Cleveland chapter

Do you write about or cover health topics for your newspaper, magazine, website, television or radio station, podcast or in the classroom? Then you are invited to join the revived Cleveland chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists. For more information, please email one of the chapter co-chairs: Ginger Christ at, Marlene Harris-Taylor at and Julie Washington at

Upcoming events


Past events

Dope is Death film

The Cleveland Chapter of AHCJ is proud to be an official community sponsor of an upcoming film in the highly regarded Cleveland International Film Festival - CIFF44.

Members in the Cleveland area are invited to use the official discount code: AHCJ to purchase a ticket to see a screening of DOPE IS DEATH at Tower City Cinemas, Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 11:50 AM, Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 6:10 PM or Monday, March 30, 2020 at 4:15 PM. Tickets are available to the public for purchase beginning Friday, March 13th at 11 am.

Dope is Death is the story of how the Young Lords and Black Panther Party — two inner-city human rights activist groups — created the first acupuncture detoxification program in America. Their drive to create a chemical-free detox program was in response government-funded clinics, which used methadone to curb the painful heroin withdrawal symptoms, but did not focus on eradicating chemical dependency. With Dr. Mutulu Shakur, stepfather of Tupac Shukur, serving as the frontman, the detox program helped hundreds of patients in a safe and effective way and ultimately led to a protocol practiced in over 600 health care facilities in the U.S. alone. 


Feb. 21:  Take advantage of professional development opportunities

As many media companies continue to struggle financially, opportunities for professional development for journalists have in many cases dried up. The Association of Health Care Journalists, however, continues to offer top-notch training and development programs even in this challenging environment.

The Cleveland Chapter of AHCJ would like to invite you to an event to learn how you can take advantage of these learning opportunities, which include fellowships, webinars and training sessions. Travel, hotel and training are completely free for those who apply and are chosen to participate in one of many fellowship programs.

One example of the many fellowship programs offered by AHCJ includes a national program for journalists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Up to 10 fellows are chosen each year to spend a week studying public health issues at two CDC campuses in the Atlanta area.

Join us for light refreshments at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, to learn how to take advantage of these free professional development opportunities.

Where: ideastream PBS/NPR -- Board Room, 1375 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, Ohio

Time: 6-7 p.m.

We hope to see you on Feb. 21.


Holiday Party

Come meet and mingle with leaders in Cleveland's journalism and communications community. AHCJ is joining forces with other journalism groups in Cleveland for a holiday party.

Holiday Party & Press Club of Cleveland’s Annual Meeting

Dec. 5, 5:30 - 8 p.m.

12387 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH  44106

Appetizers, one drink ticket & soft drinks
Cash bar

New this year - holiday bingo: $1 per card

Wear your ugly holiday apparel (hats, sweaters, ties, etc.) & be entered in our 2018 competition!

Prize for the best girl & best guy attire

50/50 drawing to support the Press Club of Cleveland KSU scholarship


  • Press Club Members $10

  • NIRI Members $20

  • PRSA Greater Cleveland Members $20

  • Cleveland Chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists $20

  • Nonmembers $25 (join the Press Club and pay the member cost)

Registration is a must...

Click here to register online.

Wishing you health and happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year.

Cheating Death: Keeping Health Journalism Alive – Halloween Social

When: 6:30 p.m., Oct. 25

Location to be announced.

We will have some light hors d'oeuvres and a free glass of wine or beer along with some Halloween fun. No costumes required.

The Cleveland AHCJ is an opportunity for reporters and health writers to connect, work together and share resources.

Let us know if you plan to join the fun by emailing one of the three co-chairs.

Expanding freelance options: Grant writing
Feb. 27, 2014

Freelancers in the Cleveland-Akron area have many opportunities to do grant writing. Locally, grant writers are in demand by health-care organizations, disease-specific organizations and health-welfare focused charities, organizations and/or groups.

Three local experts will share “been-there, done-that” insights and anecdotes about

    • what it takes to recognize your transferrable grant writing skills

    • what it takes to make the mind shift needed to be a successful grant writer;

    • tips, tricks and strategies for successful grant writing (which is a lot more collaborative and iterative than you might think);

    • navigating the nonprofit landscape; and

    • how to position and market yourself as a grant writer.

Presenters include:

Sandy Erlanger, senior development officer at University Hospitals

Topics: What she does on a daily basis as a grant writer, including working with colleagues (grant writing is often a team process), dealing with those for whom grants are being written as well as the funders to whom proposals are sent, and the iterative process that grant proposals go through.

Susan Ackerman, chair, Health Policy and Planning, Center for Community Solutions

Topics: The many health- and human welfare-focused organizations and agencies Northeast Ohio; the kinds of grants they will be seeking (based on the Center’s respected research); areas/topics of interest to grant funders — and therefore grant writers.

Kim St. John-Stevenson, Principal, InkPlusLLC and a former grant administrator at the St. Luke’s Foundation

Topics: The mechanics of grant writing (and why every grant form/format is different); the mind-shift that journalists must make to pursue freelance opportunities in grant writing; and tips and strategies for marketing yourself as a grant writer.

The panel will be followed by a Q&A period.

State health law implementation: Race to the starting line
May 16, 2013 

Media briefing on the complex issues that Ohio faces leading up to major 2014 health law changes.

The panel will include:

    • Sarah Dash, research faculty associate at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, who will address the complex insurance aspects of implementing the health law, and how the insurance exchange will work.

    • Randall Cebul, director of the Center for Health Care Research and Policy at MetroHealth, and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, who will discuss challenges facing hospitals such as health information technology adoption, potential workforce shortages, etc.

    • Richard Browdie, president and CEO, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, who will talk about Ohio Medicaid initiatives and the challenges of caring for older beneficiaries, who tend to be among the most expensive in the program.

    • Sarah Jane Tribble, health care reporter, The Plain Dealer, who will suggest story ideas and tips on writing about the health law changes.

    • Moderator: Marilyn Werber Serafini, communications director and health policy adviser, Alliance for Health Reform, a nonpartisan, nonprofit health policy group based in Washington, D.C.

Less than a year from now, states must be ready to enroll millions of people in insurance exchanges, as outlined in the 2010 health care overhaul law. Or, the federal government will step in to do the job, or part of it.

States also have the option of opening their Medicaid programs to millions of new participants. But that's not much time, considering their long to-do lists.

Despite pushback from the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is still hoping to expand the state’s Medicaid program and is committed to seeking federal help with the state’s insurance exchange.

    • What information do the states still need about how the federal and partnership exchanges will work?

    • How much latitude will the states have to handle eligibility for Medicaid and to make sure that people transitioning between Medicaid and subsidized private insurance in the exchanges won't have gaps in coverage?

    • Can the federal government be ready with its own exchanges?

    • Will insurers be ready in time?

This media briefing is sponsored by AHCJ and the Alliance for Health Reform, and is made possible through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Holiday cheer
Dec. 5, 2012

On Dec. 5, several members – and two soon-to-be members – of Ohio’s Cleveland-Akron chapter did a bit of pre-holiday celebrating at a Happy Hour meet ‘n’ greet at the cozy (dim lights, scattered tables, comfy couches and newly painted fire-engine red walls) Fairmount Martini and Wine Bar, known far and wide for the bar’s “stiff pour,” and excellent martinis. The local night life pub, Scene Magazine, says their like hasn’t been served in mainstream bars since the 1940s.

Major topics of discussion over wine and noshes (and above the din of the packed back lounge, where Cleveland Clinic residents were partying): the moving target that is health care reform; why and how the U.S health care system is different than Canada’s (a chapter co-leader is a Maple Leafer); and, since four of those attending were freelancers, the evolving world of freelancing.

Space medicine: NASA collaborations bring medical innovations down to earth

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has played a leading role in research and development of simple, low-cost medical items and devices used in the U.S. and around the world.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has been involved in much of that R & D. And since activities there are now focusing on “exploration medicine” – the design and development of diagnostic and treatment devices that non-experts can use during exploration missions – that role will grow.

Learn about NASA’s work on medical devices and procedures currently used in health care and those in development.

Co-sponsors: Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Professional Journalists.

Dr. Jerry G. Myers Jr., Ph.D., is chief of the Bio Science and Technology branch at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. He is technical lead for GRC’s efforts in computational physiology, physiological risk assessment and the medical effects of space travel. He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering, specializing in biofluid dynamics, in 1996. A consistent award-winner at NASA, he most recently won a NASA Group Achievement Award (2011) for his work in quantifying the probability of rare medical events in space. He has worked at NASA since 2000.

Entrepreneurial skills for journalists

As many of us leave traditional media and still others never get a chance to get their feet in the door, it behooves us to consider a new type of skills training: entrepreneurship.

It's a skill that has long been practiced by those of us who work as freelance or independent journalists and communicators. So we invited a three members who have survived and thrived in this milieu – John Ettorre, Maria Shine Stewart and Eileen Beal – to come and share their tips, their stories of trial and triumph, and their encouragement to writers starting or struggling on this path.

Co-sponsored with the Cleveland Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Jewish health and health care issues, challenges

A new public health initiative in Northeast Ohio, the Jewish Community Health Initiative, hopes to take advantage of a cultural or religious community – in this case, Cleveland's 80,000 Jews – to disseminate public health messages and encouraging healthier behavior.

Jewish health care is not only about diseases that specifically attack Jews, such as Tay-Sachs, Gaucher and Niemann-Pick, Singer noted. The health problems that affect the highest numbers of Jews are the same ones that predominate among non-Jews in America: heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Thus, the Initiative focuses on reducing health problems common in the population at large. [Read more ...]

This presentation will focus on:

  • Various groups making up the northeast Ohio Jewish community

  • Health care use and perceptions common in different groups

  • Specific health issues affecting Jews

  • An update on health research issues primarily affecting Jews

  • An intro to

Speaker Dr. Mendel Singer is the director of Jewish Community Health Initiative and professor in the Public Health and Health Services Division at Case Western Reserve University Medical School. He is also a web editor for

Speaker Rabbi Akiva Feinstein is a spiritual care adviser at Montefiore Medical Center in Cleveland.

Health care issues for Jews are focus of session for writers, Pohla Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Journalists gather in Ohio to learn about NLM data, form new chapter

On Oct. 9, health care journalists and journalism professors turned out for a free workshop on how to use resources from the National Library of Medicine.

Robert Logan, a senior staffer with the NLM, presented the workshop at the Cleveland Heights Library on Cleveland's east side. Logan was a journalist and professor of journalism at the University of Missouri and is now with NLM' s Office of Communications and Public Liaison and chair of NLM's Consumer Health Informatics Research Interest Group.

The 2½-hour workshop taught attendees how to access several of the National Library of Medicine's online databases (PubMed, Clinical, and Medline Plus) and it provided hands-on training on how use the MeSH feature on NLM's website to better-target research and databases searches.