Health Journalism 2018: Program

Panels and workshops were created from more than 200 suggestions made by AHCJ members, conference sponsors, outside organizations and nonmember journalists.

Sessions are often a merger of several ideas and are assigned to journalist organizers who then staff their panels with experts suggested by the local journalist planning committee, national planning committee, conference sponsors, fellow journalists and through their own coverage experience or research.

Organizers are asked to take into account national reputation, local expertise and regional flavor, ethnic and gender diversity and communication skills. Our hope is that each conference offers attendees new sources for their stories.

Click the titles of sessions having red arrows to read their descriptions.

Thursday, April 12

7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Field trips to local research, clinical and educational sites.


9-11 a.m.

Pulling back the curtain on medical studies

Endpoints and ratios and odds, oh my! Do you feel like you’re lost in Oz? It’s easy to feel like the Scarecrow looking for a brain when it comes to interpreting medical studies — or like the Lion seeking the courage to dive in and learn them. But we’ll help you feel right at home making sense of study types, methodologies and basic biostats so you can translate research findings accurately and responsibly for your readers. This workshop will help you understand the anatomy and numbers of medical studies and how to make them accessible to your readers, including examples of what does and doesn’t work. #AHCJmedicalstudies
  • Tara Haelle, AHCJ topic leader/medical studies; independent health journalist

  • F. Perry Wilson, M.D., M.S.C.E., assistant professor of medicine, Section of Nephrology, Program of Applied Translational Research, Yale University School of Medicine

Salon G

Profile workshop: Bringing authentic characters to life on the page

All compelling stories are built around the people involved in those stories. We will explore ways to turn our story subjects into storytellers, to gain ethical access and agreement with our sources, to observe, ask and just hang out in ways that help elicit the best descriptions, scenes, anecdotes and quotes. #AHCJcharacters
  • Instructor: Jacqui Banaszynski, professor emeritus, Missouri School of Journalism; faculty fellow, Poynter Institute 

Salon H

Right-to-know workshop: Unearthing the facts in today's Washington

Reporters face growing challenges prying information from federal officials. How can we better navigate U.S. health agencies? We’ll hear from watchdog journalists who know the ropes, including the team whose exposé of a derailed Drug Enforcement Agency probe forced out a drug czar nominee, the reporter who uncovered Tom Price's unseemly travel expenditures, the bureau chief who was threatened with blacklisting when he refused to alter a published article, and a health writer who has overcome roadblocks in two administrations. They will provide tips useful to reporters both inside and outside the Beltway, with a full hour of Q&A. #AHCJRTK
  • Lenny Bernstein, health and medicine reporter, The Washington Post

  • Virgil Dickson, Washington bureau chief, Modern Healthcare

  • Sam Hornblower, associate producer, 60 Minutes
  • Kimberly Leonard, senior health policy reporter, The Washington Examiner

  • Rachana Pradhan, health care reporter, Politico

  • Moderator: Deborah Schoch, independent journalist

Salon I

11:15 a.m.-
12:30 p.m.




Hospital quality

Increasingly, federal programs are relying on so-called quality measures to reward or punish hospitals. What are they — and do they work? This session will bring you up to speed on the data sets the government is relying on to grade hospitals, their efficacy and which quality measures are most relevant to real people. Plus, we’ll offer a refresher on tools and websites that you can use to be the watchdog your community needs. #AHCJquality
  • 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

  • Instructor: Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

Salon H

Freelance: Pitch doctor part 1 – Crafting the perfect pitch

We succeed or fail as freelancers by how well we can sell our ideas (and ourselves) and keep our careers moving forward. Whether you want to see your byline in top publications, try your hand at narrative, apply for fellowships, or sell a book idea, pitching is a skill worth taking the time and effort to get just right. In this workshop, editors will give advice on how to structure a pitch from the lapel-grabbing summary, to the graf that convinces editors that you’re the perfect person to write the story. Panelists will also include strategies for moving on when a pitch gets rejected, so all of your best ideas can find a home. #AHCJpitch
  • Betsy Agnvall, editor, Staying Sharp, AARP Media

  • Jennifer Bleyer, senior editor, Psychology Today

  • Dina Fine Maron, editor, health and medicine, Scientific American

  • Lynya Floyd, health director, Family Circle

  • Moderator: Jeanne Erdmann, independent journalist

Salon G

Science of stem cells
Science basics track

Scientists worldwide are interested in tapping into stem cells for novel treatments for a wide range of diseases. Today, three university experts will update us on their clinical trials and laboratory efforts to harness stem cells toward the treatment of heart failure, a genetic eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and Parkinson's disease. #AHCJstemcells
  • Steven Goldman, M.D., research scientist professor of medicine, Sarver Heart Center, University of Arizona
  • Henry J. Klassen, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and director, Stem Cell and Retinal Regeneration Program, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute and Stem Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine

  • Lalitha Madhavan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology, molecular cellular biology, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and Bio5 Institute, University of Arizona

  • Moderator: Karen Blum, independent journalist

Salon I

12:30-1:45 p.m.

Lunch on your own

The hotel will have a buffet lunch available in the West Courtyard, featuring salads, soups, vegetarian wraps, some hot options and dessert for $15 including tax.

Other dining options at the hotel.


1:45-3 p.m.

Reporting about people with disabilities

People with disabilities make up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, yet they are largely undercovered in mainstream media or they are covered in a way that may be inaccurate or incomplete, especially from a medical point of view. This session will provide a brief overview of the state of disability coverage, recommend approaches to stories and offer guidance on language choices. The session will be conducted by the National Center on Disability and Journalism, a program of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University that works to help journalists better cover disabilities. The center publishes a disability language style guide that is used around the world and sponsors an annual contest that recognizes the best disability reporting in the country. #AHCJdisability
  • Instructor: Lauren Appelbaum, communications director, RespectAbility
  • Instructor: Jennifer LaFleur, data editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop; data journalist-in-residence, American University School of Communication

  • Instructor: Kristin Gilger, senior associate dean, Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; director, National Center on Disability and Journalism

Salon G

Freelance: Pitch doctor part 2 – Real pitches, real-time critiques

In this workshop, editors will provide detailed feedback on real pitches from writers. Editors will choose from pitches submitted in advance, discussing what they liked — or didn’t — about selected pitches. To encourage participation and allow an open discussion, neither the editors nor the workshop participants will know the names of the writers. Come to this interactive session to learn how to make your pitch stand out when it lands in the inbox of a busy editor. #AHCJcritiques
We encourage you to submit a trial pitch for feedback. If you are a freelancer interested in writing for one of these magazines, this is a unique opportunity! All pitches should be directed specifically to each magazine, and contain a headline. You can remain anonymous or include your name. Please upload your pitches. The editors will select which pitches to discuss. As this will be an open forum with real pitches, we ask that all writers honor the code of not stealing someone else's idea. The deadline for pitch submission is March 9.
  • Tracy Middleton, health director, Women's Health magazine

  • Katie Palmer, senior editor, Wired

  • Tom Zeller, editor in chief, Undark Magazine

  • Moderator: Laura Beil, freelance journalist

Salon H

Science of genetic testing
Science basics track 

The ability to read and understand an individual’s genetic code has given us countless new ways to prevent illness, diagnose it, and treat it. It was cutting-edge research two decades ago, and is already a routine tool in the clinic. But the promise of genetic testing has been undercut by misuse, misinterpretation, and false promises. The speakers will help us identify the problems with genetic testing and suggest ways in which competent coverage can help dispel the myths. #AHCJgenetic
  • Charles Piller, correspondent, investigations, Science magazine; contributing writer, Stat
  • Christopher Robertson, professor of law; associate dean for research and innovation, University of Arizona

  • Moderator: Paul Raeburn, independent author, journalist, podcaster

Salon I

3:15-4:15 p.m.

Using multimedia tools for your project

Think you don’t have a big enough budget or the expertise to add multimedia to your work that appears online? This session will offer a look at basic tools that can add interactive elements to your stories. #AHCJmulti
  • Instructor: Jessica Pucci, director of digital audience programs, ethics and excellence professor of practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Salon G

Science of marijuana
Science basics track 

Ever since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, federal policy has held that marijuana has no accepted medical use and is a dangerous drug in the category of heroin and LSD. Yet as 29 states have approved marijuana for medical use and nine passed laws allowing for adult recreational use, modern medical marijuana clinical trials have unfolded in the United States, forging new frontiers in cannabis research. This panel will spotlight two clinical researchers on the frontlines of this new era. What is this research revealing about marijuana as medicine? What have we learned about the science of cannabis in terms of different plant constituents and dosing levels for patients? What has been the role of legal-marijuana states in promoting medical research? What additional study protocols – or scale – are needed to change the federal classification for cannabis? #AHCJcannabisresearch
  • Sue Sisley, M.D., physician, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry, Scottsdale Research Institute

  • Barth Wilsey, M.D., researcher, Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, University of California System

  • Moderator: Peter Hecht, independent journalist

Salon I

4:20-5 p.m.

Newcomer welcome

First-time conference attendees are invited to meet members of AHCJ's board of directors and learn how to make the most of the conference.

  • Ivan Oransky, M.D., Distinguished Writer in Residence, New York University; president, AHCJ board of directors

Salon H

5:15-6:45 p.m.

Official conference welcome and kickoff session

Donald K. Warne, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Department of Public Health at North Dakota State University; senior policy adviser of Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board; adjunct professor, Indian Legal Program, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University


7-8:30 p.m.

"Welcome to Phoenix" reception and meal

Join us in the Old West setting of Hidden Valley for dinner, drinks and conversation to kick off Health Journalism 2018. We will have the wonderful Phoenix North Mountains as a backdrop. Mingle with new members and catch up with old friends. Conference fellows will have a chance to connect with other fellows and funders of the fellowships.

As the setting will be in a rustic outdoor venue, we suggest you wear good walking shoes.

The site is a 10-minute hike from the lobby or you may grab a shuttle to the event from the lobby doors.

Supported by The Arizona Republic/azcentral, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and AHCJ’s Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

Special guest

Hidden Valley

Friday, April 13

7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Exhibit hall will be open for networking, finding new resources, meet-ups, breakfast and snacks.

Salons A-F

7-8:30 a.m.

Breakfast buffet available

Salons A-F 

9-10:20 a.m.

States and health care in the age of Trump: Wishes and waivers

The Trump administration didn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act – but it’s given the states a lot of tools to change it. Experts on state and national policy on this panel will help us understand some of the ways states can change who gets covered and how – through waivers for Medicaid and the exchanges, new insurance options like association health plans, or even by taking steps to strengthen the markets, by adding their own individual mandate. #AHCJstates
  • Daniel Derksen, M.D.,  Walter H. Pearce endowed chair, Community, Environment and Policy Department; director, Arizona Center for Rural Health, University of Arizona

  • Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives, senior adviser to the president, Kaiser Family Foundation

  • Hemi Tewarson, director, National Governors Association Center Best Practices Health Division

  • Grace-Marie Turner, president, The Galen Institute

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

Salon J

The rise of gene therapy

After decades of work, gene therapy seems poised for a breakout. Spark Therapeutics just received the first FDA approval for a genetic disease. More treatments are in the works, involving spinal muscular atrophy, hemophilia, thalassemia, sickle cell disease, and even Parkinson’s, which lacks a direct genetic link. Compared to genome editing tools like CRISPR, gene therapy has the advantage of nearly three decades of clinical trial experience, and now, licensed products. Still, many questions remain for the field’s leaders gathered here. Can the results of the small studies done so far last for a lifetime? Can patients avoid the immune responses that bedeviled past efforts?  And how much will it cost? #AHCJgenetherapy
  • Wilson Bryan, M.D., director, Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

  • Katherine High, M.D., president and head of research and development, Spark Therapeutics

  • Brian K. Kaspar, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, AveXis Inc.

  • Moderator: Karl Stark, business news editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Salon H

Is lack of sleep killing us?

The benefits of eating well and getting exercise are well known but doctors and researchers are increasingly focusing on the effects of sleep on overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep is a restorative process but it seems increasingly elusive in a world filled with obligations, great television programs and electronic gadgets. The impact of the lack of sleep goes beyond cognitive agility the next day. Sleep deprivation can have long-term health effects including shortened life expectancy. Learn more about this topic with a distinguished panel of experts who will share the latest research in the fields of sleep disorders and sleep medicine. #AHCJsleep
  • Brynn Dredla, M.D., sleep medicine specialist, Mayo Clinic

  • Sairam Parthasarathy, M.D., professor of medicine, University of Arizona; director, Center for Sleep Disorders Banner University MediCal Center - Tucson

  • Moderator: Marlene K. Harris-Taylor, reporter/producer, WVIZ/PBS Ideastream

Salon G

Freelance: Unleash your inner entrepreneur

Freelance writing may be a labor of love, but it’s also a business. To succeed, you need strategies to grow your business, protect yourself, and get paid fairly. Two longtime freelance writers will explain how to get more mileage out of your story ideas and how to build a “brand” so you become a go-to writer in a topic or niche. They also will share personal stories of how they negotiated their pay — and followed up to make sure they got paid. An attorney who specializes in business contracts, intellectual property and social media law will provide advice about how to protect yourself. If you want to move your freelance career to the next level, this session will give you some guideposts. #AHCJunleash
  • Heather Boerner, independent journalist, Pittsburgh

  • Ruth Carter, attorney, blogger and author, Phoenix
  • Linda Marsa, contributing editor, Discover magazine

  • Moderator: Michele Cohen Marill, independent journalist

Salon I

Housing, homelessness and health

A housing crunch in more urban U.S. areas has sparked a health crisis nationwide. Amid rising home prices, a growing number of tent "cities" and other encampments have cropped up from southern California to New York, fueling disease outbreaks and public health fears. Their crowded, unsanitary conditions have led to the spread of hepatitis A in numerous states. Beyond communicable diseases, access to care for chronic conditions and other health problems for the homeless is also a growing concern. When people do get housing, other challenges arise, from lead paint to air quality. We’ll look at the health issues triggered by a lack of affordable housing and strategies being implemented to tackle the problem with an eye toward health, as well as policy changes and political trends that could address the issue. #AHCJhousing
  • Ginamarie Brockdorff, supportive services manager, Lodestar Day Resource Center, Human Services Campus
  • Stacey Millett, director, Health Impact Project, collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts

  • Brandi Whisler, director of outpatient services, Circle the City

  • Moderator: Susan Heavey, AHCJ topic leader/social determinants; reporter, Reuters

Courtroom K

10:40 a.m.-noon


Are we headed toward a post-antibiotic world?

Antibiotic resistance is advancing worldwide, and the development of new drugs is not keeping pace. What must we do to delay or mitigate the post-antibiotic era? Speakers will discuss how to improve surveillance for resistant organisms, how to achieve rapid-diagnostic devices that could prevent antibiotic misuse, how to incentivize development of new drugs, and how to legislate control of antibiotic overuse in agriculture. #AHCJpostabx
  • Dennis M. Dixon, Ph.D., chief, Bacteriology and Mycology Branch, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health

  • Elizabeth Jungman, director of public health, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Jean Patel, Ph.D., science team lead, Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and Strategy Unit, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Matthew Wellington, antibiotics program director, U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

  • Moderator: Maryn McKenna, columnist, Wired Ideas; senior fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University

Salon I


What you need to know about reporting on Native American health issues

The Indian Health Service provides health care for more than 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives across the country, and many tribes also operate their own health systems. What are the biggest issues, on national and local levels? What’s been changing? Three experts – a physician with the American Indian Public Health Resource Center, a former top IHS official, and a journalist – will help you report accurately and in a culturally competent manner on health care challenges facing indigenous people in all 50 states. #AHCJNativeAmerican
  • Jason Begay, associate professor and director of Native American journalism projects, University of Montana School of Journalism

  • Mary L. Smith , member, Cherokee nation; former principal deputy director, Indian Health Service

  • Donald Warne, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chair, Department of Public Health, North Dakota State University

  • Moderator: Nancy Lapid, editor in charge, Reuters Health

Salon J

The increasing demand for palliative care

As we live longer with advanced, chronic or life-threatening illnesses, more patients and families are seeking palliative services. Unlike hospice, palliative care can be administered any time and given simultaneously with curative care. Learn how physician attitudes are changing, what challenges front-line home care nurses face, and which techniques work best when interviewing people at their most vulnerable. #AHCJpalliative
  • Scott Harbertson, R.N., director of clinical services, Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix

  • Carolyn Jones, director and executive producer, Defining Hope

  • Robert Shannon, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and palliative medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Fla.

  • Moderator: Liz Seegert, AHCJ topic leader/aging, independent journalist

Courtroom K

Concussion and brain health: New angles on diagnosis and treatment

The risk of concussion in contact sports is clear. But now it’s emerging that repetitive hits to the head that fall below the concussion threshold can add up to lasting damage. The problem isn’t limited to sports either. There’s a growing understanding of the extent to which domestic violence can result in brain injuries. In this session, panelists will discuss the latest findings in traumatic brain injuries, including diagnosis and treatment. #AHCJconcussions
  • Jon Hamilton, correspondent, NPR Science Desk

  • Amaal Starling, M.D., concussion specialist neurologist, Mayo Clinic

  • Glynnis Zieman M.D., neurologist, Concussion and Brain Injury Center, Barrow Neurological Institute

  • Moderator: Scott Hensley, editor, NPR

Salon H

Can value-based care drive innovation and enable patients?

As fee-for-service medicine gives way to value-based care, insurers, providers and government health programs are using new payments models, innovation and data to make sure patients are getting the right care, in the right place and at the right time. Key leaders from the health care industry will talk about their strategies and innovations that are rapidly changing the healthcare landscape for patients, consumers and providers. #AHCJvalue
  • Patrick Carroll, M.D., divisional vice president clinical programs & alliances; chief medical officer healthcare clinics, Walgreens

  • Robert Groves, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, Banner|Aetna joint venture

  • Sam Ho, M.D., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare
  • Moderator: Bruce Japsen, health care columnist, Forbes

Salon G

Noon-1:40 p.m.

Lunch on your own

The hotel will have a buffet lunch available in the West Courtyard, featuring salads, soups, vegetarian wraps, some hot options and dessert for $15 including tax.

Other dining options at the hotel.


1:40-3 p.m.

How hospital consolidations are affecting the cost of health care

When one hospital or health system proposes to acquire or merge with another, the parties often claim that patients will benefit from reduced costs and improved quality. But the evidence for these claims is scant. Health care costs continue to rise and quality of care can be challenging to assess. For this panel, experts will discuss the effect of hospital and health system mergers and examine the evidence of how such mergers benefit consumers. #AHCJmergers
  • R. Adams Dudley, M.D., M.B.A., director, Center for Healthcare Value; associate director for research, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health; policy professor of medicine and health policy, University of California, San Francisco

  • Dennis Laraway, chief financial officer, banner Health
  • Chuck Lehn, president, Banner Health Network

  • Paul Rooney, vice president of carrier relations, eHealth

  • Moderator: Joseph Burns, AHCJ topic leader/insurance

Courtroom K

Is single-payer on the table?

From Sen. Bernie Sanders in Congress to California state lawmakers, many are talking about creating a single payer system for health care. What are they talking about? Aside from being fraught politically, what are the economic and practical challenges to this approach? First up, this panel will explain single payer in Europe and Canada. Programs in those countries provide near universal coverage, but they do it in different ways. How are they similar; how do they differ? The panel will next look at what’s on the table in the United States, both in Congress and in the states. Do these ideas look like those in other countries, or are they unique to the U.S.? The panel will discuss the fiscal and political issues, as well as provide tips on covering this timely topic. #AHCJsingle
  • David Blumenthal, M.D., president, Commonwealth Fund

  • Victoria Colliver, health care reporter, Politico

  • Gerald Kominski, Ph.D., director, Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Moderator: Julie Appleby, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

Salon H

Special challenges of covering immigrant health

Non-citizens are far more likely to be uninsured than citizens. And new research shows immigrants feel increasingly fearful in today’s political climate, which is impacting their health. Hear from the report’s author, a nurse who treats uninsured immigrants at a volunteer clinic, and a veteran journalist who covers health in the Latino immigrant community. You'll get story ideas and will learn best practices for navigating language and cultural barriers in your health reporting. #AHCJimmigranthealth
  • Samantha Artiga, director, Disparities Policy Project; associate director, Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Family Foundation

  • Jason A. Odhner, R.N., co-founder, Phoenix Urban Health Collective and Phoenix Allies for Community Health

  • Maria Ortiz Briones, health reporter, Vida en el Valle

  • Moderator: Jude Joffe-Block, independent journalist and New America fellow

Salon I

Microbiome: Gut health’s ties to obesity, diabetes, other diseases

The life in your gut shapes your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes—even your weight. The surprising links between gut bugs, health and disease might start to explain why illness starts, and suggest new methods for treatment. These researchers and clinicians will highlight recent findings, help you put microbiome claims in context, and introduce American Gut, the crowdsourced citizen science project to understand the difference between healthy and sick digestive systems. #AHCJgutbug
  • John DiBaise, M.D., professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic

  • Gail Hecht, M.D., professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology and chief of gastroenterology and nutrition, Loyola University, Chicago

  • Daniel McDonald, Ph.D., scientific director, American Gut

  • Moderator: Kat McGowan, independent journalist

Salon G

Is climate change a threat to public health?

Hurricanes. Wildfires. Mudslides. Rising seas. Record cold and heat. Infectious diseases old and new are appearing with increasing virulence. Millions are being forced from their homes, wreaking havoc on mental and physical health, as care is disrupted, new conditions arise, and populations become climate refugees. Panelists will discuss how climate change impacts the nation and your friends, neighbors, and family in ways you may not have imagined. #AHCJclimatechange
  • Nitin S. Damle, M.D., M.S., M.A.C.P., immediate past president, Board of Regents, American College of Physicians; clinical associate professor of medicine, Alpert Medical School, Brown University

  • Kacey Ernst, Ph.D., M.P.H, associate professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona

  • Joshua C. Morganstein, M.D., assistant chair, department of psychiatry; assistant director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University School of Medicine

  • Moderator: Alicia Ault, independent journalist

Salon J

1:40-3:50 p.m.

Freelance PitchFest

Editors from some of the top magazines, newspapers and websites are coming to Phoenix to meet you! Bring your best ideas to the Freelance PitchFest. This session has been created to give you an opportunity to sit down and discuss your ideas one-on-one with editors from selected publications.

  • Mark Barna, associate editor, Discover

  • Valarie Basheda, director of news and special reports, WebMD
  • Jennifer Bleyer, senior editor, Psychology Today

  • Sue Byrne, freelance editor, Health After 50

  • Elizabeth Devita Raeburn, editor – cancer, Everyday Health

  • Lynya Floyd, health director, Family Circle

  • Joyce Frieden, news editor, Medpage Today

  • Gideon Gil, managing editor, Stat

  • Emily Gurnon, senior content editor, health and caregiving, PBS Next Avenue

  • Lena Huang, editorial director, Genome

  • Tod Jones, managing editor, The Costco Connection

  • Roxanne Khamsi, chief news editor, Nature Medicine

  • Amy Kraft, senior editor, gastrointestinal disorders, heart health, Everyday Health

  • Nancy Lapid, editor-in-charge, Reuters Health

  • Dina Fine Maron, editor, health and medicine, Scientific American

  • Amanda Mascarelli, managing editor, Sapiens

  • Tracy Middleton, health and features editor, Women’s Health magazine

  • Kristen Ozelli, editor, Spectrum

  • Katie Palmer, senior editor (science), Wired

  • Scott Phillips, editor-in-chief, Rural Health Quarterly

  • Erica Teichert,  news editor, Modern Healthcare

  • Tom Zeller Jr., editor in chief, Undark

  • Coordinator: Jeanne Erdmann, independent journalist


3-3:50 p.m.

Exhibit crawl

Join us for snacks and prize drawings. Must be present to win.

Salons A-F 

4:20-5:30 p.m.


How large purchasers are changing the health care landscape

Roughly half of all Americans are covered by private insurance through their employers or unions. That translates into a lot of money invested by these purchasers in U.S. health care – and considerable clout in how, where and what kind of care people receive. Our panel of experts will provide a window into how this influential private sector is responding to the uncertainty in Washington, including how they use their own data and experience to guide health care and employee benefit strategies. You will come away with new ideas and sources for reporting on health care in your community. #AHCJpurchasers
  • Larry S. Boress, M.P.A., executive director, National Association of Worksite Health Centers

  • Michael Thompson, president and chief executive officer, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

  • Lauren Vela, M.B.A., senior director of member value, Pacific Business Group on Health

  • Moderator: Irene Wielawski, independent writer and editor

Salon H

Transforming medical education: How are medical schools adjusting?

It’s not your father’s med school. 100 years after Flexner reforms, medical schools are retooling to equip new doctors with 21st-century skill sets. Across the country, the curriculum is being revamped to reflect changes in care delivery and fill glaring gaps. We’ll discuss some of the trends: earlier interaction with patients, case-based and problem-solving learning as opposed to lectures and memorization, team-based training, social accountability, high-tech simulation and novel ways of promoting empathy. #AHCJmeded
  • Joseph F. Drazkowski, M.D., F.A.A.N., F.A.E.S., professor of neurology; George M. and Kristen Lund associate dean student affairs, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine
  • Pedro J. Greer, M.D., associate dean, College of Medicine Community Engagement, Florida International University

  • Allan J. Hamilton, M.D., executive director, Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center (ASTEC), University of Arizona College of Medicine at Tucson
  • Moderator: Beth Howard, health care journalist, Charlotte, N.C.

Salon I

Alcohol: One of the most popular and most dangerous drugs of all

The opioid epidemic has rightfully commanded attention as it destroys lives, but opioids don’t kill nearly as many people as the drug that brings people together at happy hours. At least 88,000 deaths a year result from alcohol use, making it second only to tobacco among the deadliest drugs. Alcohol’s negative effects reach deep into the lives of all Americans, but it's hard to face the destruction caused by a legal drug so many people enjoy daily. Hence the underappreciation for alcohol’s harms, neglect of a growing binge drinking problem and abundant misinformation about topics such as alcohol exposure in pregnancy. This session covers the many ways alcohol contributes to annual morbidity and mortality, from traffic accidents and chronic diseases to domestic abuse and a leading cause of preventable birth defects. #AHCJalcohol
  • Gabrielle Glaser, M.A., independent journalist, author

  • Richard Grucza, Ph.D., M.P.E., associate professor of psychiatry and epidemiologist, Washington University School of Medicine

  • Yasmin S. N. Senturias, M.D., F.A.A.P.., academic division director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the Carolinas Health Care System; medical director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the Carolina Charlotte Clinic

  • Moderator: Tara Haelle, AHCJ topic leader/medical studies; independent health journalist

Salon J

Closing the gap between oral and overall health: What will it take?

Oral health has been recognized as an integral part of overall health but our fragmented health care system does not reflect this reality. For generations, dentists and physicians have been educated separately. They work in separate worlds. Even as research reveals more about the interrelationships between oral and systemic conditions, dental and medical records are kept separately. Patients get lost navigating the dental-medical divide. What will it take to integrate the system? #AHCJoralhealth
  • Jack Dillenberg, D.D.S., M.P.H., dean emeritus, A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health

  • Anita D. Glicken, M.S.W., executive director, National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health; associate dean and professor emerita, University of Colorado School of Medicine

  • Russell Maier, M.D., program director, Community Health of Central Washington

  • Robert Trombly, D.D.S., J.D., dean, A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health
  • Moderator: Mary Otto, AHCJ topic leader/oral health; independent journalist

Courtroom K

What reporters need to know about the changing scene of Alzheimer's research

With the cost of caring for elderly Americans that have Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias expected to reach $340 billion by 2025, the scramble to change the trajectory and find treatments for the irreversible neurological condition continues. This session explores the latest trials, from prevention to drug development and looks at why some researchers are excited about what could be coming down the pike over the next decade. #AHCJAlz
  • Anna Burke, M.D., director of neuropsychiatry, Department of Neurology, Barrow Neurological Institute

  • Eric M Reiman, M.D., executive director, Banner Alzheimer's Institute; chief executive officer, Banner Research
  • Julia Wallace, professor of practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University; member, Alzheimer's Association national board

  • Moderator: Sabriya Rice, business of health care reporter, Dallas Morning News

Salon G

5:40-6:30 p.m.

Membership meeting

AHCJ members are invited to come hear about the organization’s latest efforts and to ask questions of your elected board.

Salon H