Health Journalism 2014: Program for Saturday and Sunday

Click to read descriptions of events having red arrows.

Thursday | FridaySaturday | Sunday

Saturday, March 29

7-8:30 a.m.

Breakfast available in the Exhibit Hall

Imperial Ballroom

9-10:20 a.m.

Investigating senior care

The soaring number of older, sicker seniors is causing unprecedented growth in long-term care. Some caregivers and regulators are scrambling to keep up. Recent reporting has revealed serious lapses and even deaths at some nursing and assisted-living homes. Yet quality services will be essential as the ranks of seniors over 85 climb an estimated 53 percent by 2030. We will explore challenges facing seniors, families, caregivers and legislators. It will provide an array of tools so that journalists can better research long-term care in their states and communities.
  • David Gifford, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president of quality & regulatory affairs, American Health Care Association

  • Edward Mortimore, technical director, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

  • Brandon Stahl, data/watchdog reporter, Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul

  • Moderator: Deborah Schoch, senior writer, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Mt. Sopris A

Covering mental illness and violence

One after another, mass shootings like the one in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in 2012 have brought us face to face with a public health crisis in our treatment of mental illness. Huge gaps in our behavioral health system beg for strong reporting. This panel will give journalists more tools for covering mental illness and violence, breaking down the latest research on what the connection actually is and discussing state and national efforts to prevent more deaths from occurring. We’ll hear from an emergency room doctor who treated patients from the shootings at Columbine High School and Aurora.
  • Christopher B. Colwell, M.D., chief of emergency medicine, Denver Health Medical Center

  • Moe Keller, vice president public policy and strategic initiatives, Mental Health America of Colorado

  • Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

  • Moderator: Kristin Jones, reporter, I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS

Mt. Sopris B

Spotting conflicts of interest in studies and treatment

Free lunches, branded office supplies, drug company-sponsored continuing medical education classes – conflicts of interest abound in medicine. They can influence how doctors treat patients, often with disastrous results. Conflicts can taint medical studies, introducing bias for the results and danger for patients. This panel will discuss how to find and report on conflicts of interest in medicine.
  • Susan Chimonas, Ph.D., research scholar, Center on Medicine as a Profession, Columbia University

  • John Fauber, investigative reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Paul Levy, author and blogger, former hospital chief executive officer

  • Moderator: Blythe Bernhard, health reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Maroon Peak

How will hospital mergers and consolidations impact the public?

Large hospital systems are on an acquisition binge, taking over smaller, often financially troubled, systems and physician practices. Proponents argue their growing market clout creates economies of scale that drive down costs and set the stage for improved quality and better coordinated care. Detractors – and sometimes government trustbusters – worry it gives hospitals too much market power that only serves to drive prices higher. This roundtable discussion will explore the strategies behind the consolidation craze with hospital officials on the front lines of the merger and acquisition boom.
  • Robert Field, J.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of law, Drexel University School of Public Health

  • Scott Lichtenberger, chief strategy officer, University of Colorado Hospital System

  • Mark Parrington, vice president, strategic transactions and development, Catholic Health Initiatives

  • Michael Salem, M.D., president, National Jewish Health

  • Michael A. Slubowski, chief executive officer, SCL Health System

  • Moderator: Merrill Goozner, editor, Modern Healthcare

Mt. Elbert A

What promise does the BRAIN initiative hold?

Neuroscientists have embarked on an ambitious project to map the workings of the human brain. The federal government is expected to spend $100 million on the effort, called the BRAIN Initiative. Supporters say it could lead to important insights into brain function as well as new treatments for a range of illnesses. We’ll look at the key health implications of the scientific endeavor and some of the bioethical concerns it raises.
  • Erik Parens, senior research scholar, The Hastings Center

  • John R. Sladek Jr., Ph.D., professor of neurology, pediatrics and neuroscience, University of Colorado School of Medicine

  • Kenneth L. Tyler, M.D., Reuler-Lewin family professor and chairman, Department of Neurology, University of Colorado School of Medicine

  • Moderator: Scott Hensley, Shots blog writer and editor, NPR

Mt. Elbert B

Vector-borne disease growth

We will look at diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks that are already sickening thousands in the United States, from Lyme disease and West Nile virus to growing threats that are knocking on our doors. Experts will talk about ongoing research, potential vaccines and treatments.
  • Timm Edell, M.D., regional department chief of infectious disease, Kaiser Permanente Colorado

  • Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., director, Division of Vector-borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Dan Stinchcomb, Ph.D., senior scientific advisor, Takeda Vaccines Inc.

  • Moderator: Pat Ferrier, reporter, The Coloradoan, Fort Collins

Mt. Evans

10:40 a.m.-

The dirt on the allergy epidemic

Allergy rates are skyrocketing. The confounding question is why. Are we too clean? Too careful? Does living with livestock — like the Amish do — protect against allergies? Would early exposure to allergenic foods — like peanuts — actually prevent sensitivity rather than making kids more allergic? Is Tylenol to blame for soaring asthma rates? And has climate change played a role? Come hear some of the world’s leading experts discuss the mysteries of the allergy epidemic.
  • Dan Atkins, M.D., associate professor, Children's Hospital Colorado

  • Erwin Gelfand, M.D., chair of pediatrics, National Jewish Health

  • Mark Holbreich, M.D., physician, Allergy and Asthma Consultants

  • Gideon Lack, M.D., professor of paediatric allergy, King's College London

  • Moderator: Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, health reporter, Health News Colorado

Mt. Sopris A

Crisis, cost and quality: New angles on end-of-life care

Hospice and palliative care connote death with dignity – or at least free from suffering. The popular image is of a gentle exit from life in contrast to a harsh end while undergoing extreme and costly medical treatment. But how accurate is this image? Panelists will offer a candid appraisal of the status quo and how these care systems are likely to develop under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Deborah A. Benzil, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.N.S., director at large, American Association of Neurological Surgeons

  • David Casarett, M.D., M.A., director, hospice and palliative care, Penn Medicine

  • Bronwyn Long, R.N., D.N.P., M.B.A., palliative care and oncology clinical nurse specialist, National Jewish Health

  • Moderator: Irene Wielawski, independent journalist, Pound Ridge, N.Y.

Mt. Sopris B

Freelance: Contracts 101

This panel will address contracts from three perspectives. A successful freelance journalist will address clauses to watch out for in a contract, the differences between “work made for hire” and “first rights,” how to modify warranty or indemnity clauses to make them more acceptable, negotiating strategies and how business entities protect writers or not. An attorney will discuss specific contractual terms, including which ones to fight for and hold firm to and which ones to yield on. The chairman of the business practices committee of the National Press Photographers Association will discuss common pitfalls found in contracts and teach negotiating techniques and strategies.
  • James Gregorio, attorney, Gregorio PLLC

  • Kendall Powell, freelance science writer and editor, Kendall Powell SciWriting LLC

  • Greg Smith, independent journalist; board member, National Press Photographers Association

  • Moderator: Cheryl Platzman Weinstock, independent journalist, Weston, Conn.

Maroon Peak

What happens when your medical records are digitized?

Doctors and hospitals are eligible for billions of dollars in federal stimulus money to bring their facilities into the digital age to save money and improve the quality of health care. How are they doing in this process and what does it mean for patients? This panel will update journalists, breaking down the complex stages of "meaningful use," so they can return home to their markets and write thoughtful, compelling and understandable stories about this effort to bring health care into the digital age.
  • Christopher Alban, M.D., M.B.A., clinical informatics specialist, Epic Systems Corp.

  • John H. Daniels, C.N.M., F.A.C.H.E., F.H.I.M.S.S., C.P.H.I.M.S., vice president, strategic relations, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

  • Mary Anne Leach, chief information officer, Children's Hospital Colorado

  • Moderator: Bruce Japsen, health care writer, Forbes

Mt. Elbert A

Patient safety: New efforts to address human error

A hallmark of the Affordable Care Act in improving quality of care and reducing costs is cutting medical errors. The landmark law has introduced measures that penalize and reward hospitals to motivate them to pay greater attention to patient safety. This session will explore innovative ways that hospitals are improving patient safety and will show where journalists can look to track hospital safety data and hospital efforts to reduce errors.
  • Michelle Barron, M.D., associate professor of medicine, University of Colorado

  • Leah Binder, M.A., M.G.A., president and chief executive officer, The Leapfrog Group

  • Camille Haycock, R.N., vice president of Care Continuum, Catholic Health Initiative

  • Moderator: Mark Taylor, independent journalist, Chicago

Mt. Elbert B

Getting personal: The medical and ethical challenges of using genetic information

The practice of medicine has always been personal regarding the treatment of individual patients, but science has fostered a new era of so-called personalized medicine that takes into account each person’s specific clinical, genetic, genomic and environmental information in designing tailored treatment plans.
  • Bryan R. Haugen, M.D., professor of medicine and pathology, University of Colorado School of Medicine

  • Carl Morrison, M.D., D.V.M., executive director, Center for Personalized Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute

  • Rebecca D. Pentz, Ph.D., professor of research ethics, Emory School of Medicine

  • Moderator: Eric T. Rosenthal, special correspondent, Oncology Times

Mt. Evans

Noon-2 p.m.

Awards Luncheon
Journalists who did the best work of 2013 will be recognized with the annual Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. 

  • Speaker: Paul A. Offit, M.D., chief of the division of infectious diseases  and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Grand Ballroom

2-2:50 p.m.

Dessert and prize drawings

Imperial Ballroom

3-4:20 p.m.

Fracking, drilling and other environmental health concerns

The use of hydraulic fracturing – fracking – has increased dramatically over the past several years. Now, more than 15 million people in the United States live within a mile of an oil or gas well. Medical professionals and researchers are only beginning to determine potential impacts on public health related to these operations, including from air pollution and groundwater contamination. In this panel, we will discuss findings from recent studies on health risks related to fracking, and the challenges reporters may face covering this controversial topic.
  • Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., research associate, Colorado School of Public Health

  • Lee S. Newman, M.A., M.D., professor of environmental and occupational health, Colorado School of Public Health

  • David O. Williams, founder and editor, Rocky Mountain Post
  • Moderator: Cara DeGette, editor, Colorado Public News

Mt. Sopris A

Big data: What's in it for us?

“Big data” is a buzz phrase in technology, politics, and health. But what exactly is “big data?” The term is used in the context of medical researchers, providers, insurers, government agencies, privacy advocates and more. How is it changing health care, and how can it change health journalism? What are the stories we can unearth with “big data?” And how can reporters find pitfalls and outliers that may trip up a story?
  • Tracey D. Campbell, director, All Payer Claims Database, Center for Improving Value in Health Care

  • Sarah Greene, M.P.H., senior program officer, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

  • Peter Speyer, director of data development, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

  • Moderator: Dawn Fallik, visiting professor, University of Kansas

Mt. Sopris B

Freelance: Writing and selling the long-form story

Thinking about tackling a narrative? Maybe you write plenty of them and want some tips that help simplify the process. Hear from professional writers and editors about time-saving tips. Learn about selecting and interviewing top-notch sources, organizing the story, concise but informative storytelling, and self-editing. Learn how to identify new clients, from various publications, websites and other health-related markets.
  • Bruce Barcott, contributing editor, On Earth Magazine

  • Heather Cygan, vice president of news/managing editor, Gannett Healthcare Group

  • Moderator: Elise Oberliesen, independent journalist, Westminster, Colo.

Maroon Peak

Award winners share their techniques

Winners of the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism share tips on how they reported their winning stories.
  • Moderator: Julie Appleby, M.P.H., senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

  • Elizabeth Rosenthal

  • Alison Young

  • Luke Timmerman

  • Christian Miller

  • Cindy Uken

  • Bryan Gruley

  • Jonathan Cohn

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (John Fauber representing the team)

  • Dave Phillips

  • Global Post (Marissa Miley and Emily Judem)

  • Leslie Roberts

  • Roxanne Khamsi

Mt. Elbert A

Marketplaces' effects on small businesses

One of the keys to success of the ACA will be how many small businesses use the Small Business Health Options (SHOP) marketplaces to enroll employees in health insurance coverage. The SHOP marketplaces will help small businesses administer health plans, but these employers are keenly interested in the cost of care. Therefore, the SHOP marketplaces will need to keep costs down if they are going to succeed. The panel offers insights from the angles of policy research, small business owners and marketplace operators.
  • John Arensmeyer, founder and chief executive officer, Small Business Majority

  • Vince Ashton, president and chief executive officer, HealthPass New York

  • Kevin Lucia, M.H.P., J.D., senior research fellow, Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute

  • James Sugden, small business marketplace manager, Connect for Health Colorado

  • Moderator: Joseph Burns, AHCJ topic leader/insurance; independent journalist, Falmouth, Mass.

Mt. Elbert B

What's ahead in efforts to "build healthy places?"

Research on the "built environment" effect on health remains an uncertain work in progress, but that hasn’t stopped health departments and city planners from trying to make use of it to find more effective ways to help people stay healthy. Denver’s efforts range from a massive redevelopment of a low-income housing project to the small-scale design of kids’ playgrounds. This panel will clarify the potential – and the limits – of attempts to rebuild neighborhoods to promote health and reverse long-entrenched disparities.
  • Lois A. Brink, executive director, Learning Landscapes

  • Paul D. Lopez, councilman, District 3, Denver City Council

  • Lynne M. Picard, director, Workforce Development and Community Initiatives, Denver Housing Authority

  • Moderator: Joe Rojas-Burke, AHCJ topic leader/social determinants; independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

Mt. Evans

4:40-6 p.m.

The asthma crisis: Keeping kids out of the ER

Asthma affects more than 7 million children in the U.S. and is the third-leading cause of childhood hospitalizations. More than $2.6 billion is spent every year on children’s emergency room visits due to asthma complications. Hear experts discuss the “September epidemic,” when children’s asthma-related ER visits spike in the fall; learn about the correlation between childhood obesity, asthma and physical inactivity, including what role exercise-induced asthma plays; and discover strategies used by health care providers to keep asthmatic children on their medications and out of the ER.
  • Bruce Bender, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Health Promotion, National Jewish Health

  • Lisa Cicutto, R.N., Ph.D., C.A.E., director of community outreach and research, National Jewish Health

  • Stanley J. Szefler, M.D., director, Pediatric Asthma Research Program, The Breathing Institute, Children's Hospital Colorado

  • Moderator: Jeannette Moninger, independent journalist, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Mt. Sopris A

Hospital grading: Reporting on quality report cards

Using the deluge of new data, private efforts to boil hospital performance into summary reports, grades, best of lists and ranks are growing more widespread and more detailed — and sometimes more contradictory. This panel looks at how these assessments can be used in your reporting, including what shortcomings you should be aware of. We also discuss how report cards can become stories themselves.
  • Marshall Allen, reporter, ProPublica

  • Evan Marks, executive vice president, informatics and strategy, Healthgrades

  • John Santa, M.D., M.P.H., medical director, Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center

  • Moderator: Jordan Rau, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

Mt. Sopris B

Broadcaster recap: Seeing and hearing the story

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.
  • Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

  • Ashley Reynolds, multimedia journalist, KYTV-Springfield, Mo.

  • Joy Robertson, host/writer/producer, The Food Channel

Maroon Peak

Transforming Medicaid: What it means for states and your audience

Covering Medicaid means following the billions of dollars at stake and the impact the program has on more than 60 million people each year. The state-federal program is growing as many states expand eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. But it also is changing to in an effort to improve care and contain costs. States are expanding the use of managed care, putting private insurers in charge of recipients’ care. In a closely watched experiment, Arkansas is taking the privatization approach a step further by using Medicaid funds to help people buy the same private insurance policies as the middle class. Medicaid programs are changing the way they pay doctors and hospitals to drive better performance. Our panel of leading experts will discuss what’s driving these changes in many states so you know what questions to ask in yours and can put changes in perspective national and historical.
  • Susan E. Birch, M.B.A., B.S.N., R.N., executive director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

  • Joan Henneberry, managing principal, Health Management Associates

  • David Ramsey, associate editor, Arkansas Times

  • Moderator: Phil Galewitz, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

Mt. Elbert A

The advance of drug-resistant TB and our minimal tools to fight it

Only a few years ago, tuberculosis seemed to be beaten, a 19th-century illness with no relevance to the modern era. Today, multi-drug resistant TB has gained a foothold in many countries and borderline-untreatable "extensively" and "totally" resistant varieties are spreading. This is not just a Third World story; cases of highly resistant TB have come to the U.S. not just through migrants and immigrants, but through US travelers returning home. What are the challenges to treating this disease and the prospects of containing it worldwide?
  • Charles Daley, M.D., chief, Division of Mycobacterial and Respiratory Infections, National Jewish Health

  • Michelle Haas, M.D., assistant professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

  • Randall Reves, M.D., professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

  • Moderator: Maryn McKenna, independent journalist, Atlanta

Mt. Elbert B

6-7 p.m.

Wine & cheese reception
Join us for light refreshments prior to your dinner plans.

Grand Ballroom

Sunday, March 30

8:30 a.m.

Breakfast available in the Exhibit Hall

Imperial Ballroom

9-10:20 a.m.

How to report, write and publish your book

Do you want to add “book author” to your résumé? Do you have a dream project you'd like to see in print? Join book authors who have drilled down from concept to proposal and book contract. Everything you need to know about writing a health/medical book, including building your platform before the proposal, marketing and publicizing your book to maximize sales.
  • Heather Boerner, independent journalist, San Francisco

  • Catherine Dold, freelance writer and editor, Boulder, Colo.

  • Andrea King Collier, independent journalist, Lansing, Mich.

Mt. Columbia

Finding great stories using public clinical research databases

PubMed,, and other National Library of Medicine resources are some of the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and evidence-based around, but they also can be overwhelming. We'll help you navigate them in a hands-on session (laptops encouraged!). Highlights will include finding resources within PubMed Health (a gateway to international medical/public health systematic reviews and comparative effectiveness research); navigating (particularly how to find summaries of clinical trial results); as well as some recent changes in PubMed including the ability to see scientists offer study critiques in real time.
  • Robert Logan, Ph.D., communication scientist, National Library of Medicine

  • Ivan Oransky, M.D., vice president and global editorial director, MedPage Today

Mt. Oxford

Reporting on hospital quality measures

As hospital quality measures proliferate, this session will help you identify new angles for covering them and providing relevant information to your audience. We will look at examples of good work that has been done and talk about the measures coming out in the near future.
  • Ashish Jha, M.D., M.P.H., professor of health policy, Harvard School of Public Health

  • Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

Maroon Peak

10:40 a.m.-

Freelance: Coolest tools to find a story, research it, write it and share it

Learn how new (and old) tools and apps can help you work smarter, be more competitive and stand out from the crowd. Panelists will talk about how they use innovative tools to communicate, including video, audio, mobile, ebooks, self-publishing, polling, texting, social media, social news gathering, social bookmarking, Scrivener, Diigo, Toodledo, Slideshare, Freshbooks, Storify, Storyful, Dropbox, Evernote, and much more. They’ll also be discussing the trends they see coming down the pike that will be important to all communicators.
  • Jill Adams, independent journalist, Delmar, N.Y.

  • Amy Gahran, independent journalist, Boulder, Colo.

  • Kit Seeborg, digital media producer, Boulder, Colo.

  • Moderator: Catherine Dold, freelance writer and editor, Boulder, Colo.

Mt. Oxford

Understanding changing hospital finances

Nearly a third of America’s health care spending goes through hospitals. Many have hundreds of millions of dollars in cash – sometimes billions – and often rank among a region’s biggest employers. Yet reporters rarely cover their finances. This session aims to demystify hospital finances, showing journalists how to use five key documents to analyze a facility’s fiscal prospects.
  • Karl Stark, assistant managing editor, health and science, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Mt. Columbia

Handling the health-related interview

Interviews are interviews, but successful interviews on health topics can demand special understanding of science, privacy and other laws, health care business, mythology of medicine and more. This session will explore fundamental interviewing principles and offer tips for translating scientific topics, connecting with people, finding fresh angles for your stories.
  • Lisa Bernard-Kuhn, health care reporter, The Cincinnati Enquirer

  • Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

Maroon Peak

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday