Board elections 2016: Candidates' statements
Six of the 12 director positions come up for election each year for two-year terms. Incumbent board members are allowed to run for re-election.
AHCJ members in the professional category will receive an email with a link allowing them to vote online. The election will be conducted June 7-17 via the Internet. Members will be sent an email with the special ballot link.
Below are the AHCJ professional members who have declared their board candidacy, listed in alphabetical order.
Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News
I am running for re-election to the AHCJ board of directors. I currently serve as the board’s secretary and have chaired the annual Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism since its inception. AHCJ is doing very well, growing in size and offering more benefits to members. I’m proud to say that the contest, too, has grown in size and prestige, with more than 450 entries last year across 11 categories. My main goal, if re-elected, is to help the Contest Committee shepherd the program to ensure its continuing growth, reflecting the evolving nature of our profession and industry. First, here’s what won’t change: The commitment to making this the best contest possible, one run by journalists, judged by journalists and without any health industry funding.
But there are always questions. Are the size categories adequately reflecting current media markets? Do we have enough judges? What areas should the categories cover? Each year, the Contest Committee carefully examines what went right, what problems cropped up – and what questions were raised by members, entrants, judges and others. As chair, I work with the committee to decide whether any adjustments are needed. Over time, we’ve added or subtracted categories and made other changes, including expanding the information in our rules section. This year, we are in the process of carefully reviewing our FAQs, rules and other information to make sure that the entry process is streamlined and that entrants and judges find the rules easy to understand.
The contest is just one part of my work at AHCJ, an organization that provides so many opportunities for our members. As a board member, I will continue to support AHCJ’s efforts to boost educational opportunities, including conferences and webinars for members, and our work to get government agencies to be more responsive to journalists’ inquiries.
Professionally, I have covered health care policy and business issues both regionally – from my days working at California papers – and nationally, both in print and online. I am currently a senior correspondent at Kaiser Health News, part of the growing nonprofit journalism world. I hope you will support me in the upcoming election. And, as always, I enjoy hearing your suggestions for the contest and for AHCJ.
Writer and Editor, NPR
It has been an honor to be part of our association for most of my career as a health care journalist. After years as a member, I volunteered to serve on the membership committee in 2009. Since then, I was gratified to win a seat on the board in 2012 and to be reelected in 2014.
I helped draft the current rules on membership to better define who belongs in our association – and who doesn’t. Our high standards for professional membership have helped maintain the integrity of our group, but we’ve also been flexible and prudent in allowing qualified applicants to join as associate or allied members.
In the past year, I’ve helped represent AHCJ in our joint workshop on Ebola and infectious disease with the Poynter Institute, the training of our first class of comparative effectiveness fellows and our highly successful workshop on evidence-based medicine.
My day job is running Shots, NPR's health blog. Before joining NPR, I was the founding editor of the health blog at The Wall Street Journal, where I had previously reported on the drug industry. In a past career, I oversaw clinical trials for a maker of high-tech medical devices. I got quite a few products approved by the Food and Drug Administration and worked on compliance with lots of regulations. Journalism is more fun.
Thanks for considering my candidacy. I hope I’ve earned your vote for another term on the board.
Health Care Reporter, Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Iowa
I’m running for a second term on the AHCJ board, where I represent journalists scrambling to cover every corner of the field while also handling other duties.
After 10 years as a Des Moines Register assignment editor, I became the paper’s main health care reporter in 2000. I write about everything from addiction to Zika. Health insurance inflation. Hospital safety problems. The Affordable Care Act. The mental health crisis. Medicaid privatization. You name it, I’ll cover it. And when Iowa caucus season rolls around, I also become a political reporter. I spent last fall and winter chasing Hillary Clinton hither and yon.
Our paper, like most publications, has cut staff over the past few years. Those of us who remain are hustling like never before. AHCJ aims to help journalists who are juggling multiple assignments. It can’t just be a resource for the vanishing few who get to spend weeks or months delving into one issue at a time.
I ran for the board as a way to repay the association for its invaluable assistance over the years. Working in a rural state can be isolating, but AHCJ has kept me abreast of other journalists’ work and their methods.
My first term let me get up to speed on how the board works with AHCJ’s excellent staff. If I’m re-elected, I plan to take a more active role on the contest committee, where the past load has been shouldered by too few people.
I’d appreciate your vote.
Vice President and Global Editorial Director, MedPage Today
Serving on the AHCJ board has been one of my most rewarding professional – and personal – experiences. Working on behalf of our members to push for better resources, more transparency, and higher standards is a privilege. Over the past two years, during which I served as board vice president, I have continued to moderate the listserv, one of our most popular offerings; to help as we improve our website’s architecture and navigability to showcase our highly useful content; and to help shape our expanding fellowship opportunities, particularly those that involve building skills for reading and writing about the medical literature.
As someone with feet planted solidly in for-profit trade journalism at MedPage Today, in non-profit journalism at Retraction Watch, and in journalism education at New York University, I hope that I bring a diversity of perspectives to bear on the challenges and opportunities AHCJ faces. I would welcome the chance to continue helping chart AHCJ’s course.
I am vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today, co-founder of Retraction Watch, and distinguished writer in residence at New York University’s Arthur Carter Journalism Institute, where I have taught medical journalism for 14 years. The Watchdogs, the weekly column I co-author with Adam Marcus, appears in STAT. Previously, I was executive editor of Reuters Health, managing editor, online, of Scientific American, and deputy editor of The Scientist, and have written for numerous publications, including Nature, The New Republic and The New York Times.
I received my B.A. from Harvard University, where I was executive editor of The Harvard Crimson, my M.D. from New York University, and completed an internship at Yale before leaving medicine to be a full-time journalist. I live in New York City with my wife Cate Vojdik, whom I met at the 2002 AHCJ conference.
Business of Health Care Reporter, Dallas Morning News
I am a veteran health care journalist with more than a decade of experience that spans print, digital and broadcast media. While each medium is unique, I’m very interested in how they increasingly converge to enhance the viewer and reader experience.
Health care journalists can take advantage of video, graphic and print elements in their newsrooms to expand upon stories that are both emotional in nature and driven by data. The key is knowing when and how to use each resource. These are skills I can bring to the table as a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
As of this month, I am the new business of health care reporter with the Dallas Morning News. Before that, I wrote about quality and safety for Modern Healthcare, a trade publication based in Chicago. I have also worked as a television news producer as a member of the CNN Health team in Atlanta, and as a freelance producer with Quest Network’s Blue Zones, traveling the world writing about longevity.
In 2015, I was awarded an AHCJ fellowship in the inaugural class of a program designed to improve reporting on medical research. This past spring I also moderated a panel discussion about safety-net medical providers and their patients at Health Journalism 2016.
If you select me to join the AHCJ board, I’d love to use my experience to help emerging health care journalists in broadcast, print and digital outlets take advantage of the various creative resources available. Also, as a Spanish speaker, I would like to increase membership among health care journalists from diverse backgrounds. I appreciate your vote!
Health editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Health journalists should always be suspicious of hyperbole, but it's safe to say that AHCJ has changed both my journalism and my life.
Two years ago, when I first was elected to the board, I was the health editor at the Tampa Bay Times. Back then, I shared with you stories we were able to do with the help of AHCJ, particularly with the guidance I gained as a Regional Health Fellow. The group even helped inspire me to return to graduate school for my master's degree in public health.
My passion for AHCJ's mission, innovation and its high ethical standards were the reasons I wanted to serve on the board, and continue to be the reason I hope you'll bring me back for a second term.
Now, in large part because of contacts made through the organization, I am the health editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com. So while I have a new personal and geographic perspective on health journalism – and my husband and I have a new home – working with the board has made my commitment to our organization stronger than ever.
One of my favorite moments at our Cleveland conference was the membership meeting, where we all talked about how AHCJ could better serve our members. A lot of the discussion revolved around how rapidly our work is changing, and what more AHCJ can do to assist. Great ideas came up – such as multimedia production tutorials – from our members, especially the independent journalists and others who don't have big outlets to support them. But for all the exciting talk of change, just as compelling for me was hearing all weekend how the bedrock values of excellent journalism continue to resonate for our members.
My work on the AHCJ board has focused on member recruitment and retention – I'm proud to say we are continuing to grow – as well as planning our next annual conference. I've also enjoyed working with the talented participants in our Health Care Performance Fellowship program, while also supporting AHCJ offerings that help reporters on daily deadlines as well as long-term projects.
Working to help our organization keep growing in members, influence and the services we provide has been a wonderful experience, and I hope to continue contributing.