Health Journalism 2013: Detailed schedule for Saturday and Sunday

Click here for the detailed schedule for Thursday and Friday.


7-8:30 a.m.

Breakfast available in the Exhibit Hall
Sponsored by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Harborview Ballroom

8-8:50 a.m.

News briefing

A briefing that holds the potential for sending news back to your newsroom or provides foundation material for a future story or project. The topic will be announced at the conference.

Cityview 1

9 a.m.

The drive toward earlier Alzheimer’s treatment

After nearly a decade of frustration, the field of Alzheimer’s disease research is enjoying a bounty of fresh insights into causes, diagnoses and potential treatments. The consensus that this devastating affliction develops many years before symptoms appear is shifting researchers’ focus from drugs that merely offer temporary symptomatic relief, toward newer treatments aimed at slowing or even halting the progression of the disease. The development and refinement of biomarkers has led to early identification and intervention to target those people most at risk. Recent research on the link between repetitive brain trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy is also now leading to better understanding of risk factors for dementia.

• Gad Marshall, M.D., associate medical director of clinical trials, Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment, Brigham and Women's Hospital; assistant professor of neurology, Harvard Medical School
• Robert Stern, Ph.D., professor of neurology and neurosurgery, director, Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical and Research Program, Boston University School of Medicine
• Scott Turner, M.D., Ph.D., director, memory disorders program, Georgetown University
• Moderator: Barbara Peters Smith, health and aging writer, Sarasota Herald Tribune

Cityview 2

Local hospitals start paying price for readmissions

Medicare has begun financially penalizing hospitals with large numbers of patients returning within a month, making readmissions a vanguard issue in the march toward paying for quality care. This panel explains why the government considers rehospitalizations such a big issue and why many hospitals believe they aren’t to blame. Learn what hospitals are doing to reduce their repeat patients and how you can use public data to find great stories about your local hospitals.

• Susannah Bernheim, M.D., M.H.S., acting director of quality measurement, Centers for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale School of Medicine
• Karen Joynt, M.D., M.P.H., instructor, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health; staff cardiologist, Boston VA Healthcare System
• Julius Yang, M.D., Ph.D., hospitalist and director of clinical operations, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
• Moderator: Jordan Rau, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News


Experience, genetics: Shaping the pediatric brain

The notion that, early in life, nature and nurture combine to make us who we are is not new. But what exactly is happening to the developing brain? Speakers will talk about emerging research on such questions as: How does childhood stress affect brain structure? When is the brain most plastic? And can genetic vulnerability to the environment be both a gift and a curse? The answers could help inform health, education and social policies.

• David Dobbs, independent journalist, Montpelier, Vt.
• Takao Hensch, Ph.D., professor of neurology, Boston Children's Hospital
• Charles A. Nelson III, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and neuroscience, Harvard Medical School; Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research, Boston Children's Hospital
• Moderator: Karen Brown, reporter/producer, New England Public Radio


Understanding workplace determinants of health

Is the workplace making us sick? As the country struggles to regain its jobs and economic footing, are we overlooking the needs for healthy and safe workplaces? What are the economic burdens of an unhealthy workplace to workers, employers and the country as a whole? And how does the workplace environment impact the social determinants of health? We’ll explore the determinants of workplace health and its impact on this country’s overall health and wellness. Our experts will discuss the social economic, environmental and psycho-social determinants of workplace health. We will explore trends and ideas you can use to explore your own stories .

• Andrew Gottlieb, M.S.N., M.P.H., F.N.P.-B.C., director, occupational health services, Massachusetts General Hospital
• Debra Lerner, Ph.d., M.S., professor of medicine, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University
• Cassandra Okechukwu, Ph.D., assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences, Harvard School of Public Health
• Moderator: Andrea King Collier, independent journalist

Back Bay

10:40 a.m.

Why is food still making us sick in the 21st century?

Wholesome foods such as spinach, cantaloupe and peanuts have killed or maimed dozens of people nationwide in recent years. We can’t seem to protect consumers from salmonella, listeria and E. coli. Three top leaders in food safety – in federal regulation, industry, and consumer law – will discuss the difficulties of protecting our food chain, new scientific breakthroughs and why we’re hearing more about leafy greens and less about meat. We’ll also get tips for reporting on landmark new U.S. food regulations.

• Will Daniels, senior vice president, operations and organic integrity, Earthbound Farm
• Bill D. Marler, managing partner, Marler Clark
• Michael R. Taylor, J.D., deputy commissioner for foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
• Moderator: Deborah Schoch, senior writer, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Cityview 1

Will research drive more changes in school sports?

From the NFL down to little leagues more attention is being paid to the pervasive number of sports injuries. In fact, more than 3.5 million children each year need medical treatment for sports injuries. More than three dozen states have passed youth concussion safety laws in response to a growing body of research showing the long-term damaging effects of these injuries. Experts are working to better protect female athletes, who are much more likely to get concussions or damage their knees.

• Mark Hyman, independent sports journalist, Baltimore
• Chris Nowinski, co-director, Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy
• Kathryn Ackerman, MD, MPH, co-director, Boston Children’s Hospital Female Athlete Program
• Moderator: Kelley Weiss, broadcast reporter, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Cityview 2

Health reform: What's next for businesses?

If the Affordable Care Act is to accomplish its goals, much will be riding on the business community in its role as providers of health insurance to 160 million Americans. Will employers, large and small, continue to stay in the game, or will they drop coverage and send workers to the state insurance exchanges? What kinds of policies will they continue to offer? Will more companies provide coverage or will they pay the penalties and maintain the status quo? What about the small guys? How does the law help them? This panel will examine these questions and others offering good background and contest for reporters who will be covering the business aspects of the new health law.

• Jon B. Hurst, president, Retailers Association of Massachusetts
• Steve Wojcik, vice president, public policy, National Business Group on Health
• Moderator: Trudy Lieberman, contributing editor, Columbia Journalism Review


Recovery: The new mental health paradigm

A diagnosis of a serious mental illness formerly meant a life of increasing disability and darkness. No longer. The recovery movement in mental health has demonstrated that people with a mental illness can achieve a full life. This panel of experts will discuss how recovery plays out differently in people’s lives, and how mental health providers are increasingly optimistic about patients’ futures. The panel will also offer a glimpse into the new science and treatment models in mental health, and how getting care earlier can lead to better outcomes. The discussion will also focus on stigma and media stereotypes about mental illness, and how the Newtown, Conn., shootings have affected the mental health community.

• William Anthony, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University
• Cheryl Gagne, Sc.D., deputy director, BRSS TACS, Center for Social Innovation
• Dost Öngür, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital
• Moderator: Andy Miller, editor, Georgia Health News


Freelance: Road to security

Two independent journalists and a consultant who helps creative freelancers market their services effectively will discuss why freelance writers must see themselves as small business owners. Topics covered will include marketing, customer service and the value of specialization. Attendees will get tips and advice on how to manage their freelance businesses for financial success.

• Ilise Benun, founder & director,
• Lisa Zamosky, independent journalist, Los Angeles
• Moderator: Lola Butcher, independent journalist, Springfield, Mo.

Back Bay

Noon- 2 p.m.

Awards Luncheon

Journalists who did the best work of 2012 will be recognized with the annual Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

• Speaker: David Goldhill, chief executive officer, Game Show Network; author, "Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father – And How We Can Fix It"

Plaza Ballroom

2-2:50 p.m.

Dessert and prize drawings
Break sponsored by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Harborview Ballroom

3 p.m.

Rich hospital, poor hospital: Stories of business survival

Some hospitals are thriving, making double-digit profit margins. Others are fighting just to survive. Hospital competition has become even more intense with the passage of the federal health care overhaul. This panel of experts will help you understand what factors are putting pressure on hospitals’ bottom lines and the often surprising strategies hospitals are using to attract patients, cut costs and increase profits. Come to learn what questions you should be asking about your own hospital market.

• Alan Sager, Ph.D., professor of health policy and management, Boston University School of Public Health
• Karen Garloch, medical writer, The Charlotte Observer
• Kate Walsh, president & chief executive officer, Boston Medical Center
• Margot Sanger-Katz, health care correspondent, National Journal
• Moderator: Phil Galewitz, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

Cityview 1

Personal genomics: What does it mean for patients?

Is knowing what’s in our genes always good? How does it affect behaviors and mental health? Is gene mapping a good idea prenatally, in a young child, in adults? Have journalists oversold/ overwritten the promise of personal genomics for treating diseases like cancer? A medical geneticist, a social scientist and a reporter who had his own genome sequenced will offer a basic understanding of the field, their views on where it’s headed, tips and resources for covering it, and story ideas.

• Robert Green, M.D., M.P.H., director, Genomes2People Research Program, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School
• Catharine Wang, Ph.D., associate professor, Community Health Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health
• John Lauerman, reporter, Bloomberg News
• Moderator: Marilynn Marchione, chief medical writer, The Associated Press

Cityview 2

Award winners share their techniques

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


Changing provider reactions to medical errors

U.S. hospitals and physicians have journeyed far since the groundbreaking 1999 Institute of Medicine report, “To Err Is Human,” estimated that 98,000 Americans could die annually from preventable medical errors. That report and subsequent research and demonstration programs set out a course for American hospitals and health care providers to improve quality of care and patient safety. We will look at how differently medical errors are viewed and explore efforts to eliminate them.

• George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H., William Fairfield Warren Distinguished professor and chair, Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health, School of Medicine, and School of Law
• Linda Kenney, president and executive director, Medically Induced Trauma Support Services Inc.
• Lucian Leape, adjunct professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard University
• David W. Bates, M.D., M.Sc., chief, Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; professor, Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health
• Moderator: Mark Taylor, independent journalist, Chicago


Freelance: Maintaining quality under pressure

It’s true for every journalist, but especially for freelancers: We have to blog, tweet, tape video and audio, and write or edit, doing more in less time and for less compensation. But the time crunch is even more acute for freelancers, who have no tech or production staffs or librarians to share the load. This panel of experienced freelancers will explore how to stay on-task, maintain accuracy, meet in-field production challenges, and stay prepared for factchecking, all as a solo practitioner.

• Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn, independent journalist, New York
• Seth Mnookin, co-director, MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing; author, "The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy"
• Moderator: Maryn McKenna, independent journalist, Atlanta

Back Bay

4:40 p.m.

Diabetes: Latest in diagnosis, treatment, prevention

Every year, according to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 2 million people get the news: They’re diabetic. Now, scientists are seeking innovative treatments for a disease that can begin in childhood or develop later in life, especially among high-risk populations, including those with obesity. The panelists will take you through the latest research for a disease journalists can write about in any community.

• David M. Nathan, M.D., director, MGH Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center; professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School
• Rich Siegel, M.D., co-director, Tufts Medical Center's Diabetes Clinic
• Moderator: Tom Wilemon, reporter, The Tennesseean

Cityview 1

What you need to know about clinical studies but were afraid to ask

As doctors and patients embrace decision-making based on evidence, the results of clinical studies are more important than ever. Yet there are more problems with trials, too. Recruiting patients and finishing studies has become challenging. The interpretation of results – and the journalism about them – has become more fraught as well. We’ll take a look at the problems and some solutions.

• Jeffrey Drazen, M.D., editor in chief, New England Journal of Medicine
• Linnea Duff, lung cancer patient and blogger, Life and breath: Outliving lung cancer
• James H. Ware, Ph.D., Frederick Mosteller professor of biostatistics and associate dean for clinical and translational science,  Harvard School of Public Health
• Ron Winslow, deputy bureau chief, health and science, The Wall Street Journal
• Moderator: Scott Hensley, digital correspondent/editor, NPR

Cityview 2

Future of primary care: Who will take care of you?

Primary care lies at the heart of almost every health care issue the nation is confronting today. Whether it’s managing chronic illness, encouraging healthy lifestyles or controlling costs, the primary care provider must play a central role. But are there enough people being trained to do this work? And is a system that has long rewarded procedures and tests ready to support prevention and caring? On this panel, leaders of a growing movement to transform and revitalize primary care will discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead.

• Andrew Ellner, M.D., M.Sc., co-director, Harvard Center for Primary Care; practicing internist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
• G. Alan Kurose, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Coastal Medical Inc.
• Jane Maffie-Lee, N.P., clinical program director, Ambulatory Practice of the Future, Massachusetts General Hospital
• Andrew Morris-Singer, M.D., president and principal founder, Primary Care Progress
• Moderator: Felice Freyer, medical writer, The Providence (R.I.) Journal


Tapping into cancer registry trends

This session will explore cancer registries: what they are, how reporters can use them, and pitfalls to avoid. Learn about the history and background of cancer registries in the United States and abroad, how registries for children differ from adult registries and how registries can be used to identify trends in traditional areas such as population health and epidemiology as well as for quality monitoring. Ideas for stories will also be addressed.

• Richard Clapp, D.Sc., M.P.H., professor emeritus, Boston University School of Public Health
• Michael Hassett, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; medical director for clinical information services, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
• Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D., director, Solid Tumor Program; medical director, Clinical and Translational Investigations Program, Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center; associate professor of pediatrics; Harvard Medical School
• Moderator: Eric Rosenthal, special correspondent, Oncology Times


Broadcaster recap

There are important stories. There are stories with great sound and pictures. Broadcasters want to have it all. We will take topics from other conference sessions, as well as your story proposals, and explore creative audio-visual storytelling techniques to build engaging segments for television, radio or multimedia web and mobile sites.

• Jon Palfreman, Ph.D., KEZI Distinguished Professor of Broadcast Journalism, University of Oregon; documentary producer, PBS Frontline
• Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

Back Bay

6:30 p.m.

Salute to Health Journalism Reception
Sponsored by The New England Journal of Medicine



7:30-8:30 a.m.

Breakfast available in the Exhibit Hall
Sponsored by Tufts Medical Center / Tufts University

Harborview Ballroom

“How-to Sunday” sessions

9 a.m.

Deciphering inspection reports to cover hospital quality

When covering hospital quality, it’s easy to get lost in a slew of conflicting statistics and bureaucratic jargon. But one source may provide a roadmap to problems at the hospitals you cover like no other: inspection reports. This session will take a close look at how inspection reports can help you do your job better. We will discuss how to get them, how to use them and how you can display them in a way that’s useful for your audience. A former regulator also will discuss other tools that may be available in your state to assess hospital quality.

• Paul Dreyer, Ph.D,. principal, Dreyer Consulting
• Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

Cityview 1

Navigating PubMed and

PubMed,, and other National Library of Medicine resources are some of the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and evidence-based around, but they can also be overwhelming. We’ll help you navigate them in a hands-on session (laptops encouraged!). Highlights will include new resources in PubMed Health; the recently redesigned, particularly how to find clinical trial results summaries; and some recent changes within PubMed and how to use it to uncover diverse information, such as retracted journal articles.

• Robert A. Logan, Ph.D., communication research scientist, National Library of Medicine
• Ivan Oransky, M.D., executive editor, Reuters Health

Cityview 2

Freelance: Continuing to progress in your career

Every job has tedious aspects, but freelancers can’t complain to the boss. It’s on us to find a path to satisfying professional work. Panelists at this session will share insights and experience gained along their unique roads to achieving career goals – journalistic as well as personal – amidst the imperatives of running a business.

• David Dobbs, independent journalist, Montpelier, Vt.
• Virginia Hughes, independent journalist, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Irene Wielawski, independent journalist, Pound Ridge, N.Y.


10:40 a.m.

Diving into documents: Using 990s and more to cover hospital finances

Nearly a third of America’s health care spending goes through hospitals. Many have hundreds of millions of dollars in cash on their books – or even billions – and typically rank among a region’s biggest employers. Yet reporters rarely cover their finances. This session aims to demystify hospital finances, showing how to use five key documents to analyze a facility’s fiscal prospects.

• Howard Rivenson, senior lecturer on health management, Harvard School of Public Health
• Karl Stark, assistant managing editor, health and science, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Cityview 1

How to cover nursing homes with more depth and data

More than 1 million Americans live in nursing homes, but finding detailed information about the quality of life residents face in any given facility, from abuse to overmedication, can be challenging. This session will show you how to mine recently updated public databases for that information, interpret key documents and find helpful sources.

• Matt Carroll, reporter/databases, The Boston Globe
• Patricia Fried, nursing home regulatory consultant
• Kay Lazar, health reporter, The Boston Globe

Cityview 2

How to spot troubled health care workers

A doctor steals Oxycontin pills. A nurse abuses elderly patients. A technician hides his rap sheet. Today’s hospitals struggle to eliminate troubled staffers, but only a fraction of them become public. How can we better identify these problematic workers with the potential to do such harm? This workshop features both practical tips about how to use existing databases, as well as how to better use freedom of information laws to uncover these problems. Panelists will also offer ideas about areas to explore that go beyond finding the next Nurse Jackie.

• David Swankin, president and chief exectutive officer, Citizen Advocacy Center
• Ethan O. Bryson, M.D., associate professor, Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
• Tracy Weber, senior reporter, ProPublica
• Patricia Wen, social services reporter, The Boston Globe