Health Journalism 2015: Program

Overview | Wednesday/Thursday/Friday | Saturday/Sunday

Click to read descriptions of events having red arrows.


Saturday, April 25

7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Conference registration desk opens


7-8:30 a.m.

A breakfast buffet is available in the Exhibit Hall.

Look for special networking tables for broadcasters, freelancers and editors.

Ballroom C/D/E/F

7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Exhibit Hall
Open all day for networking, finding new resources and a Cybercafé.

Ballroom C/D/E/F

9-10:20 a.m.

Health providers turning to tech tools for patient monitoring

If only Dr. Marcus Welby could see medicine now. As technology continues to advance, its applications to health continue to see progress as well. This includes patient monitoring, which remains a key challenge at a time in which health providers see many clients and people take multiple medications for a range of health issues. From reducing infections and readmissions to improving communication between staff and various centers, technology plays a key role in improving health care in every community. This panel features experts at the forefront of efforts to leverage such technology in care.
  • Lawrence Chu, M.D., M.S., executive director, Stanford Medicine X; associate professor of anesthesia, Stanford University Anesthesia Informatics and Media Lab

  • Joseph M. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.C., chief medical and science officer, West Health

  • Nimaljeet Tarango, N.P., nurse practitioner, Heart Failure and Pulmonary Hypertension Clinics, University of California, San Francisco Medical Center

  • Moderator: Jason Hidalgo, key topics reporter, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal

Ballroom A

Politics, policy and people: ACA report card

Five years have passed since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, and we’re well into the second year of full implementation. It’s as controversial as ever. We’ll look at some of the political obstacles at the state and federal level – and learn more about what ordinary American have to say about a law that’s simultaneously a political minefield and, increasingly, a part of our health care landscape.
  • David Blumenthal, M.D., president, The Commonwealth Fund

  • Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., senior vice president for executive operations, Kaiser Family Foundation

  • Lanhee Chen, Ph.D., David and Diane Steffy research fellow, Hoover Institution

  • Moderator: Joanne Kenen, AHCJ health reform core topic leader; health care editor, Politico

Ballroom B

One community, two worlds: Reporting on health inequality

In December, San Jose officials dismantled “The Jungle” – a 68-acre shantytown created by hundreds of homeless people. The economic refugee camp was the most visible result of Silicon Valley’s high rate of income inequality – a problem that’s growing across the United States and having a devastating impact on the health of millions of people. The panel explores the trend and its impact. Get the story on new community-based solutions, policies and health care provider approaches.
  • Luisa Buada, R.N., M.P.H., chief executive officer, Ravenswood Family Health Center

  • Sarah Reyes, regional program manager, Building Healthy Communities, The California Endowment

  • Tracy Seipel, reporter, San Jose Mercury News

  • Moderator: Sheree Crute, independent journalist, New York


Inside the living brain: What have we learned, and what's next?

 With improved brain imaging technologies and additional research money through President Obama’s Brain Initiative, we’re getting a clearer picture of this impossibly complex organ and a better glimpse into the inner workings of our minds as well as what happens when things go wrong. Hear the latest from top brain researchers on using new techniques to diagnose and better understand Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, what these new methods are teaching us about neurological and psychiatric illnesses and how new treatments could help patients.
  • Amit Etkin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Stanford School of Medicine

  • Michael Greicius, M.D., M.P.H., medical director, Stanford Center for Memory Disorders; associate professor of neurology, Stanford School of Medicine

  • Pratik Mukherjee, M.D., Ph.D., neuroradiologist and professor, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering, University of California, San Francisco

  • Moderator: Victoria Colliver, reporter, San Francisco Chronicle


10:40 a.m.-

How tech companies are making electronic health records work

The billions spent on implementing electronic health records in the United States spawned an industry that hasn't always gotten sterling reviews. EHRs continue to face criticism that they are difficult to implement and use, provide elusive return on investment, and most critically, still don't interoperate well when they are from different vendors. Still, the industry is young and shows promise. Decision support, advanced interfaces, and innovative analytics technology leveraging EHR platforms may hold the key.
  • Michael Blackman, M.D., chief medical officer, Enterprise Information Solutions, McKesson

  • Kyna Fong, co-founder, Elation EMR

  • Edward Kopetsky, chief information officer, Stanford Children's Health, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford

  • Moderator: Scott Mace, senior technology editor, HealthLeaders Media

Ballroom A

Roundtable: Philanthropy and a vision for health beyond the ACA

The nation’s largest health foundations have spent much of the last decade heavily focused on the debate over the Affordable Care Act. They were a source of data and analysis for journalists – and policymakers – across the country who were trying to figure out what all the pieces meant and the pros and cons of each turn in the road. Now that we are well into implementation, these research and outreach powerhouses can provide reporters a glimpse of fallout issues, what else is ahead and what other important issues deserve coverage.
  • Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., chief strategy officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

  • Sandra Hernandez, M.D., president and chief executive officer, California HealthCare Foundation
  • Robert Hughes, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Missouri Foundation for Health

  • Moderator: Drew Altman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation


Freelance: Is crowdfunding in your future?

While much mainstream and institutional funding for investigative and in-depth reporting projects has dried up, a new source has largely begun to replace those funds: the masses who want to read your work badly enough that they'll pay you directly for it. More and more journalists are experimenting with crowdfunding to fund long-term projects and labors of love. Find out more about what crowdfunding opportunities are out there, what types of reporting or book projects they can fund, how to research the options and determine what platforms might work for your idea, and how to develop and market a proposal that will attract funds.
  • Heather Boerner, independent journalist, San Francisco

  • Erica Castello, marketing and special projects, Patreon

  • Dan Fletcher, co-founder, Beacon

  • Moderator: Tara Haelle, independent journalist, Peoria, Ill.

Ballroom B

Cancer as a chronic condition

As cancer treatments improve, more people are living for months or years with metastatic disease. These patients have cancers that cannot be cured but can be controlled, for much longer than has previously been possible. But can or should cancer be put in the same category as other manageable chronic diseases, like HIV or diabetes? This panel will provide personal and professional insights on this changing aspect of cancer treatment and survivorship – and how to cover it.
  • Amy Berman, senior program officer, The John A. Hartford Foundation

  • Laura Dunn, M.D., professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco

  • George Sledge Jr., M.D., professor and chief, Division of Oncology, Stanford University Medical Center

  • Moderator: Sue Rochman, independent journalist


Noon-2 p.m.

Awards Luncheon
Journalists who did the best work of 2014 will be recognized with the annual Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

The Saturday awards luncheon speaker will be Deane Marchbein, M.D., the president of the United States’ board of directors for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. She will just be back from West Africa, report on the latest from the field and provide her insights into the Ebola crisis, the victims, the caretakers and the global response.

Santa Clara

2-2:50 p.m.

Meet the award winners

Following the awards luncheon, stop by the Exhibit Hall for dessert and prize drawings and look for the designated area to meet the award winners and chat with them about their projects, their techniques and their inspiration.

Exhibit Hall

3-4:20 p.m.

The shifting demands in health provider education 

Increasingly rapid changes in health care and constrained institutional resources are fundamentally challenging medical education. Schools, their students and faculty are innovating at a rapid pace and finding solutions locally and nationally. This panel focuses on new approaches that are challenging many long-held beliefs about medical education, and how the stresses of these changes must be carefully monitored and addressed.
  • Lloyd Minor, M.D., dean, Stanford University School of Medicine

  • John Prescott, M.D., chief academic officer, Association of American Medical Colleges

  • Debbie Ward, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., associate dean of academics, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of California, Davis

  • Moderator: Stephanie Innes, medical reporter, Arizona Daily Star


Mental health and ACA: Revolution or more of the same?

Mental health and ACA: Revolution or more of the same?
If, as intended, the Affordable Care Act puts diagnosis and treatment of mental illness on par with that of physical illness, there are signs the health care system is headed in that direction – and signs that achieving parity between those two spheres will take considerably more time and effort. This panel will give journalists resources and story ideas as it parses the details of ACA mental health funding, and of what remains underfunded or unfunded. Hear from experts about efforts to integrate patient mental and physical health care; what health insurers face within this new, more complex system of mental health care management; and other essential aspects of a discussion taking place as lawmakers continue to tussle over the ACA’s future.
  • Tiffany Ho, M.D., medical director, Santa Clara County Department of Mental Health

  • Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., professor and mental health policy section director, Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

  • Sandra Naylor Goodwin, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions

  • Moderator: Katti Gray, independent journalist, Monticello, N.Y.

Ballroom B

Freelance: Re-slant and resell ideas to multiple markets

Smart freelancers already know they should be looking for ways to get more mileage out of their research, but reselling a story can be easier said than done. Who gets the story first, how different does it have to be and what do you say to your editors? This panel will demystify the art of repurposing with tips for targeting different audiences; ideas for out-of-the box markets like alumni profiles and personal essays; and rules of etiquette to help you keep editors and sources happy.
  • Kate Gammon, independent journalist, Santa Monica, Calif.

  • Laura Helmuth, science and health editor, Slate

  • Beth Howard, independent journalist, Charlotte, N.C.

  • Moderator: Ilima Loomis, independent journalist, Haiku, Hawaii


Stem cells: A roundup on the latest research

Stem cells are the foundational cells for every organ and tissue in our bodies, with two rare traits: the ability to self-renew and the ability to differentiate, giving rise to the many cells that make us who we are. Since the headline-grabbing discovery of embryonic stem cells in 1998, what have we learned? What are our big successes – and failures? This panel brings together top researchers to discuss how we’re harnessing the power of stem cells to transform human health. We’ll learn about the major challenges that remain before stem cells can be used as cell therapies to treat a wider range of diseases
  • Maria Grazia Roncarolo, M.D. , professor of pediatrics (translational and regenerative medicine); professor of medicine (blood and marrow transplantation); Stanford University School of Medicine

  • Daniel A Lim, M.D. Ph.D., assistant professor in residence of neurological surgery, director of restorative neurosurgery; faculty, biomedical sciences graduate program and Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of California, San Francisco

  • Irving Weissman, M.D., director, Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine

  • Moderator: Lisa Krieger, science & medicine writer, San Jose Mercury News


Wearables: Possibilities for consumers and health professionals

Wearable technology has drawn a lot of attention recently. From activity trackers that monitor your steps and sleep, to devices that track symptoms and dispense medication, personal health monitoring is becoming increasingly popular among consumers and some clinicians. In this session, we will try to sort out the hype from what has the potential to transform how we take care of ourselves. Panelists discuss some uses for all of that data, including utilizing the information to help drive healthier behavior and to predict upcoming health changes.
  • Malay Gandhi, managing director, Rock Health

  • Jenny Hapgood, vice president, product management and marketing, Chrono Therapeutics Inc.

  • Christine Lemke, Chief Product Officer, Evidation Health

  • Moderator: Andrea Kissack, senior science editor, KQED-San Francisco

Ballroom A

Challenges facing America's aging family caregivers

Americans are living longer, but three out of four people over age 65 live with multiple chronic conditions, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. Family members provide the bulk of care, from juggling medical appointments to 24/7 hands-on medical tasks. Many caregivers say they’re untrained, lack community resources, are overwhelmed and burnt out. This panel will offer perspective on what experts say is a caregiving crisis in the United States, highlight successful community-based support initiatives and explore how journalists can capture unique story angles when covering this issue.
  • Lynn Friss Feinberg, M.S.W., senior strategic policy adviser, AARP Public Policy Institute

  • Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, Ph.D., director, Stanford Geriatric Education Center; professor, Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine

  • Yanick Rice Lamb, associate professor, Howard University

  • Moderator: Liz Seegert, AHCJ core topic leader on aging; independent journalist, Little Neck, N.Y.

Stevens Creek/

4:40-6 p.m.

The role of nurses in improving health care quality

No one understand a patient’s needs better than the nurse, making nurses uniquely qualified to tackle some of the toughest issues facing hospitals, such as infections, readmissions and other concerns. As hospitals strive to boost patient satisfaction and meet other quality metrics, nurses are taking the lead in figuring out how to make the system work better for patients. In this session, you will learn about several nurse-led initiatives that reduce suffering and elevate the quality of care.
  • Maureen Carroll, R.N., C.H.F.N., transitional care manager, heart failure program coordinator, UCSF Medical Center

  • Susan Costello, Ph.D., R.N., vice president for patient care services, chief nursing officer, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford

  • Nancy J. Lee, R.N., M.S.N., N.E.A.-B.C., vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer, Stanford Health Care

  • Moderator: Felice Freyer, health care reporter, The Boston Globe

Ballroom A

Cutting through the haze of e-cigarettes

Do e-cigarettes offer a safer alternative to smokers who are addicted to the regular kind? Do they present a poison-laced danger to teens? Should non-users worry about secondhand effects of the vapors? We’ll look at how journalists can sort out the truth and present compelling, fair coverage of this growing controversy.
  • Sonya Collins, independent journalist, Atlanta

  • Gregory Conley, president, American Vaping Association

  • Judith Prochaska, M.P.H., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center

  • Moderator: Tony Leys, health care reporter, Des Moines Register

Ballroom B

How venture capitalists and angel investors see health care startups

The next great medical breakthroughs are fueled by money from an increasingly diverse collection of investors: from angel investors to venture capitalists to crowdfunders to strategics (and beyond). Learn more about private investing in health care, what these health care investors see as the “hot” sectors in medicine, and get a better understanding of how to deliver contextual reporting on health care investing.
  • Anne DeGheest, founder and managing director, HealthTech Capital

  • Mohamad Makhzoumi, partner, New Enterprise Associates

  • Camille Samuels, partner, Venrock

  • Lisa Suennen, managing partner, Venture Valkyrie Consulting LLC

  • Michael Yang, managing director, Silicon Valley office, Comcast Ventures

  • Moderator: Chris Seper, vice president of healthcare, Breaking Media


Broadcasting health: Techniques to keep audience interest

Some health policy stories are a broadcast editor’s worst nightmare: too wonky, too boring for the airwaves. How can radio and television reporters bring these important stories to life? 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 sites.
  • April Dembosky, health reporter, KQED-San Francisco

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


The health care business beat in a post-ACA world

Come hear from some top health business journalists about how they come up with great story ideas and find sources, documents and “real” people to make compelling copy for editors and readers. Now, that the initial Obamacare rollout is over, what are the best health business stories whether you are a local, regional or national reporter? Learn how to follow the money in health care – whether it’s your local hospital, nursing home or your state’s largest health insurer. Who’s getting rich off Obamacare and at what cost to consumers, taxpayers and employers?
  • Merrill Goozner, editor, Modern Healthcare

  • Anna W. Matthews, reporter, The Wall Street Journal

  • Chad Terhune, health reporter, Los Angeles Times

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

Stevens Creek/

6 p.m.

Salute to Health Journalism Reception
Sponsored by the
California HealthCare Foundation

Join us for wine, cheese and conversation prior to your dinner plans.

Lafayette & Mezzanine Foyer

Sunday, April 26

7 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Conference registration desk opens


8:30 a.m.

A breakfast buffet is available.


9-10:20 a.m.

Making best use of PubMed, and more

PubMed, and other National Library of Medicine resources are some of the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and evidence-based around, but they 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; co-founder, Retraction Watch


What have we learned in the second wave of insurance enrollment?

The second round of ACA open enrollment was a less glitchy experience than the first, but it wasn’t pain free. Panelists will delve into the data and patterns behind this year’s enrollment numbers, from consumer health plan choices to coverage by ethnicity. In other words, who’s in? And who’s still out? This session will focus primarily on California and the West Coast.
  • Pauline Bartolone, health care reporter, Capital Public Radio

  • Colin Havert, vice president and general manager of individual business, Anthem Blue Cross of California

  • Cary Sanders, director of policy analysis, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

  • Moderator: Emily Bazar, senior writer, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Stevens Creek

Freelance: Making your book proposal a success

Think you have a book in you? Our panel of experts will help you gauge whether your topic is book-worthy and demystify the process of writing, editing and selling a winning proposal.
  • Ada Calhoun, independent journalist, Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • Amanda Moon, senior editor, Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books

  • Beth Vesel, senior vice president, Irene Goodman Associates

  • Moderator: Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, independent journalist, New York


10:40 a.m.-


Finding stories, avoiding pitfalls in new health data

With the trove of data out from everything from Medicare payments to data tracking relations between providers and drug companies, understanding the data to find stories can be overwhelming. Panelists will share their experiences with health data and give you tips for avoiding potential potholes in the data.
  • Ronald Campbell, reporter, California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting

  • Cheryl Phillips, Hearst professional in residence, Stanford University

  • Eric Sagara, senior data reporter, Reveal/Center for Investigative Reporting

  • Fred Trotter, health care data journalist, The DocGraph Journal

  • Moderator: Jennifer LaFleur, senior editor for data journalism, Center for Investigative Reporting


Vaccines: Covering more than just spot news

Measles, mumps, meningitis, oh my! These infectious, sometimes deadly diseases are making an unwelcome comeback, sickening thousands of people, including children. Last year, more than 10,000 people in California alone caught whooping cough and two infants died from it. Much of the recent coverage of these outbreaks has focused on a small but vocal minority of parents who think vaccines are dangerous. But there's much more to the issue. How can journalists cut through the chatter and latest outbreak numbers to give our readers stories with context? What is the role of balance and "false balance" when covering vaccine-preventable diseases? Join us for a lively discussion about how to better cover this hot topic and get ideas for what stories still need to be told.
  • Sharon Kaufman, Ph.D., chair, Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

  • Rebecca Plevin, health reporter, Southern California Public Radio

  • Elizabeth Rosenblum, M.D., professor of clinical medicine, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and Department of Reproductive Medicine, University of California, San Diego Health System

  • Moderator: Lauren M. Whaley, multimedia journalist, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Stevens Creek

Tracking the dangers of medical devices

We’ve seen the recent news: A particular type of medical endoscopes is linked to superbug infections. But that’s not where the story of medical devices ends. With thousands of devices on the market and in use every day, the panel of experts in health safety and journalism will move news about the latest outbreak into broader discussion for reporters about acquiring accurate information about medical devices, data and other resources in tracking the approval and regulation of such devices.
  • Peter Eisler, investigative reporter, USA Today

  • Scott R. Lucas, Ph.D., P.E., associate director, accident and forensic investigation, ECRI Institute

  • Moderator: Chad Terhune, health reporter, Los Angeles Times


Overview | Wednesday/Thursday/Friday | Saturday/Sunday