance: Pitches that are a hit with editors

One reason for spring training: Pitchers practice before the season begins and the games start to count. Take a cue from pro baseball and get some training of your own to successfully contact editors and fine-tune your pitches. This panel of veteran editors from a variety of markets will coach you on how to start a dialogue with editors, how to write a perfect pitch, what they want in freelance writers, and what bugs them the most.

• Christine Gorman, health editor, Scientific American
• Richard Kirkner, editor-in-chief, Optometry Times, Advanstar Communications
• Brendan Maher, feature editor, Nature
• Anna Maltby, associate health editor, Self
• Moderator: Colleen Paretty, executive editor, WebMD Magazine

Seeing through the rhetoric in health reform debates

“Death panels!” “The end of Medicare as we know it!” “Government takeover of health care!” The past three years have provided no shortage of overblown rhetoric and myth-making in health care. As the 2012 election season heats up, it’s only going to get worse. We sort through the hyperbole and provide tips about how to sort myth from reality, with a particular emphasis on how to cover two hot-button political issues – entitlement reform and the future of employer-provided health insurance.

• J. Michael Brewer, president, Lockton Benefit Group
• John Rother, president, National Coalition on Health Care
• Michael W. Wagner, assistant professor, Department of Political Science and College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska
• Moderator: Noam Levey, staff writer, Los Angeles Times

Noon-1:20 p.m.

Lunch on your own

1:20-5 p.m.

Freelance PitchFest

Editors from magazines, newspapers, websites are coming to meet AHCJ's freelance members! This session has been created to give you an opportunity to sit down and discuss your ideas one-on-one with editors from selected outlets. Bring your best ideas and be prepared to sell your work. You will be able to sign up for appointments online in advance and some appointments will be reserved for on-site registration.

• Valarie Basheda, senior editor, WebMD
• Mary Carter, senior editor/health, WebMD
David Corcoran, editor, Science Times
• Peter Dykstra, publisher, Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate
• John Fairhall, editor in chief, Kaiser Health News
• Denise Fulton, executive editor, IMNG Medical Media
• Peggy Girshman, editor, Kaiser Health News
Christine Gorman, senior editor, Scientific American; representing the web site and magazine as well as Scientific American Mind
• Lena Huang, editorial director, CURE Magazine
• Richard Kirkner, editor-in-chief, Optometry Times, Advanstar Communications
Brendan Maher, feature editor, Nature
• Anna Maltby, associate health editor, SELF Magazine
Marcy O'Koon Moss, editor in chief, Arthritis Today
Ivan Oransky , M.D., executive editor, Reuters Health
Colleen Paretty, executive editor, WebMD Magazine
• Joy Taylor, editor,
• Organizer:
Jeanne Erdmann, independent journalist, Wentzville, Mo.

1:20-2:40 p.m.

Mental health: Integrating behavioral health with primary care

The next big thing in mental health care is integrating it with primary care. Group practices are including mental health professionals. Private doctors are being encouraged to look for and treat mental illnesses. Experts are saying early detection and treatment of mental illnesses will result in healthier patients and lower costs. Panelists will discuss why, as well as how the mental health initiatives are working in private and public health systems. You’ll learn what’s already happening, and how this is likely to play out. And you’ll get story ideas on what to look for in your community and how to analyze it.

• John Bartlett, M.D., M.P.H., senior project adviser, Primary Care Initiative, Carter Center Mental Health Program
• Larry Fricks, deputy director, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources Services Administration Center for Integrated Health Solutions; director, Appalachian Consulting Group
• Parinda Khatri, Ph.D., director of integrated care, Cherokee Health Systems
• Moderator: Joanne Silberner, independent journalist, Seattle

What's the future for primary care?

The United States already has a shortage of primary care physicians in many areas. But with the Affordable Care Act set to extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, will that doctor gap become a crisis? Will medical schools turn out more primary care physicians, or will the more highly compensated medical specialties continue to attract large numbers of students? Recent primary care trends include more physician use of e-mail with patients, retail clinics, pharmacists helping to manage diseases such as diabetes, as well as advanced practice nurses taking on more responsibilities and practicing in underserved areas. Private health insurers are promoting the concept of a medical home, paying those physicians more to care for patients in a comprehensive care model.

• Frank Don Diego, M.D., family practitioner; academic chair, combined Floyd Medical Center Allopathic and Osteopathic Family Medicine Residencies
• David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., director, The Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine
• Barbara L. Schuster, M.D., campus dean, Georgia Health Sciences University, University of Georgia Medical Partnership
• Moderator: Andy Miller, editor, Georgia Health News

Hepatitis: New battle lines in war on silent killer

More Americans are dying from hepatitis C, a chronic liver infection, than AIDS these days. More than 3 million people in the country have chronic hepatitis C infections, but most don’t know it. The infection can lurk for years without a person feeling sick. But the condition can eventually cause liver damage and even liver failure. We’ll take a look at why hepatitis C has become such a problem, interventions to help curb it, and the range of treatments now available, including liver transplant and some costly new drugs.

• Matthew Herper, senior editor, Forbes
• Samir Parekh, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine
• Andi Thomas, president, HealthPro Solutions
• John Ward, M.D., director, Viral Hepatitis Program, CDC
• Moderator: Scott Hensley, Shots blog writer and editor, NPR

A reporter's guide to medical decision making

It’s a curious paradox. Thanks to the Internet, health information has never been more accessible to patients. But from PSA screening to heart stents to spinal fusion surgery, many of the tests and treatments performed on patients may be unnecessary, deviating from the best medical evidence and not achieving the results patients expect. Learn what the government, hospitals and others are doing to generate more useful data to guide choices about medical care and to better inform doctors – and patients – so they make wiser decisions.

• Michael J. Barry, M.D., president, Informed Medical Decisions Foundation
• Clarissa Hsu, Ph.D., research associate, Center for Community Health and Evaluation, Group Health Research Institute
• Joe Selby, M.D., M.P.H., executive director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
• Moderator: Gideon Gil, health and science editor, The Boston Globe

2:40-3:40 p.m.

Drawings and a snack

3:40-5 p.m.


How will citizen scientists impact medicine?

Medical research continues to be carried out by academics and pharmaceutical companies. But growing numbers of ordinary people are taking their health into their own hands. These selfdescribed citizen scientists share medical histories with one another, post test results online and even run experiments – sometimes in conjunction with doctors. This session will explore the motivations behind this patient-led movement and its impact on clinical research.

• Katherine Leon, patient advocate and member of Inspire's WomenHeart Support Community
• Barry Silverman, M.D., Mark Silverman chair of cardiac education, the Piedmont Heart Institute.
• Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D., director, Center for Ethics, Emory University
• Moderator: Alicia Chang, science writer, The Associated Press

Neuroplasticity 101: It really is all in your head

A decade after the “Decade of the Brain,” the wonders of the brain are still being discovered. This panel will provide a backgrounder on brain neuroplasticity – the brain’s tremendous capacity to rewire, remodel, even regenerate. It will look at the limits of the brain’s neuroplasticity: The younger you are, the easier it is for the brain to rewire/remodel itself. Get an in-depth look at the role neuroplasticity plays in recovery from traumatic brain injury; the role it can/can’t play in recovery from neuropsychiatric/ mental health disorders; and the role it plays in successful aging. Panelists will provide insight on research that is leading to better diagnosis, treatment and recovery for those dealing with brain-related disorders.

• Cathrin Buetefisch, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine
• Stuart W. Hoffman, Ph.D., Scientific Program Manager for Brain Injury, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service
• Michael J. Kuhar, Ph.D., researcher, Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Candler professor of neuropharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine
• Paul J. Nussbaum, Ph.D., adjunct professor of neurological surgery; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
• Moderator: Eileen Beal, independent journalist, Cleveland

Global effort on HIV/AIDS: Lessons learned

Black women in several major U.S. cities – including Atlanta – have HIV rates similar to those in parts of Africa where HIV is endemic. One panelist describes the group as America’s forgotten people. In Africa, up to 70 percent of new HIV infections are spread from one spouse to another. What’s really happening in the world of HIV and AIDS? Expert panelists will talk about HIV in U.S. cities and what we can learn from HIV prevention efforts in Africa.

• Susan Allen, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, Emory University School of Medicine; professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
• Paula Frew, Ph.D., M.A., M.P.H., assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education; director of community research and assistant professor, Emory University School of Medicine
• Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director, HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Moderator: Dan DeNoon, senior medical writer, WebMD

Medicaid: Covering cost-cutting efforts and impact of health reform

The economic downturn has driven up enrollment in Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor. Now covering 60 million low-income Americans, Medicaid is the single largest government health program and one of the most expensive programs in state budgets. Come learn where all the best stories are on Medicaid, the conflicts between providers, patients, HMOs, state legislators, nursing homes and others. Even before the Affordable Care Act adds 16 million people to Medicaid starting in 2014, the program is undergoing major changes to contain costs and improve care. Learn where to find the data, patients to tell the stories and understand the trends.

• Matt Salo, executive director, National Association of Medicaid Directors
• David Tatum, vice president, government and community affairs, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
• Christine Vestal, senior writer, Stateline, Pew Center on the States
• Moderator: Phil Galewitz, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

Broadcast recap: Turning the day’s sessions into stories

There are important stories. There are stories with great sound and pictures. Broadcasters seek to have each story be both. Join us to examine some of the important topics covered by panels earlier in the program. Experienced local and network reporters and editors will help discover audio and video elements and angles that will make engaging segments for television, radio or multimedia web and mobile sites. A session also will be offered on Saturday.

• Jeff Baillon, investigative reporter, KMSP-Minneapolis
• Cal Callaway, managing editor, WAGA-Atlanta
• Kelley Weiss, broadcast reporter, CHCF Center for Health Reporting
• Moderator: Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

5:20-6:20 p.m.

Membership meeting

Come hear about AHCJ's latest efforts from your elected board.


7:30 a.m.

Breakfast available

9-10:20 a.m.

Diabetes' impact on diverse populations 

Nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, a leading cause of death, limb amputation and vision problems. This panel will examine the prevalence of diabetes among pregnant women, children and members of racial and ethnic groups, along with their susceptibility to other illnesses. Find out why so many people are undiagnosed, what’s being done to find a cure and how you can take your reporting in new directions.

• Connie Crawley, M.S., R.D., L.D., nutrition and health specialist, The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
• Janice P. Lea, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.S.N., professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Renal Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
• Rita J. Louard M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., director, Clinical Diabetes Program - Moses Campus, Montefiore Medical Center; associate professor of clinical medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
• Moderator: Yanick Rice Lamb, editor-at-large, Heart & Soul, associate professor, Howard University Department of Journalism

Are your local hospitals targeting health care-acquired conditions?

In December, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded $218.8 million in federal contracts to 26 local, regional and national hospital organizations to improve patient safety and quality of care. The new Partnership for Patients program, called Hospital Engagement Networks, has enlisted 3,900 U.S. hospitals to commit to reducing hospital-acquired conditions, such as pressure sores and central line bloodstream infections, by 40 percent in two years and to cut hospital readmissions by 20 percent, saving 60,000 lives over five years. How is your local hospital planning to cut these infections and how will this affect patient care and hospital costs locally and nationally? This session will look at the Hospital Engagement Networks and how the largest hospital patient safety initiative to date will change the way hospital care is delivered.

• Karen Adams, Ph.D., vice president, National Quality Forum
• Sarah R. Callahan, M.H.S.A., project director, NAPH Safety Network National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
• Eugene Litvak, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Institute for Healthcare Optimization
• Joseph McCannon, senior adviser to the administration, group director for learning and diffusion, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
• Moderator: Mark Taylor, independent journalist, Chicago

Food safety: Getting beyond the annual scare

When listeria-tainted cantaloupe was linked to more than 30 deaths last fall, journalists nationally scrambled to explain the most deadly case of U.S. foodborne illness in decades. We’ll look at why these outbreaks occur despite 21st century safeguards and how to place them in scientific and regulatory context. Panelists will provide tips on how to cover the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the most sweeping food safety law in 70 years.

• Christopher Braden, M.D., director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Caroline Smith DeWaal, J.D., food safety director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
• Gale Prince, president, Sage Food Safety Consultants
• Moderator: Deborah Schoch, senior writer, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Economic determinants of child health

With more than 20 percent of America’s children living in poverty, understanding the socioeconomic factors underlying children’s health has never been more important. Get context and story ideas from leading health professionals and researchers for covering kids’ health at a more sophisticated level.

• Kathleen Adams, Ph.D., professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University; health economist, Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Rishi Manchanda, M.D., M.P.H., founder, HealthBegins
• Andrew Racine, M.D., Ph.D., chief of general pediatrics, The Children's Hospital at Montefiore
• Moderator: Barbara Feder Ostrov, deputy editor,

Freelance: Having a social media presence

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google , Pinterest – you know you need a social media presence, but which outlets warrant your attention and how do you manage them all? This session will identify the ways in which a strong social media presence can help independent journalists uncover story ideas, gain a following and even land writing assignments. Learn how to establish or expand a professional brand online, the characteristics, benefits and drawbacks of social media outlets, as well as the latest tools and strategies for maximizing the time spent online each day.

• Scott Hensley, Shots blog writer and editor, NPR
• Serena Marshall, independent journalist, Washington D.C.
• Maryn McKenna, independent journalist, Atlanta
• Moderator: Lisa Zamosky, independent journalist, Los Angeles

Translational research: Tracking a drug or therapy through the process

Translational research in medicine is the process of taking basic science discoveries and moving them more rapidly into the clinic. Often referred to as going from the bench to the bedside and back, the term describes an integrated team science approach that bridges laboratory work and patient care. This session will present three translational research efforts in cancer, stroke, and traumatic brain injury from the perspectives of researchers involved at various points within the translational spectrum.

• Nikhil Khushalani, M.D., associate professor of oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
• Donald Stein, Ph.D., Asa G. Candler Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
• Moderator: Eric Rosenthal, independent journalist, Philadelphia

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Newsmaker briefing: Advances in how FDA monitors drug safety after approval

Groundbreaking legislation under the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act went into effect in 2008, authorizing major changes in how the safety of drugs would be monitored once they were already on the market. The move followed several highly publicized drug safety issues in the early to mid-2000s. After four years, the FDA is releasing a new report detailing where it stands on its goals and capabilities to enhance drug safety for the American public.
• Janet Woodcock, M.D., director, FDA Center for Drug Research and Evaluation

11:40 a.m.-1:40 p.m.

Awards luncheon

Otis BrawleyKeynote speaker: Otis Brawley, M.D., chief medical and scientific officer, American Cancer Society

Brawley, responsible for promoting the goals of cancer prevention, early detection and quality treatment, champions efforts to decrease smoking, improve diet and provide the critical support cancer patients need. He guides efforts to enhance and focus the research program, upgrade the Society’s advocacy capacity, and concentrate community cancer control efforts in areas where they will be most effective. He is a leader in the Society’s work to eliminate disparities in access to quality cancer care.

1:40-2:40 p.m.

Drawings and a snack

2:40-4 p.m.

New understandings in the science of addiction and treatment

Darn that dopamine. Whether it’s an impaired anesthesiologist, a porn-obsessed voyeur or a morbidly obese chocoholic, addicts seem to exhibit similar brain and behavioral changes. But what leads a hard-partying co-ed to become a miserable alcoholic? Why do physicians seem especially vulnerable to substance abuse? And how is this evidence being used to improve the success of treatment programs? Our panelists will discuss the latest research and issues in addiction and recovery.

• Mark S. Gold, M.D., distinguished professor and chair of psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine
• James MacKillop, Ph.D., director, Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology Laboratory; associate professor, Department of Psychology; associate director, Owens Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia
• Nora Volkow, M.D., director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
• Moderator: Stacey Singer, staff writer, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

Role of faith communities in promoting health care and wellness

Some research suggests members of faith groups live longer and enjoy better health. In contrast, a few studies also found that the devout are more likely to be overweight or obese. This panel discussion addresses these and other health claims while examining how religion promotes better health, successful approaches in providing health care among faith communities and where religious institutions may be failing at health advocacy.

• Miriam J. Burnett, M.D., M.Div., M.P.H., president, Resource And Promotion of Health Alliance Inc.
• Melinda Mayton, R.N., M.S.N., nurse, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; president and chief executive officer, Blue Skies Ministries
• Monica W. Parker, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Emory University School of Medicine
• Moderator: Nina Hemphill-Reeder, section editor, Upscale

Award winners speak

Winners of the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism share tips on how they reported their winning stories.

• Tahlia Honea, Skagit Valley (Wash.) Herald
• Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio
• Joe Carlson, Modern Healthcare
• John Diedrich, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
• Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
• Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune
• Terri Langford, The Houston Chronicle
• Moderator, Julie Appleby, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

The politics of state insurance exchanges

Setting up a state insurance exchange is a complicated endeavor – made more complicated by the bitter politics of health reform and the uncertainty over the Supreme Court ruling. Some states, like Maryland, are proceeding with enthusiasm. Others are fighting the health law in court – but quietly doing some of the ground work for an exchange anyway. And a few states say they just aren’t going to set one up – meaning the federal government is supposed to be ready to step in with a back-up exchange plan.

• Heather Howard, director, State Health Reform Assistance Network; CHW affiliate, Center for Health & Wellbeing, Princeton University
• Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., secretary, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
• Moderator: Joanne Kenen, AHCJ topic leader/health reform; deputy health care editor, PoliticoPro

Health in all policies

For years, we’ve heard about how sidewalks, grocery stores and education – or a lack thereof – can impact health. But for years, many decisions on policies about transportation, zoning, agriculture, schools and more have been made with little or no consideration of their health impacts. The “health in all policies” movement is aimed at crossing that divide. But it’s not simple or clear cut: How is success measured? When do health impact assessments make the most sense? The panelists will help you find the stories in your own communities about non-health decisions that could impact public health.

• Harry J. Heiman, M.D., M.P.H., director, health policy, The Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine
• David Howard, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
• Aaron Wernham, M.D., director, Health Impact Project, Pew Health Group
• Moderator: Mike Stobbe, staff writer, The Associated Press

4:20-5:40 p.m.

Freelance: Mapping successful business plans and models

Successful, sane and serene freelance careers don’t just happen; they’re built on the foundation of a business plan and a business model. Creating your business plan and identifying your business model does not have to be a forced march through comparables, market analyses and seemingly unattainable goals, however. In this panel, an AHCJ member and business coach will lead attendees through the basics of a business plan and panelists will share their business models, from trades to consumer magazines to custom publications and hybrid business models.

• Lola Butcher, independent journalist, Springfield, Mo.
• Andrea King Collier, independent journalist, Lansing, Mich.
• Irene M. Wielawski, independent Journalist, Pound Ridge, N.Y.
• Moderator: Heather Boerner, independent journalist, San Francisco

Broadcast recap: Turning the day’s sessions into stories

There are important stories. There are stories with great sound and pictures. Broadcasters seek to have each story be both. Join us to examine some of the important topics covered by panels earlier in the program. Experienced local and network reporters and editors will help discover audio and video elements and angles that will make engaging segments for television, radio or multimedia web and mobile sites. A session also will be offered on Friday.

• Jeff Baillon, investigative reporter, KMSP-Minneapolis
• Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

State crackdowns: Who is caring for undocumented immigrants?

The issue of how to handle illegal immigration in the workforce, education and even health care services continues to spur heated debates around the country. We’ll examine policies across the nation that either deny or expand access to care for undocumented immigrants and look at how budget shortfalls are driving ongoing cuts to community clinics and public health programs that serve this population. We’ll discuss the potential implications of the federal health care law not covering millions of undocumented immigrants. Many providers worry this could lead to infectious disease outbreaks and increased health disparities.

• Sonal Ambegaokar, health policy attorney, National Immigration Law Center
• Samantha Artiga, associate director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
• Flavia Mercado, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine & Grady Health System
• Moderator: Kelley Weiss, broadcast reporter, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Humans, animals, ecosystems: Covering the “One Health” movement

We take our dogs for a walk in the same local park crisscrossed at night by wild animals such as raccoons and foxes, two species capable of harboring numerous diseases. Ticks, fleas and mosquitoes – all efficient disease transmitters – crawl and buzz around us during the summer. Meanwhile, vegetable farmers everywhere strive to keep a wide berth between food and livestock pens. Learn how to cover these and other topics related to the “One Health” movement. What are some main concerns of leaders within the movement? How can journalists better cover the intersection of human and animal diseases? Which geographic locations and ecosystems are under intense study related to this topic?

• Lisa Conti, D.V.M., M.P.H., director, One Health Solutions
• Susan Sanchez, Ph.D., professor, Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia
• Gonzalo M. Vazquez-Prokopec, Ph.D., research associate, Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University
• Moderator: Kathleen M. Raven, independent journalist, Athens, Ga.

Health technology hazards to watch for in your community this year

Technology in hospitals is meant to save lives, but too often it causes harm. Learn about the hidden, and not so hidden, technology hazards in the hospitals you cover, including “alarm fatigue’’ among nurses overwhelmed by beeping monitors; radiation exposure from routine scans; infusion pumps that dispense incorrect medication doses; and the challenges faced by doctors trying to modify adult-sized technology for children. Understand how the experts spot potential dangers and what solutions hospitals should be implementing.

• Marjorie Funk, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.H.A., F.A.A.N., professor, Yale University School of Nursing
• Eric S. Sacks, director, Healthcare Product Alerts, ECRI Institute
• Paul Spearman, M.D., chief research officer, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
• Moderator: Gideon Gil, health and science editor, The Boston Globe

Overcoming "fat fatigue" in our reporting

No one wants to hear it: You’re fat. But the nation’s obesity epidemic isn’t going anywhere. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently predicted that threequarters of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2020, and with that comes other health problems, from heart disease to stroke to diabetes. Hear from health experts — including the brains behind Georgia’s controversial child obesity ad campaign — about how they cut through resistance to the obesity message, as well as new ways the medical community is tackling the problem.

• Bryan McCullick, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology, University of Georgia
• Stephanie Walsh, M.D., medical director of child wellness, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; associate professor at Emory School of Medicine
• Mark Wulkan, M.D., surgeon-in-chief, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta; professor, Departments of Surgery and Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
• Moderator: Hannah Wolfson, staff writer, The Birmingham (Ala.) News

6 p.m.

Salute to Health Journalism Reception

Join your colleagues around the pool and garden courtyard to catch up and greet new faces.


7:30 a.m.

Breakfast available


Designed to give you skills and resources you can take home and use right away.

9-10:20 a.m.

Handling the explosion of hospital quality data

As hospital quality ratings proliferate, this session will show you what’s new and help you determine when your local hospital may have a problem worth exploring and which data are just white noise. Even if you’ve attended one of our hospital quality sessions before, this will be a good refresher, combined with an update on the latest sets and important context to consider.

• Instructor: Ashish K. Jha, M.D., M.P.H., C. Boyden Gray Associate Professor, Harvard School of Public Health; staff physician, Veterans Health Administration
• Instructor: Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

From story ideas to sources: Finding hidden gems in PubMed

Find out how to uncover great stories, top-notch sources and even evidence of research fraud at this hands-on workshop. Bring your laptops. We’ll review how to search PubMed effectively, save time and obtain the papers behind those abstracts, which are frequently behind paywalls.

• Instructor: Robert A. Logan, Ph.D., communication research scientist, National Library of Medicine
• Instructor: Ivan Oransky, M.D., executive editor, Reuters Health; blogger, Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch

Freelance: Managing workflow and workload

Three veteran freelancers will share their personal experiences with running a business that can potentially command 24/7 attention. They have hard-won tips for balancing business and personal life, as well as suggestions of useful tools for marketing and for minding the home office while on assignment. The idea is to kick off a conversation with the audience through which we can all learn from each other.

• Instructor: Maryn McKenna, independent journalist, Atlanta
• Instructor: Paul Raeburn, independent journalist, New York
• In