Health Journalism 2009: Detailed conference schedule

Health Journalism 2009
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Thursday, April 16

7 a.m.

Check in and registration opens

Ballroom Foyer

7:30-8:30 a.m.

Continental breakfast available in the Exhibit Hall

Princessa Ballroom

Field Trips

Buses load at
8 a.m. and arrive back at the hotel at 5 p.m.

Both tours include a boxed lunch.

Tour One
• Cardiac procedure for children
• Telemedicine
• Infant simulator
• Seeing the "health of place"

Tour Two
• Battling malaria and tuberculosis
• Training surgeons through virtual operating room
• Using robots for remote surgery
• Connecting neuroscience with prosthetics
• Mapping the brain

11:45 a.m.

Lunch will be available for people attending the multimedia workshops

Outside the Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

12:15-5 p.m.

Multimedia workshop series

The venue for these workshops will have electrical outlets for laptops and wireless access for attendees. We invite you to bring your laptops to follow along.

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Social networking tools for reporters

What's the big deal about Facebook and Twitter? Why should journalists use them and how should they use them? What is a "social media state of mind" and how do you develop one? Mónica Guzmán of will discuss all of that and will be happy to answer questions about journalists and social networking.

  • Mónica Guzmán, online reporter,
  • Coordinator: Pia Christensen, managing editor/online services, AHCJ

1:30-2:30 p.m.

Getting and using audio for Web reports

Learn how to gather audio components for Web extras, or produce a story for podcast or broadcast. We'll cover the basics of equipment, field production and "writing for the ear" in this session with a mid-career NPR station reporter.

  • Phyllis Fletcher, reporter, KUOW-FM
  • Robert Hernandez, director of development, 
  • Coordinator: Pia Christensen, managing editor/online services, AHCJ

2:45-3:45 p.m.

Blogging your beat

Looking to start blogging or punch up the posts on a blog you've already got rolling? Come learn tricks of the trade from Scott Hensley, founding editor of The Wall Street Journal Health Blog. You'll learn about blogging with sass while avoiding snark, how to build an audience for your blog, writing headlines that draw readers, where to find good art on the cheap, which subjects make for good blog posts and which are best for Twitter or traditional media, when and how to link to other sources and how to use video inside your posts. 

  • Scott Hensley, independent journalist, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Coordinator: Pia Christensen, managing editor/online services, AHCJ

4-5 p.m.

Free online tools for better story telling

There are numerous online tools to help you in your reporting. We will examine tools for tasks including image editing, creating slideshows, data visualization, online mapping, organization and monitoring information.

  • Daniel Lathrop, independent journalist, Seattle
  • Coordinator: Pia Christensen, managing editor/online services, AHCJ

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

5:30 p.m.

Actress and playwright Sarah JonesConference opening session

Join Tony Award-winning playwright and performer Sarah Jones for "A Right to Care," where she takes on the multicultural and class components of the U.S. health care system. Her performance highlights the broader racial, ethnic and socioeconomic elements of improving public health. The show, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, displays the many voices of this Broadway performer.

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

7 p.m.

AHCJ opening-night reception
Sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund

Leonesa II & III

Friday, April 17

7:30-9:30 a.m.

Continental breakfast available in the Exhibit Hall.

Princessa Ballroom

8-9 a.m.

Newsmaker briefing

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

9:30-10:45 a.m.

Identifying and addressing medically underserved areas
The term “medically underserved” appears more and more in the daily press. But how is it defined? The panel experts will talk about the latest national research on the shortage of primary care physicians and surgeons in rural and urban counties and what it means for "universal" health care. They will discuss the prognosis for expanding quality medical care into hard-to-reach markets and programs for attracting physicians and other medical professionals. How are neighborhood health centers, long considered the safety net in remote areas, dealing with patients who have chronic diseases that need specialty care?

  • Mark Doescher, M.D., M.S.P.H.., director, Office of Rural Health Care, School of Public Health, University of Washington
  • Anita Monoian, chairwoman, National Association of Community Health Centers and CEO, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services
  • Kris Sparks, director, Office of Rural Health, Washington State Department of Health; board member, National Rural Health Association
  • Moderator: Leah Beth Ward, reporter, Yakima Herald-Republic

Leonesa I

Investigating hospital finances
Hospital finances are poised to be at the top of the news again. The poor economy has reduced elective surgeries, uninsured patients appear to be surging, and there’s talk of Medicare cuts in Washington. This year the IRS has also upgraded the 990 form, making it more useful to reporters than ever before. All these trends and others should make 2009 and 2010 auspicious times to learn about hospital finances. This session will discuss the basics along with five key documents all health reporters should know about.

  • Karl Stark, health and science editor, The Philadephia Inquirer

Leonesa II

Biology of aging
Aging is “the” health care story of the 21st century. Because of that, research on the biology of why and how we age – and what can be done to slow the aging process – is undergoing a renaissance. This panel, made up of thought leaders in aging research, gives a brief overview of the history of aging research and then focuses on the three major – and overlapping – theories that are driving today’s research.

  • Carl Eisdorfer, M.D., Ph.D., Knight professor and director, University of Miami Center on Aging
  • Matt Kaeberlein, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Pathology, University of Washington
  • George M. Martin, M.D., professor emeritus, Department of Pathology, University of Washington; adjunct professor of genome sciences (retired) and director emeritus of University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
  • Peter Rabinovitch, M.D., Ph.D., director, University of Washington Nathan Shock Center for Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging
  • Moderator: Eileen Beal, independent journalist, Cleveland

Leonesa III

Are you ready? Before, during and after the disaster
How will you cover the news if an earthquake, flooding or other natural disasters cut off power and make roads impassable? Would you head to the newsroom if a flu pandemic broke out? Should you? What do you know about infectious disease transmission, mass disposal of bodies and the effects of trauma on survivors? This session brings together professionals working in the frontlines of disaster planning to offer tips to journalists. You'll hear about how to equip yourself and your newsroom for various calamities as well as how to spot stories before, during and after disasters.

  • Eric Holdeman, port security director, Port of Tacoma
  • Onora Lien, special projects manager, King County Healthcare Coalition
  • Johnese Spisso, chief clinical operations officer, University of Washington Medicine
  • John Verrico, media spokesman, Department of Homeland Security
  • Moderator: Kyung M. Song, The Seattle Times

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

11 a.m.-
12:15 p.m.

Explaining costs in health stories
From Congress to your local employer, everyone is talking about how to get a handle on rising health care costs. But what's really behind the growth? Why is it important for journalists to include cost information in their medical and health policy stories? This session will explore the factors behind the nation's ever-growing tab for health care, take a look at how well health journalists capture costs in their stories and explore how the public views health costs.

  • Marge Ginsburg, executive director, Center for Healthcare Decisions
  • Glenn Melnick, Ph.D., professor, University of Southern California
  • Gary Schwitzer, health journalism professor, University of Minnesota; publisher,
  • Moderator: Julie Appleby, senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News

Leonesa III

Efforts at improving hospital patient safety
MRSA infections, “never events” – leaving sponges in patients after surgery or operating on the wrong part of
the body – and patient record breaches have been in the headlines. It’s estimated that 90,000 patients a year die from medical errors and lapses in patient safety, shaking the public’s faith in their local hospital systems. In response hospitals are coming up with checklists for operating rooms, creating public databases detailing errors and doing more intensive training. The federal government announced last year that it will no longer pay hospitals Medicare dollars for eight of those “never events.” We’ll hear from experts in patient safety about how they can tackle this issue and we’ll get tips on how to put patient safety issues in context for our reporting.

  • David R. Flum, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.; professor of surgery and medical director, Surgical Outcomes and Assessment Program, University of Washington
  • Cathie Furman, R.N., M.H.A., senior vice president, quality and compliance, Virginia Mason Medical Center
  • Patrick Hagan, president and chief operating officer, Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Connie Lopez, R.N.C., M.S.N., C.N.S., national leader, Patient Safety & Risk Management, Kaiser Permanente
  • Moderator: Kelley Weiss, health care reporter, Capital Public Radio

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

Mental health: Reporting beyond the labels
In 1972 Thomas Eagleton was removed from the Democratic vice presidential ticket after revelations of mental illness and electroshock therapy. Attitudes have changed considerably since then, or have they? Former King County Executive and now senior vice president for the Washington State Hospital Association, Randy Revelle discusses his own battle with bipolar disorder and assesses the limitations of the new federal mental health parity law. Elizabeth McCauley, Ph.D., of Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington, addresses special issues involving teens and children and Jennifer Stuber, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, focuses on accuracy in media reporting.

  • Elizabeth McCauley, professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, University of Washington
  • Randy Revelle; senior vice president, policy and public affairs; Washington State Hospital Association
  • Jennifer Stuber, assistant professor, social welfare, University of Washington
  • Moderator: Pat Duggan, senior HealthLink producer, KING-Seattle


12:30-2 p.m.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.Luncheon

New president. New Congress. New health system?
Spotlight speaker: Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Wyden says that passing enduring health care reform is going to require a bipartisan approach that contains costs, eliminates waste and inefficiencies, and guarantees every American quality, affordable health care. He will talk about why the time has never been better to find a solution that fixes our broken health care system so it works for everyone and lifts the crippling weight of health care costs off the shoulders of consumers, businesses and our economy.

Leonesa I & II

2-3 p.m.

Win a prize!

During our break after the Friday luncheon, stop by the exhibit hall for some resource materials and a chance to win a prize. During that hour, we will hold a series of drawings for some fun prizes, but you must be present to win. You are automatically entered if you picked up your conference registration packet by 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Exhibitors offer special services, resources and tools of interest to journalists. Their support also helps us keep AHCJ conference registration such a great deal.

Princessa Ballroom

3-6 p.m.

Freelance PitchFest
Editors from magazines, newspapers, Web sites are coming to meet AHCJ's freelance members! 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. Bring your best ideas and be prepared to sell your work. Sign up for appointments with editors now or you can visit the registration desk at the conference beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday, April 17, to make appointments.

Editors who will be interviewing freelancers include:

  • David Bronstein, group editorial director, McMahon Medical Publishing
  • Daniel J. Denoon, senior medical writer, WebMD
  • Matthew Heimer, deputy editor, SmartMoney
  • Diana Mason, R.N., Ph.D., editor, American Journal of Nursing
  • Meredith Matthews, senior editor, Current Health 1 and Current Health 2
  • Laurie McGinley, senior editor, Kaiser Health News
  • Christian Millman, health editor, Better Homes and Gardens
  • Ivan Oransky, managing editor for online, Scientific American
  • Julia Sommerfeld,
  • Colleen Paretty, executive editor, WebMD Health

Discovery & Portland

4-5 p.m.

Afternoon refreshments available in the Exhibit Hall.

Princessa Ballroom

3:15-4:30 p.m.

State oversight of health professionals
California paramedics found guilty of sexual misconduct or patient neglect were able to return to jobs as emergency medical technicians in ambulances, hospitals and fire departments. California nurses were able to rack up lengthy rap sheets before the state’s nursing board acted against them. Nurses in Oregon compiled track records of negligence and drug addictions with little state oversight. And Wisconsin doctors are unlikely to be disciplined, even when patients die. All of these findings were the result of intrepid reporters digging deep into oversight of health professionals in their states. The authors of these stories will tell you how you can conduct similar investigations in your state. The results could, and likely will, help save lives.

  • Gina Barton, investigative reporter, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
  • Peter Korn, reporter, Portland Tribune
  • Andrew McIntosh, senior writer, The Sacramento Bee
  • Moderator: Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

Leonesa I

The future of computerized health records
When used properly, electronic health records can curb costs and improve care. But many doctors still using paper and pen question the wisdom of switching to electronic health records, given their cost and complexity. Yet, the Obama administration is trying to jump-start the adoption of digital medical records with $19 billion in stimulus funds. Wal-Mart, Google, Microsoft and WebMD are just of the big names staking out a piece of the digital records business. Will Obama's plan work? Who wins? Who loses? Why should you and your readers care?

  • Gary Kalkut, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Montefiore Medical Center
  • Gwendolyn O'Keefe, Associate Medical Director for Quality and Informatics, Group Health Cooperative
  • Bill Reid, Director, HealthVault Platform Strategy,Microsoft Corp.
  • Moderator: Phil Galewitz, The Palm Beach Post

Leonesa II

Vaccines: Filtering the noise
Immunization against infectious disease has done more perhaps than any other single health intervention to reduce death and illness worldwide. Yet many parents today remain concerned about potential adverse effects and are choosing not to fully vaccinate their children. This panel will examine the public health vs. personal choice issue, the science behind immunization, how physicians work with parents within the context of incomplete information, the media’s role in this debate and the global health implications of these controversies.

  • Tamara Cullen, naturopathic physician, Bastyr University
  • Laura Koutsky, researcher, University of Washington
  • Edgar Marcuse, pediatrician, Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Kathy Neuzil, infectious disease expert, PATH
  • Moderator: Tom Paulson, independent journalist, Seattle

Leonesa III

Shared decision-making: New laws, new insights
Studies have found that when patients have access to clear, balanced, evidence-based information about treatment options, they are often more wary of the risks of medicine than their physicians are. There's increasing evidence that strengthening the patient's role in choosing treatments and tests can help increase patient satisfaction while reducing the rates of many types of invasive tests and procedures. Most clinical trials show that the use of decision aids leads to a decline in the demand for surgery of about 25 percent overall, which could result in savings of billions each year for Medicare's most common surgical procedures. Learn what legislators and leading health care organizations are doing to change informed consent standards, put patients in the drivers' seat, and achieve better, more affordable health care.

  • David Arterburn, M.D., M.P.H., assistant investigator, Group Health Cooperative
  • Karen Merrikin, J.D., executive director, public policy, Group Health Cooperative
  • Ben Moulton, J.D., M.P.H., executive director, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics
  • Benjamin S. Wilfond, M.D., director, Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children's Hospital; professor and chief, Division of Bioethics, Department of Pediatrics University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Moderator: Gary Schwitzer, health journalism professor, University of Minnesota; publisher,

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

4:45-6 p.m.

Second wind for stem cell research
Many stem cell scientists hailed President Obama's election as the mark of a new era, opening the door to embryonic stem cell research and more federal funds. But how much will things change even with Democrats leading both the White House and Congress? How will those dollars translate into further study? And just how long will it take to generate new therapies? We'll hear from a leading scientist about new research into both adult and embryonic stem cells, including their ability to regenerate the heart. The head of a leading patient advocacy group will offer insight into the political landscape with a new president and new leaders in Congress. Finally, we'll get an overview with a realistic look at what this year holds.

  • Lawrence S.B. Goldstein, Ph.D., board member, International Society for Stem Cell Research; professor of cellular and molecular medicine, University of California, San Diego
  • Chuck Murry, cardiovascular pathologist, University of Washington; co-director, UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
  • Moderator: Susan Heavey, Thomson-Reuters

Leonesa II

Health literacy: Does the public understand you?
Understood or misunderstood? The challenges of health literacy cover the gamut – from health professionals, to journalists who cover health, to patients, to the general public. A recent study shows that while journalists constantly inform the public of new health information, the message is often lost amid confusion. Researchers found that most health journalists have not had specialized training in health reporting and face challenges in communicating new medical science developments. Panelists will identify and diagnose some communication barriers, and offer techniques to cure those ills.

  • Michael Hayes, Ph.D., associate dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Amanda Hinnant, assistant professor, magazine journalism, University of Missouri
  • Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

Leonesa III

Boot camp, battlefield and beyond: Covering veterans' health issues
National headlines are dominated by stories of soldiers and the aftermath of war. Suicides, depression, pathogens and injury – military medicine encompasses a labyrinth of issues and people. Discover the reporting techniques and tools used to cull out military records and sources. And learn from one of the nation’s top VA doctors about the statistics and untold stories involving the innovative Post-Deployment Integrated Care Initiative.

  • Hal Bernton, reporter, The Seattle Times
  • Kevin Graman, reporter, The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review
  • Stephen C. Hunt, M.D., M.P.H., director, VA Puget Sound Post Deployment Health Clinic Programs
  • Moderator: Michael J. Berens, investigative team reporter, The Seattle Times

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

Saturday, April 18

8-9 a.m.

Newsmaker Briefing

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

9:15-10:30 a.m.

Rebuilding the baby boomer: Spare parts for the 21st century
This session will explore one of the fastest-growing areas of medical, economic and ethical concern for the future: technology and the aging baby boomer. Learn what advances have become and will soon be possible in the arena of artificial organs, joint replacements and other technological interventions aimed at allowing older people to live better, longer. This session will explore the complications inherent in replacing body parts and tissues, including the dangers of failed healing and infection. And it will help reporters consider the thorny question of who should benefit from expensive technology – and how patients and society plan to pay for it.

  • Anthony Atala, M.D., director, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine; chairman, department of urology, Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Buddy Ratner, bioengineering professor and director, University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials program
  • Susan Foote, professor, University of Minnesota School of Public Health
  • Moderator: Andy Miller, health care reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Leonesa II

Medical effectiveness: Is there a NICE in U.S. future?
What medical tests and treatments work? Which ones don’t? This panel will explore how past U.S. government efforts to answer these questions and how the British government decides on which treatments it will pay for and which it will not. This is a timely topic because the federal stimulus package provides money to examination these decisions, and it’s important for journalists to understand the history, politics, science and economics behind them.

  • Tanisha Carino, vice president, Avalere Health LLC
  • Kalipso Chalkidou, M.D., Ph.D., director of policy consulting, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
  • Dennis J. Cotter, president, Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute Inc.
  • Joe Rojas-Burke, staff writer, The Oregonian
  • Moderator: Trudy Lieberman, director, health and medicine reporting program, City University of New York

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

Master class in health care fraud
Three experts in health care fraud share their insights, knowledge and experience about a topic that drains billions of dollars annually from state, federal and private health insurance plans. A former federal prosecutor who is now New York’s medicaid inspector general, a whistleblower, accountant, author and government fraud consultant and an award-winning reporter advise reporters how they can better understand this complex topic, acquire new tools and resources and produce stories with impact.

  • John Schilling, author, health care fraud consultant and accountant
  • Jim Sheehan, inspector general, New York Medicaid
  • Duff Wilson, investigative reporter, The New York Times
  • Moderator: Mark Taylor, independent journalist, Chicago

Leonesa III

Latest moves in unraveling autism
Autism disorders are more prevalent than experts previously thought, affecting 1 in 150 children, according to the latest CDC estimates This session will explore the advances and controversies in the understanding of what causes autism. Also learn about the latest evidence on what treatments do and do not work, and hear experts assess the role journalists have played in helping (and harming) the public's understanding of this complicated issue.

  • Bryan H. King, M.D., professor and vice chair, psychiatry and behavioral sciences; director, child and adolescent psychiatry, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Paul A. Offit, M.D., author and faculty, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Diana E. Schendel, Ph.D.; lead, research and epidemiology team, Developmental Disabilities Branch, CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
  • Alison Singer, autism parent advocate, Scarsdale, N.Y.
  • Moderator: Mike Stobbe, staff writer, The Associated Press

Leonesa I

10:45 a.m.-noon

Tracking animal-borne diseases
This panel will explore the convergence of human and animal disease tracking and how global disease surveillance can help predict and manage infectious disease outbreaks between animals and humans. Speakers will address how globalization is contributing to the transmission of disease between animals and humans; where the predicted hotspots are for disease emergence; the global, national and local structure for tracking disease outbreaks, including the ramifications of International Health Regulations scheduled to take effect in 2014; and, how effective planning and resource commitment to prevent outbreaks of pandemic flu, SARS, Mad cow, Monkeypox, West Nile virus and the next emerging disease can pay off. Find out what you should be watching for and reporting about in 2009.

  • William Davenhall, global marketing manager, Health and Human Service Solutions, ESRI
  • Anthony A Marfin, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., state epidemiologist, Washington Department of Health
  • Terry F. McElwain, D.V.M., Ph.D.; professor, School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University
  • Steven J. Sweeney, M.S., D.V.M., veterinary medical officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health
  • Moderator: Megan Clark, independent producer, Seattle

Leonesa III

The healthy environment: It's not just medicine
Health statistics tend to improve, not fall, during economic downturns. Researchers who study the broader health environment say most people are unaware of that trend partly because health news is dominated by updates on medical research, tests, and treatments; while stories about other powerful influences on our health, often termed social determinants, are passed over. The explanation for health improvements during bad times also helps illuminate why U.S. health steadily trails that of other nations that spend far less on medicine. Discuss research into how the news media cover health and discuss ways to broaden story selection, sources and frames.

  • Michael Hayes, Ph.D., associate dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Stephen A. Bezruchka, M.D., senior lecturer, Department of Global Health, University of Washington
  • Moderator: Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist, Portland, Ore.

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

Complementary and alternative medicine: What's working, what's ahead
Complementary and alternative medicine could get a boost from the Obama administration, which has pledged to augment health care research and prevention. But although services by chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and others have been growing in popularity, the medical system has yet to integrate them effectively. Welcome to the nation's foremost proving ground. In 1996, Washington became the first state to require insurance companies to cover licensed alternative providers. But it hasn't been a free ride, as these practitioners confront tests of medical efficacy and consumer satisfaction. Panelists from a leading children's hospital, an alternative academic medical center and a health plan will describe the latest lessons learned and forecast the national future for CAM.

  • Dan Cherkin, Ph.D., senior scientific investigator, Group Health Center for Health Studies
  • Jane Guiltinan, N.D., clinical professor, Bastyr Center for Natural Health; member of the Board of Trustees, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle
  • Anjana Kundu, M.B., B.S., D.A., director, ambulatory pain medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Moderator: Sally James, independent journalist, Seattle


Bioethics for journalists: Communicating the tough cases
A severely disabled girl's parents agree to have her growth stunted surgically. A woman with inoperable lung cancer opts to end her own life. If you're the reporter, you know you've got a great story. But conveying all sides of complex ethical debates with accuracy, sensitivity and fairness isn't easy. Panelists involved with the Ashley X case and assisted suicide will help reporters do a better job covering stories that raise knotty questions.

  • Don Colburn, reporter, The Oregonian
  • Douglas Diekema, director of education, Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Cassie Sauer, vice president, communications, Washington State Hospital Association
  • Moderator: Carla K. Johnson, medical writer, The Associated Press


12:15-2:15 p.m.

Awards Luncheon

Keynote speaker Uwe E. Reinhardt, Ph.D.Keynote speaker:
Uwe E. Reinhardt, Ph.D., James Madison Professor of Political Economy and Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Reinhardt is one of the nation's leading authorities on health care economics. He will talk about health economy and the prospect for health reform. He argues that health care is the best investment to revive the United States from recession.

Leonesa I & II

2:30-3:45 p.m.

Statistics, conclusions, limitations: Reporting on medical studies
Health journalism watchdog groups in the United States, Canada and Australia will lead this workshop, reflecting on the lessons embedded in more than 2,000 health news stories the three projects have reviewed in the past few years - an unparalleled international health journalism checkup. We'll also preview a new AHCJ slim guide on covering medical research and reporting on studies. The session will provide hands-on skills for anyone who is ever asked to report on studies or research-in-progress.

  • Alan Cassels, pharmaceutical policy research, University of Victoria, British Columbia
  • David Henry, chief executive officer, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Canada
  • Moderator: Gary Schwitzer, health journalism professor, University of Minnesota; publisher,

Leonesa III

The intersection of government, nonprofits and business in the global health arena
As the world becomes a smaller place, nonprofit sector efforts increasingly overlap with government sector policy steps and business sector expansions. This is becoming more and more apparent in the global health arena. As these three sectors meet at various international crossroads, relationships are developing and programs of mutual-interest formed. Reporters will need to understand these layered relationships and learn how to tap into them for stories, better background and a larger view of the ripple effects.

  • Joe Cerrell, director, policy and advocacy, Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • John E. Lange, senior program officer, Global Health Policy & Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Bobby Shriver, co-founder and chairman, (PRODUCT)RED
  • Moderator: Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief, Health Affairs

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

The state of Native American health
The United States promised Native American nations health care in exchange for land in treaties. That health care is now delivered through the Indian Health Service, one of the only federal agencies to provide direct medical care. The appropriations for the Indian Health Service are around half the need, which affects the overall state of Indian health. Yet as the United States considers reform of its health care systems, it will be instructive to consider the successes and failures of delivery of health care to Indian Country.

  • Ralph Forquera, executive director, Seattle Indian Health Board
  • Thomas Sweeney, public affairs director, Indian Health Service
  • Moderator: Kara Briggs, columnist, Indian Country Today


3:30-4:30 p.m.

Afternoon refreshments available in the Exhibit Hall.

Princessa Ballroom

4-5:15 p.m.

Freelance: Building your brand
Everyone seems to be talking about the importance of branding as a means to market yourself and your work to prospective clients and sources. Accompanying this message is a plethora of technical tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and activities like blogging to promote your name and expertise. But what exactly is your brand? How do you assess what you have to offer? And who do you want for clients? Our panelists – marketing experts and journalists who’ve wrestled with these questions – will offer their experience and guidance on how to determine which branding tools and activities are right for you.

  • Dan Caine, principal, Incite: The Brand Alignment Company
  • Barbara Feder Ostrov, independent journalist, San Jose, Calif.
  • Mark Forehand, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, University of Washington Business School
  • Irene M. Wielawski, independent journalist, Pound Ridge, N.Y.

Leonesa I

AHCJ annual contest award winners share their stories
Hear from AHCJ’s contest winners. This year’s winners in the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism contest will discuss their work and offer tips on producing winning work of your own.

Leonesa III

Effects of global climate change on health
Heat stroke and heat-related deaths, bug-borne diseases, malnutrition, asthma and the number of emergency room visits because of air pollution are all expected to get worse as the planet warms. Numerous international and local reports warn that no matter where one lives, human health will suffer due to climate change. Yet the topic hasn’t gotten much coverage from health reporters. This group of panelists will explore how climate trends link with health issues and efforts to mitigate the harm, especially for vulnerable populations.

  • Elizabeth Jackson, doctoral candidate, University of Washington
  • Catherine Karr, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, pediatrics; adjunct assistant professor, environmental and occupational health sciences; University of Washington School of Medicine and School of Public Health
  • Lewis Ziska, Ph.D., plant physiologist, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Moderator: Lisa Stiffler, independent journalist, Seattle

Eliza Anderson Amphitheater

5:30 p.m.

AHCJ Membership Meeting
Come hear about the latest efforts of AHCJ from your elected board.

Leonesa III

7 p.m.

AHCJ reception
Join us for food, drinks and conversation.
Sponsored by The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, USC
Please RSVP for this event

Leonesa II

Sunday, April 19

How-to sessions

8:30-10 a.m.

Using Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare
As the federal government puts new data online about the quality of hospitals and nursing homes, reporters need to know how to interpret it, questions to ask and how to put the statistics in context. This session will give a virtual tour of the Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare Web sites, discuss what the sites are missing and emphasize how you can compare changes in quality measures over time. Even if you have been using these sites for some time, this session may teach you new tricks in using them. Bring your laptop.

  • Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, ProPublica

Leonesa I

Understanding health insurance
Private health insurance will be front and center of any health reform measure Congress will pass. This workshop will help you understand the ins and outs of insurance, the concepts you need to know and the mechanics of the industry. The goal of this session is for you to be able to explain clearly for your audience key principles of how insurance works and how it might affect reform.

  • Arthur Baldwin, principal and consulting actuary, Milliman Inc.
  • Trudy Lieberman, director, health and medicine reporting program, City University of New York

Leonesa II

Mining Pub Med Central and MedlinePlus
This session offers training in how AHCJ members can better use Pub Med Central and in health and medical news reporting and editing. The session includes some usage tips and notes some of the site’s interactive features. The session previews and highlights some of the advanced training offered within the new AHCJ-NLM Journalism Fellows Program.

  • Gail Kouame, consumer health coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region
  • Linda Milgrom, outreach coordinator/librarian, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region
  • Robert Logan, National Library of Medicine

Leonesa III

10:15-11:45 a.m.

Storytelling with style and structure: Blueprints for success
What to put in? What to leave out? Where to put what? Those questions plague the most experienced writers. And with the pressure of fast-breaking news, brutal deadlines, limited space, complex information and feeding the web, they can seem impossible to answer. But just as a set of blueprints can lead to a well-built house, a set of story structures can lead writers through the thicket of their notebooks to build sound, elegant stories, and give editors tools to help coach complicated stories. We will explore a variety of story structures that best serve the information you have, and allow for both discipline and creativity.

  • Jacqui Banaszynski, professor, Knight Chair in Editing, Missouri School of Journalism

Leonesa I

Building and maintaining a professional Web site
In the modern media world, every journalist needs his or her own Web site. That's true for staffers as well as freelancers. This class will show how to use inexpensive tools and techniques to build a professional-looking Web site that enhances your career. Students also will learn how to use popular tools to create their own blog, if they choose, and how to use that blog to promote themselves as writers.

  • Daniel Lathrop, independent journalist, Seattle

Leonesa II

Adding pop to broadcast work: Focus on the health beat
Clear thinking and crisp writing can turn even the most complex assignment into a memorable story. Improve your skills and learn by example as former network correspondent Deborah Potter shares successful strategies you can implement right away.

  • Deborah Potter, executive director, NewsLab

Leonesa III