Member News: Winter 2010

Bianca Alexander, as a California Endowment Health Journalism fellow, produced a story about disparities in health in communities of color, focusing specifically on the food desert crisis in these communities. The project is the first part of a larger documentary.

Ran An was awarded a 2009 Health Journalism Fellowship from the East-West Center. The program included a study tour in Kunming, China, and a workshop on reporting infectious diseases and other health issues at the University of Hong Kong. 

Aliyah Baruchin, an independent journalist, won the 2009 Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award, an international award given by the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the biopharmaceutical company UCB. The award, in the print/online category, was for a story about African-Americans with epilepsy that appeared in the Epilepsy Foundation's national magazine, EpilepsyUSA.

Beryl Lieff Benderly has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Alan Leshner, AAAS president, wrote that Benderly is recognized for "outstanding science journalism and for leadership in advancing and protecting the economic and creative rights of freelance science journalists."

Karen Brown, a reporter and producer at WFCR Public Radio, has been accepted into the Science Literacy Project workshop, a weeklong event to help public radio journalists meet the challenges of reporting about science and health.

Luis F. B. Correia, M.D., is a health correspondent for TV Globo Network in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He discusses health during a weekly talk show that is broadcast nationwide.

Aurora S. Cudal, a staff writer and columnist of The Filipino Press, a weekly newspaper in San Diego, was appointed as chairperson of the Filipino Complete Count Committee for Census 2010.

Ellen Durckel is freelance producing for ABC News and recently finished a piece on men who suffer from depression after their children are born.

Barbara Feder-Ostrov is the deputy editor of, a part of the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships at the USC-Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Joyce Frieden is a news editor for the MedPage Today Web site. She was practice trends editor at International Medical News Group/Elsevier.

Pedro F. Frisneda, health editor of El Diario/La Prensa, started a weekly Spanish-language health video for the newspaper's Web site called "Tu Salud (Your Health) with Pedro Frisneda."

Barbara Gastel, M.D., M.P.H., has been selected the 2010 recipient of the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, presented by the Scientific Research Society in recognition of outstanding contributions in communicating science. Gastel, a professor in the Veterinary Integrative Biosciences department at Texas A&M University, coordinates the university's master's degree program in science and technology journalism.

"Your Practice and the Recession," written for Doctor's Digest by independent journalist Laura Gater was published in December. Her book, "How to Own and Operate a Financially Successful Medical Billing Business," is expected to be published this spring by Atlantic Publishing.

David Gulliver, who launched the nonprofit, online Sarasota Health News last year, received an unusual honor from Creative Loafing, the local alternative weekly: "Best Reporter Cojones." Gulliver says the award may be one of his favorite honors.

Jennifer Gustavson graduated from SUNY Stony Brook University in December with a degree in journalism. She is a general assignment reporter for The Northshore Sun, which covers the north shore of eastern Brookhaven Town on Long Island.

Mark Hagland has been named editor-in-chief of Healthcare Informatics, a publication about health care information technology. Hagland, who spent 14 years as an independent journalist before taking this job, was a senior contributing editor at Healthcare Informatics for several years prior to this transition.

Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D. has a new radio program, Food Sleuth, that airs on KOPN and the Internet. The show features 30-minute interviews with researchers, scientists, film makers and journalists who connect the dots between food, health and agriculture.

Independent journalist Stan Hinden's book, "How to Retire Happy. The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire," was fully updated for its third edition, just published by McGraw-Hill. Hinden, a former Washington Post financial writer, also writes the "Retirement Perspectives" column for the AARP mutual fund Web site.

Carolyn Hirschman won a merit award in the 2009 National Health Information Awards for the brochure "Older Adults and Alcohol: You Can Get Help." The consumer publication was produced for the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., is anchor and senior news editor for a new online health site,, which will produce news and feature videos on health and medical topics for viewing on mobile devices. Holtz's second book, "The Real Grey's Anatomy," was published by Berkley/Penguin in January. He spent more than a year following surgical residents to get a sense of how their reality compares to what is depicted on television.

Paul Kleyman, the ethnic elders editor at New America Media, received a Distinguished Service Award from the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in its 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

 "Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice," a new book published by O'Reilly media, was edited by Daniel Lathrop and Laurel Ruma. Lathrop is chief digital strategist for InvestigateWest.

"It's Not a Diet, It's Creative Eating," by June M. Lay, M.S., was published in November. Lay is founder and director of The Nutrition Center at the Eastside Kinesthetic Center in New York City.

Gale Maleskey, M.S., R.D., was recently certified as a licensed wellness coach. She works as a health and nutrition writer and has a private practice in integrative nutritional counseling in central New Jersey and Bucks County, Pa.

Diana Mason, R.N., Ph.D., and Barbara Glickstein, R.N., M.P.H., M.S., have won an award from The Truth About Nursing, a media watch group, in the category "Nurses Advocating in the Media." The award is for HealthStyles, a weekly radio show on WBAI New York. Mason was appointed to the Rudin Professorship at Hunter College and to the graduate faculty of the City University of New York. She and Glickstein are launching and co-directing the Hunter College Center for Health, Media & Policy.

Peg McNichol is now the breaking news blogger for the Grand Rapids Press in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Christian Millman has been named executive editor of Taste of Home. He had been deputy editor, health and family, at Better Homes & Gardens since fall of 2008. Before that, he was a senior health editor, having joined Better Homes & Gardens in January 2003. He has been an editor at Rodale.

Nick Mulcahy was one of 13 journalists selected as a 2009 National Press Foundation fellow for the "Cancer Issues" seminar in September.

David B. Nash, M.D., M.B.A., was presented the 2010 President's Award and 2010 Service Award from the American College of Medical Quality.

P. Wanja Njuguna, a lecturer in the University of Botswana's media studies department, received a scholarship to Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University to study for a doctorate in communication. Her project is "HIV & AIDS Stigma in Print Media: A Survey of Three Newspapers in Botswana and their Reportage of HIV & AIDS Issues 2001-2008."

Stephenie Overman's new book, "Next-Generation Wellness at Work," has been published by Greenwood Publishing Group. The book examines workplace wellness programs, how to establish them and the benefits to both employees and businesses. Overman is a independent journalist based in Arlington, Va.

Kelly Peterson, a producer for KVIE-Sacramento's ViewFinder and America's Heartland, received a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship. She is writing and producing a documentary, "A Crisis in Caring: California's School Nursing Shortage."

Rebecca Ruiz has been promoted to staff writer at Forbes.

Wynfred N. Russell, of Mshale and Liberian Journal, received the 2009 Human Rights Award from the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions. Russell was commended for his service to organizations and the community and for setting a "powerful example for all."

Deborah Schoch is a senior staff writer with the newly established USC Center for Health Reporting.  

Kay Schwebke completed the health journalism master program at the University of Minnesota and has started a weekly radio health program on a Twin Cities station while working as a physician.

Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog was named "Best Medical Weblog of 2009" by MedGadget, the "Internet journal of emerging medical technologies."

Courtney Sherwood, of the Portland Business Journal, received a travel and tuition fellowship to the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists in October. She was one of about 30 chosen to participate in the program.

"Flat Belly Diet! for Men" (Rodale, 2009), by Milton Stokes, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., is a New York Times bestseller for nonfiction advice.

Sandra Swanson won a silver "Eddie" from Folio magazine for a feature about robotic surgery that appeared in Illinois Alumni magazine.

Sarah Varney, of KQED-FM, was honored by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in its 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards. She won the broadcast award in the investigative journalism category for "Chemicals at Home - Unknown Substitutes."

Patricia Walters-Fischer is now the deputy editor for Romance Novel Magazine. She also has started a multicultural parenting Web site called Smart Cookie Parents, started writing for as the San Antonio public health writer and as a writer for

Alison Young covers health on USA Today's national desk. She had written an investigative column and covered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Rong Xiaoqing, a reporter for Sing Tao Daily, won a Dennis A. Hunt grant for health journalism from the California Health Endowment in October. 

Benita Zahn, an anchor and health reporter for WNYT-Albany, N.Y., is an adjunct lecturer at Siena College where she is teaching journalistic interviewing skills. She is crafting and hosting three hour-long programs on bioethical issues in which students will play active roles in the development.