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European Union begins to raise standards for health reporting

Covering health in Europe

The European Union has embarked on a program with health professionals, health journalists, and academics from seven countries to analyze how health journalists are trained and find ways to improve health reporting.  Over the next two years representatives from Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Finland, Estonia, and Romania will be seeking input from health journalists in those countries to establish a short course that will help fill in the gaps in their knowledge.  The curriculum will be delivered in each country's language.

The idea for the HeaRT  (for Health Reporting Training) project came from Prolepsis, the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health, based in Athens to bring together the expertise and skills from health journalists in the participating countries.  Said project director Afroditi Veloudaki: "We already know we are the first project of this type, and we are very excited to be given this chance to help health journalists across Europe improve the quality of the information they can provide."

"The HeaRT project has a benefit for everyone.  It's great to get it started."  Lister who teaches health journalism at the University of Coventry in Britain manages AHCJ's European page and listserv.  "The very patchy level of reporting on important issues such as our controversial health reforms in England or the huge expensive public panic over swine flue early in 2010 show that we really need more depth, knowledge and balance in health reportintg."   AHCJ's immediate past president Trudy Lieberman will participate in the group's summer meeting at Coventry.

For more information, contact Veloudaki at a.veloudaki@prolepsis.gr or Lister at j.lister@coventry.ac.uk