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Health Journalism 2016: Program

Click red arrows to read descriptions of events and panels.

Thursday/Friday | Saturday/Sunday

Saturday, April 9

The Exhibit Hall will be open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. for networking, finding new resources and recharging your electronics.

7-8:15 a.m.


Breakfast available
Sponsored by the
Journal of the American Osteopathic Association


8-8:50 a.m.


Check for Newsmaker Briefing


9-10:20 a.m.


Freelance: Ethical considerations for independent journalists

Honest behavior is much like sticking to a diet. When facing an ethical dilemma, being aware of the temptation before it happens and thinking about the long-term consequences of a particular choice can help you make the “healthiest” decision. The broad array of opportunities that freelancers in particular face in today’s media ecosystem — combined with the financial pressures of stagnant rates — can make it challenging to determine when a conflict of interest, or the potential appearance of one, exists. In this panel, we will explore these issues and provide an opportunity for freelance journalists to consider where the lines are and what ethical quandaries lay around the corner. Let’s explore and discuss.
  • Beth Howard, independent journalist, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Trudy Lieberman, contributing editor, Columbia Journalism Review
  • Brendan Maher, feature editor, Nature
  • Andrew Seaman, senior medical journalist, Reuters Health
  • Moderator: Tara Haelle, AHCJ topic leader/medical studies; independent journalist, Peoria, Ill.

The Beatles

Expanding the dental workforce to reach underserved communities

States across the country are struggling with ways to expand access to dental care. By federal estimates, 49 million Americans live in communities that have been designated dental health professional shortage areas. The best ways to get care to these places poses deep challenges, and stirs plenty of debate. This panel explores two emerging workforce models that reflect two approaches to meeting the nation's needs for oral health services.
  • Angela Black, tribal health manager, Chickasaw Nation
  • Christy Jo Fogarty, advanced dental therapist, Minnesota Dental Therapy Association
  • Jane Grover, D.D.S., M.P.H., director, Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations American Dental Association
  • Emily Pietig, D.D.S., dental therapy supervisor, Children's Dental Services
  • Moderator: Mary C. Otto, AHCJ topic leader/oral health; independent journalist

Fleetwood Mac

Is that $1,000 pill really worth it? How to examine high health costs

Skyrocketing drug prices are leading private and public insurers to ration health care, causing angst among consumers and putting the issue on the front burner for presidential candidates. One potential solution that getting closer scrutiny is trying to define value in health care so people will know just what they’re buying. Our panelists will explore its promises and pitfalls.
  • Peter Bach, M.D., director of Memorial Sloan Kettering's Center for Health Policy and Outcomes
  • Sarah Emond, chief operating officer, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review
  • Neal Meropol, M.D., chief, division of hematology and oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University
  • Jonathan Rockoff, staff writer, The Wall Street Journal
  • Moderator: Phil Galewitz, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

Bruce Springsteen

Trauma's mental impact from childhood to adulthood

The impact of child abuse and neglect and of medical, sexual, violence-related and other trauma can extend into adulthood and raise the risks for mental and physical illness and early death, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Veterans Affairs and several private mental health organizations. Clinicians and other professionals in the growing National Child Traumatic Stress Network will discuss the effects of trauma.
  • Kristine Buffington, M.S.W., consultant/trainer, Buffington Consulting
  • Kathleen Hackett, R.N., B.S.N., S.A.N.E.-P., sexual assault nurse examiner and SANE coordinator, University Hospital Rainbow Babies and Children’s Program
  • Ewald Horwath M.D., M.S., L.F.A.P.A., psychiatry department chairman, Case Western Reserve University/MetroHealth System
  • Glenda Wrenn, M.D., M.S.H.P., director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute Division of Behavioral Health, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Moderator: Katti Gray, independent journalist, Towson, Md.

The Supremes

What is Big Data and how to use it to report on urban health issues

How does Big Data — a hot public health tool — translate into successful, boots-on-the-ground initiatives that are solving health issues in communities nationwide? This panel will explore how increasingly sophisticated data sets are being used by city leaders, community organizations, health care providers, and others to influence the daily health of city residents. Panelists will highlight resources and discuss how journalists can use data to tell public health stories.
  • Lawrence Kleinman, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., director of the Center for Child Health and Policy; vice chair of pediatrics for child health and policy; professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Jose Pagan, Ph.D., director, Center for Health Innovation, New York Academy of Medicine
  • Brie Zeltner, health reporter, The Plain Dealer
  • Moderator: Naseem S. Miller, senior reporter, Orlando Sentinel

Eric Clapton

10:40 a.m.-

Beyond HIV/AIDS: Reporting on the LGBT community

The LGBT community is a diverse group of people from all age groups, races and ethnicities, social and economic groups and locations. Yet, the members of this diverse community are linked by a number of specific health needs. In this comprehensive session, experts will provide attendees with an overview of the emerging areas of importance in LGBT health and health policy.
  • Kellan E. Baker, senior fellow, LGBT Research and Communications Project, Center for American Progress
  • James Hekman, M.D., F.A.C.P., A.A.H.I.V.S., clinical assistant professor, Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University
  • Henry Ng, M.D., director, the MetroHealth System's PRIDE Clinic; assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Moderator: Andrew M. Seaman, senior medical journalist, Reuters Health

The Beatles

Stem cells and regenerative medicine: What’s real

Stem cells, with their ability to give rise to all the different organs and cells in the body, hold enormous promise to treat diseases and repair damaged tissue such as muscle, bone and the insulating sheath around nerves. They also can cause harm, driving the growth of cancers. Panelists will explore the progress scientists have made – and the remaining challenges – in manipulating or “programming” stem cells, as potential treatments for ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and arthritis.
  • Stanton L. Gerson M.D., director, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center; director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; director, National Center for Regenerative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University
  • Paul J. Tesar, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University
  • Moderator: Gideon Gil, managing editor for enterprise and partnerships, Stat

Fleetwood Mac

How can we find the true cost of health care?

Unlike almost every part of the economy, transparency in health care and the ability to know what something costs remains elusive even as millions more Americans can afford to buy medical treatments under the Affordable Care Act. This panel will look at the health care industry's lack of transparency when it comes to costs, prices and, perhaps most importantly, the barriers to getting at the true cost of care.
  • Anil Jain, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Explorys, IBM Watson Health
  • David Lansky, chief executive officer, Pacific Business Group on Health
  • Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO, Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement
  • Moderator: Bruce R. Japsen, health care columnist, Forbes

Bruce Springsteen

If HIPAA is broken, how can it be fixed?

In the past year, hackers have breached the computer networks of several prominent health insurance companies and accessed personal information on millions of patients. Far more quietly, tens of thousands of smaller breaches were reported to the government. Was 2015 the year in which patient privacy was lost once and for all? Are government agencies and health companies doing enough to safeguard patient information? Is HIPAA relevant today? This session will identify new trends in health privacy and how to cover them.
  • Neal Eggeson, attorney, Indianapolis
  • Deven McGraw, deputy director for health information privacy, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Joy Pritts, health information privacy and security consultant
  • Moderator: Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

The Supremes

Reinventing medical education

The model of medical education that has been used for the past 50 years is ill-adapted to the needs of our health care delivery system. Recent medical graduates report feeling totally unprepared for the challenges they face as they enter practice. To correct this, the American Medical Association launched an initiative in 2013 to provide $1 million to each of 11 medical schools with innovative reform concepts. The AMA recently expanded its program to another 20 medical schools. That growing number means more places where journalists have a local story about training of the next medical leaders.
  • Pamela B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D. dean, School of Medicine; senior vice president for medical affairs, Case Western Reserve University
  • Christine Cassel, M.D., planning dean, Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine
  • Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of anesthesiology, surgery, biomedical informatics and health policy, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Nathan Moore, M.D., resident in internal medicine, Washington University; author, The Health Care Handbook
  • Moderator: Duncan Moore, independent journalist, Chicago

Eric Clapton

Noon-2 p.m. 

Awards luncheon with Surgeon General

Journalists who did the best work of 2015 will be recognized with the annual Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., will address conference attendees at the luncheon. Murthy is responsible for communicating scientific information to the public to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He oversees the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, made up of about 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve around the world.

David Bowie

2-2:50 p.m.

Meet the award winners

Following the awards luncheon, stop by the Exhibit Hall for dessert and prize drawings. 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.


Taking care of the changing veteran population

What can be done to meet the needs of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans? How do their experiences compare to those of previous generations of veterans? Experts, including a veterans’ advocate and a leader from the Department of Veterans Affairs, will talk about these issues and how the media could improve its coverage.
  • Murray Altose, M.D., chief of staff, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

  • Joseph Calabrese, M.D., coordinating principal investigator, Ohio Army National Guard Mental Health Initiative, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Western Medical Center

  • Will Brown, service officer, American Legion

  • Moderator: Tony Leys, staff writer, Des Moines Register

The Beatles

Hepatitis C and beyond: A far-reaching story

It's good news when a cure is found for a chronic illness afflicting millions. But the very effective, very expensive new treatments for hepatitis C raise troubling questions about drug pricing, Medicaid spending, and care of the disenfranchised. On this panel, a physician, a lawyer, and a policy expert will share their differing perspectives on a topic with implications well beyond this one disease.
  • Sarah K. Emond, M.P.P., chief operating officer, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review
  • Robert Greenwald, J.D., director, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation; clinical professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Melissa K. Osborn, M.D., associate professor, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine; infectious disease specialist, MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Moderator: Felice J. Freyer, health care reporter, The Boston Globe

Fleetwood Mac

Freelance: How to reinvigorate your livelihood, expand your reach

The most successful freelancers create their own mark, using social media, a particular reporting niche, speaking engagements, books and other tools in keeping their careers moving. Learn how to reinvigorate your use of these tools and expand your reach into documentary writing and editing. Speakers will talk through collaborating to take your print work to film, thinking visually instead of solely in print from the beginning of a project, generating business buzz through social media, and fitting your magnified skill set into your career.
  • June Cross, filmmaker, journalism professor, Columbia University
  • Cheree Dillon, independent film/TV editor
  • Kendall Moore, documentary filmmaker; associate professor, journalism and film media, University of Rhode Island
  • Joanne l. Zippel, owner, Zip Creative, a creative coaching and consulting practice
  • Moderator: Cheryl Platzman Weinstock, independent journalist, Weston, Conn.

Bruce Springsteen

Coming soon to a statehouse near you: Medicaid managed long-term care

More than 30 state Medicaid departments have transferred the care of their sickest and most vulnerable populations to private managed care contractors, with more states to come. This movement, to date affecting more than one million Medicaid beneficiaries with long term disabilities, chronic conditions and severe mental and developmental problems, has caused great disruption. The transition has been rocky, with some states dropping the process and others facing backlash from patient advocates and caregivers. But other states are reporting improved coordination of care, reduced hospital admissions and cost savings. Why is this happening, what is driving the movement, how are Medicaid beneficiaries faring and why should journalists care? This will be a primer on how to find stories in this rapidly evolving environment.
  • John Arnold, project director, Ohio Consumer Voice for Integrated Care, UHCAN Ohio
  • Barbara Coulter Edwards, managing principal, Health Management Associates
  • Ann Hwang, M.D., director, Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation Community Catalyst
  • Moderator: Mark Taylor, independent journalist, Chicago

The Supremes

Cancer care tailored to teens and young adults

Advancements in early detection and treatment have led to greater cancer survival rates for babies, children and adults. But for teens and young adults diagnosed with certain types of cancers, the survival rates over the past three decades remain unchanged. About 70,000 young people (ages 15-39) are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States – accounting for about 5 percent of cancer diagnoses. This is about six times the number of cancers diagnosed in children ages 0-14. Cancer researchers are looking for answers and health systems are catering care and support services for teens. This panel will provide experience and insight in changing cancer treatment for this demographic – and how to find local stories.
  • Peter Anderson, M.D., pediatric oncologist, Cleveland Clinic Children's
  • Rabi Hanna, M.D., pediatric oncologist and interim chair of the department of pediatric hematology, oncology and blood and marrow transplantation at Cleveland Clinic Children's
  • John Letterio, M.D., chief of pediatric hematology/oncology UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital
  • Moderator: Marlene K. Harris-Taylor, medical editor, Toledo Blade

Eric Clapton

4:40-6 p.m.


From Ebola to Zika: Responsible reporting on emerging infectious diseases

Viral outbreaks like Ebola and, more recently, Zika have revealed the complex dimensions of local, national and global response. Journalists are faced with the incredible challenge of clearly communicating the risk of the disease and the scope of the outbreak often at the same time the scientific community is gathering this information. So what are some key questions to ask at each stage of the outbreak? What are some things to consider when reporting on early research related to the disease? This panel will discuss best practices of covering present and future infectious disease outbreaks.
  • Steven Gordon, M.D., chairman and staff member, Department of Infectious Disease, Cleveland Clinic
  • Brian Grimberg Ph.D ., assistant professor of international health, infectious diseases and immunology, The Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University
  • Jennifer Hanrahan, D.O. , chair, Infection Control Committee, MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Susan Rehm, M.D., vice chair of the department of infectious disease, executive director of physician health, Cleveland Clinic
  • Moderator: Lara Salahi, writer and producer,

The Beatles

Aging well: Innovative approaches for boomers and beyond

Are baby boomers at risk of being the first generation that’s less healthy than their parents? While health advances have increased longevity, aging boomers are also grappling with an increase in chronic conditions. Nearly one-third report having two or more. Rates of dementia are also on the rise. This expert panel will discuss programs that help boomers manage both their physical and mental health and how they can embrace “active aging” for a healthier old age.
  • Francoise Adan, M.D., medical director, University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network; assistant professor, psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Ronan Factora, M.D., physician, Center for Geriatric Medicine; co-director, Aging Brain Clinic, Cleveland Clinic; associate professor of medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University
  • Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging; publisher, Journal of Active Aging
  • Moderator: Liz Seegert, AHCJ topic leader/aging, independent journalist, New York

Fleetwood Mac

Images and sounds on the health beat

Video and audio aren’t just for television and radio reporters anymore. Demand for web videos and podcasts mean that covering the story means getting pictures and sounds that will grab and hold your audience. We will show examples to emulate and discuss how a story may be told in different ways depending on the medium. The panel includes veteran television reporters as well as an experienced journalist who recently made the leap from text-based reporting to audio visual storytelling.
  • Kay Colby, producer, WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN ideastream, Cleveland
  • Sarah Jane Tribble , health reporter and producer, 90.3 WCPN and WVIZ/PBS ideastream, Cleveland
  • Moderator: Andrew S. Holtz, chief, HoltzReport

Bruce Springsteen

Merger mania of health insurers and the rise of dominant and potential monopolies

New research from the Health Care Pricing Project shows that hospital prices are 15 percent higher at hospitals in monopoly markets than they are in markets with four or more hospitals and that hospital prices within a region are the primary factors driving variation in health care spending. Hear from speakers who will talk about the project’s data and its implications for the future.
  • Karim A. Botros, chief strategy officer, MetroHealth Cleveland
  • Zack Cooper, Ph.D., assistant professor of health policy and economics; resident fellow, Institution for Social and Policy Studies; director, ISPS Health Center, Yale University
  • Kevin Sears, executive director of market and network services, Cleveland Clinic
  • Moderator: Joseph Burns, AHCJ topic leader/insurance; independent journalist, Falmouth, Mass.

The Supremes

7-11 p.m.

“Salute to Health Journalism” reception

Important note: Your conference name tag is required to enter – no exceptions. The reception is for conference attendees only.

Join us at the stunning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the lakefront to rock the night away. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be available until 9 p.m. with AHCJ providing one complimentary drink (bring your drink ticket).

We are paying to get you full entry to the entire museum, with seven floors of exhibits! The I.M. Pei-designed building is a monument to the history of rock, with amazing artifacts and memorabilia. (Photography is welcome, but no flash.) We also have arranged for the museum store to stay open until 9 p.m. so you can buy your own rock memory.

A shuttle will run between the Marriott and the museum from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. or you can walk (about 0.7 miles or 15 minutes) by heading east on St. Clair Avenue and taking a left on East 9th Street.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Sunday, April 10

8:45 a.m.


Breakfast buffet available

Ray Charles

9-10:20 a.m.


Freelance: Choose your platform - focusing social media efforts

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Stitcher: Many journalists use social media platforms to find sources and story ideas, and participating on them is one way that freelancers build and maintain their brands. But how do you choose which social media network to invest your time and identity in? This panel of experienced journalists working in different media, who all maintain presences on multiple social networks, will explain why they chose one network to create a project on, and how they integrate both those projects and other social media use into their multi-faceted professional lives.
  • Rose Eveleth, producer, designer, writer, animator, Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • David Mendoza, visualization journalist, Mic

  • Joanne Manaster, Ph.D., social media director, University of Illinois

  • Moderator: Maryn McKenna, independent journalist, Atlanta

Rolling Stones

Taking hospital quality coverage to the next level

Hospitals are often the cornerstones of local health care markets. And with each passing year, more data become available to assess – and write about – their quality. This session will bring you up to speed on newly available data and offer a refresher on tools and websites that you can use to be the watchdog your community needs. It will suggest new directions for your reporting, even if you’ve covered hospital quality in the past.
  • Jose Figueroa, M.D., M.P.H., instructor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; associate physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital Director, BWH Residency Management Leadership Track
  • Moderator: Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica


Using public resources to find your next big scoop

Nowadays, we all know that data can be a great way to launch a big enterprise story. But where do you find those data? In this session, we'll show you lots of data and other health information resources available at government sites, including PubMed. We'll hear from a reporter who used to figure out that a number of the nation's leading universities were breaking the law. Come with your laptops – this is hands-on as you learn to navigate and personalize these resources.
  • Robert A. Logan, Ph.D., communication research scientist, senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine
  • Charles Piller, west coast editor, Stat
  • Moderator: Ivan Oransky, M.D., vice president and global editorial director, MedPage Today; co-founder, Retraction Watch; distinguished writer in residence, New York University Arthur Carter Journalism Institute

BB King

10:40 a.m.-





Reaching out to real people: Tools to humanize stories

Dry statistics, faceless studies and policy talking heads can make for dull stories. But you can use online resources to build up your sources – including patients, caregivers and communities – that can help make your stories come alive for your audiences. Come away with tips on doing your homework before your interviews, using online advocacy to find sources, and leaving with ready-to-use tools that will help you connect with real people with the stories you are trying to tell.
  • Marshall Allen, reporter, ProPublica
  • John Novack, communications director, Inspire

Rolling Stones

Hospital finance

Hospitals are the great whales of the medical world. They consume a third of all health spending, and often are the largest employers in town. Yet their finances are largely unknown. This session will describe five essential documents for understanding a hospital's financial prospects as well as how to find sources to put them in context. We'll dig into this year's major trends, such as why hospitals are consolidating and how they are facing ever higher penalties for poor performance. An emphasis will be placed on practical story ideas.
  • Karl Stark, assistant managing editor, Business, Health and Science, The Philadelphia Inquirer


Flaws, limits and conflicts: Tips to find study pitfalls

An interesting study says one thing and you cover it. The next week, a new study flat out contradicts it. We’ll discuss shortcuts for weighing the likelihood a study’s answer is right, making sense of shifting bodies of evidence, and cutting through researcher spin. And we’ll talk about ways to “future-proof” a story.
  • Hilda Bastian, editor for clinical effectiveness resources, PubMed Health, National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine
  • Andrew M. Seaman, senior medical journalist, Reuters

BB King

After the conference

Conference evaluations

Your thoughts matter to us. Immediately after the conference, we will email you a link to an online evaluation form. Please help us maintain the quality of our panels and other sessions by telling us what worked and what could be better. As a bonus, you will be entered into a drawing for a free registration to next year’s annual conference.

Tell us about your reporting

In the coming days and weeks, if you write about the conference or report stories related to sessions you attended here, please send links to so we can add them to We’d like to know how the conference influences your reporting.

Thursday/Friday | Saturday/Sunday