Board elections 2018: 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 1-15 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
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists’ board, where I am currently the secretary.
During this time, our organization has grown stronger, even as our profession struggles with financial and other pressures. Through our training programs, networking and efforts to push back against government efforts to keep journalists from information, AHCJ has helped strong health journalism thrive. It’s also been deeply satisfying to have played a key role in establishing and overseeing the annual Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism as chair of the contest committee.
I’m running for re-election because I want to further all those efforts and continue my work on the contest committee as it adds new members and explores new options.
The committee, made up of AHCJ volunteers and board members, works throughout the year planning the future of the contest, refining contest materials, and recruiting and organizing the dozens of judges who help make it all happen.
The committee’s mission is to provide a quality journalism contest, run by journalists, with no outside influence or payments. Each year, we evaluate whether any tweaks are needed, taking into account questions raised by our members and our judges.
Last year, for example, we dropped a requirement that series entries must have a “logo,” in response to concerns raised by members – and reflecting that many publications no longer use logos either online or in print.
The contest is just one part of my work at AHCJ. 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.
I bring experience gained during more than 20 years in the traditional print media, much of it covering health business and policy issues, as well as perspective gained from my current role at the nonprofit Kaiser Health News. Some of you also know me from my decade at USA Today, where I worked mainly in the business section writing about the health care industry. I have also been on staff at the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, Calif.
It would be an honor to receive your vote to continue my work on the board for another term.
Health editor, KQED
How do you cover health for radio, compared to print?
Is it different reporting out west? Back east? Down south?
I’m a new reporter, can I really cover health? How?
No one’s editing me, help!?
Those are a few of the questions that have surfaced since I joined AHCJ. Over time, my conversational role has shifted: I’ve gone from asking some of those questions, to being asked. That change snuck up on me, just like middle age (“Wait, so I’m the grownup here?”) But it’s also gratifying to realize my experience covering health in three states, for radio and print, has yielded some hard-won wisdom that can help others.
I’m the Health Editor at KQED, San Francisco’s NPR station. Previously, I spent six years covering health at Houston Public Radio. I’ve also worked for the Houston Chronicle, The (Bergen, NJ) Record, and the AP in NYC. Since 2010, I’ve been part of an innovative health reporting collaborative between NPR, Kaiser Health News, and public radio stations across the country.
Most AHCJ board members work in print or online. I began in print; I understand the impact of newspapers and the value of that training. But public radio reporters are flocking to AHCJ. I know how to represent them and their needs, alongside current board members who’ve also worked in broadcast: Marlene Harris-Taylor, Scott Hensley, and Sabriya Rice.
Further, I’m thinking beyond radio. Podcasting has launched a new “golden age of audio.” I’ve done editing work for two KQED podcasts, and I understand the challenges that health reporters face when podcasting. I want to help AHCJ keep track of those developments and respond, as needed, with new resources or training.
The board needs to diversify geographically. Currently, there are no board members who live west of Dallas – although California is among the states with the most AHCJ members. If elected, members across the West will have a voice at AHCJ (and a board rep they can call after 6).
Additional goals include:
Re-evaluate contest categories, to reward the best work in all formats (radio/audio, television/video, and visual/graphic journalism).
Explore launching a student award, to help engage and support the next generation of health reporters.
Generate new content and learning opportunities. Some ideas include “Domestic violence as a health issue,” “What medical anthropology can teach us,” and “How to ‘pre-report’ a disaster: accountability before tragedy strikes.”
Thank you for your consideration!
Writer and editor, NPR
I am running for re-election to the AHCJ board and am seeking your support.
It has been my honor to be a member of our organization almost since its founding. In 2009, I decided to get more involved and volunteered to serve on AHCJ’s membership committee. With Gideon Gil, I helped draft changes to our organization’s membership categories and rules. I also consulted with AHCJ staff when new membership applications raised questions. In 2012, I was elected to the board and have worked with staff to improve the website and online coverage of our annual meeting. I moved to the finance committee in 2017.
Since the summer of 2009, I have been the host of Shots, NPR's online health channel, and done some radio work. Before that, I was the founding editor of The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog. As a reporter at the Journal, I covered the drug industry and the Human Genome Project. Previously, I was a reporter at Modern Healthcare and American Banker. In a past career, I worked in regulatory affairs for a maker of high-tech medical devices. I have a bachelor's degree in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University.
Our group has been an important part of my professional life. AHCJ has provided me with rich opportunities to learn and many friendships with dedicated health care journalists. I would like to return those favors by serving on the AHCJ board.
Thanks for considering my candidacy.
Health care business reporter, Axios
My name is Bob Herman. I’m a health care business reporter at the news organization Axios. I’ve been covering the health care industry for seven years.
Health care inevitably has affected or will affect all of us. It’s also consuming a larger portion of our economy and faces fundamental changes at the state and federal levels. Because of health care’s rising importance, I want to be an advocate for the public and journalists who value accuracy, thoroughness and accountability for a system that often fails us through opaque practices, high prices and costs, odd incentives, medical errors and unequal treatment. As an AHCJ board member, I will support full transparency of information from governments and the health care industry, and I will help fellow journalists and consumers cut through the noise to better understand what’s wrong and what can be improved.
Health care reporter, Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Iowa
I am running for a third term on the AHCJ board.
The association has been a great resource for me as a journalist working in a relatively small market. At times, I’ve been the only full-time health journalist in my state. That could be a lonely and baffling role, but AHCJ’s support and resources gave me somewhere to turn for help and encouragement.
I’ve been the Des Moines Register’s health-care reporter since 2000, and previously served 12 years as an assignment editor and copy editor there. Every four years, I also become a temporary political reporter, helping cover Iowa’s famed presidential caucuses. I covered Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the 2016 cycle and Mitt Romney’s and John Edwards’ in the previous two cycles.
I became active in AHCJ after being chosen in 2011 for a yearlong fellowship. The fellowship opened my eyes to the breadth and possibilities of health-care journalism. I want to help keep the association strong so we can continue offering journalists such chances to strengthen their expertise and rekindle their enthusiasm.
After joining the AHCJ board in 2014, I volunteered to serve on the contest committee. I became the committee’s co-chair last year, and am slated to become its chair this year if I’m re-elected to the board. The committee helps determine contest categories and rules; recruits and instructs dozens of judges; and responds to a stream of last-minute questions from entrants. It can be a challenge, but it’s rewarding to see how the contest highlights innovative journalism.
The contest’s main goal should be to show journalists what they can accomplish, even if they’re new to the field or working at small publications. I aim to keep that focus.
I hope you’ll re-elect me to the board.
Health and wellness editor, U.S. News & World Report
I attended my first AHCJ convention fresh out of college with a name badge displaying the name of the medical center where I worked as a writer. (Correction: the medical center where I convinced the communication’s department to not pay me so I could build my health journalism portfolio via the center’s website and alumni magazine.) I knew then, at Health Journalism 2011 in Philadelphia, that the people around me were who I wanted to be when I grew up.
Now, I am them – on paper, at least. (Don’t we all feel more like interns than experts?) I’m a New York City-based health and wellness editor at US News & World Report, where I write and edit consumer advice stories on fitness, nutrition, medical conditions, mental health, reproductive health and more. I regularly contribute Women’s Health magazine, and have written for The Washington Post and its weekend magazine on everything from my experience endurance racing on a gluten-free diet to the healing power of scuba diving for people with paralysis.
I also worked for years as an editor of Monitor on Psychology magazine, where I covered the research behind the missed epidemic of eating disorders among “obese” people, the challenges of breaking up in the digital age and everything in between. I’ve appeared as a health expert on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and multiple local Fox and ABC affiliates.
All the while, I haven’t missed an AHCJ conference in eight years – even when it meant leaving a day early to attend my graduate journalism program at American University on Saturdays or missing my beloved Michigan Wolverines compete in NCAA Tournament (Go Blue!). I helped lead AHCJ chapter events when I lived in Washington, D.C., and have immeasurably benefited from the many talented, smart, curious and collaborative AHCJ members I’ve had the joy of working (and playing) with along the way.
All this to say: I can’t help but want to channel my energy into a leadership role in the organization that first drew me in to the important – and often life-changing – work of health journalism. I’d be honored to represent and support you so that our industry inspires the next generation to want to be us when they grow up.
Distinguished Writer in Residence, NYU
The past few years have been particularly challenging for journalists, but that hasn’t stopped AHCJ from fighting hard for our members. Just look at the accomplishments of our hardworking Right To Know Committee, or the ever-growing resources on our site, or the recently launched freelancer and general membership directories. AHCJ is here for you, and serving on the board – including as president since last fall – continues to be one of my most rewarding professional – and personal – experiences.
I’m running again because I want to continue working on all of these efforts, as well as moderate the listserv, as I’ve done for well over a decade. The listserv is one of our most popular offerings, but so are our fellowships, which I’ve had the privilege to help speak at and plan.
As someone with experience in trade journalism, consumer journalism, for-profit journalism, non-profit journalism, and journalism education, 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 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 16 years. The Watchdogs, the column I co-author with Adam Marcus, appears in STAT. Previously, I was global editorial director of MedPage Today; executive editor of Reuters Health; managing editor, online, of Scientific American; and deputy editor of The Scientist. I 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 Northampton, Mass., with my wife Cate Vojdik, whom I met at the 2002 AHCJ conference.
I hope I’ve earned your support, and I look forward to your feedback.
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. I was first elected to the AHCJ board in 2016, and with your support I hope to continue to work toward transparency and diversity within the organization.
Currently, I am the business of health care reporter for the Dallas Morning News. I write about industry trends in Texas, from freestanding emergency centers to cancer research funding and healthcare startups. I’ve been with the newspaper since June 2016. I have just been named the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism at the University of Georgia and will start teaching this fall.
Previously, I reported on quality and safety for Modern Healthcare magazine, and for many years produced health and science segments for the Cable News Network, where I first became an AHCJ member. I also worked briefly in public affairs, as the director of media relations for the American Cancer Society.
It has been an honor to be part of the AHCJ board as well as to serve as vice chair of the Right to Know Committee. The past year has been tremendously busy for the team, and with your vote, I hope to continue the great progress the RTK team has made fighting for transparency, advocating for greater access to officials and educating members about available resources.
I have been involved in several activities over the past two years. For example, I coordinated a panel focused on cybersecurity during the 2017 conference. I contributed Covering Health blogs posts, including one focused on how CMS’ delay in providing data on the Affordable Care Act exchanges led to misleading conclusions and reporter frustration during open enrollment. And I helped to coordinate a series of blogs during 2018 Sunshine Week, which pointed health reporters towards organizations and available resources to help guide their reporting.
If voted back onto the AHCJ board, I’d like to continue these advocacy efforts. However, having engaged in several conversation with members regarding diversity, I would work towards creating a committee focused on increasing membership from journalists of diverse backgrounds. I look forward to serving you!