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The Reporting on Health Member Blog

For those confronting illness, sharing stories offers solace and meaning

Annie Brewster started Health Story Collaborative to give patients a voice, and to bring the human side of illness back into the practice of medical care and recovery. Research suggests that the way we narrate stories of illness can have a profound impact on our mental health.

Mental illness is not growing in the U.S., says NEJM study

The New England Journal of Medicine has published a report suggesting that the rate of severe mental illness among children and adolescents has dropped substantially in the past generation — not risen.

California researchers expand screening tests looking at chemical ‘body burden’

With Biomonitoring California, state health and environmental officials have hit an early milestone in their efforts to discover which industrial chemicals are making their way into the bodies of residents. Research has shown that chemical exposure can seriously disrupt cellular function over time.

Needles, screams and vials — those vaccination photos

As a multimedia journalist, I tell stories using video, photography, radio and writing. For a recent series of data-heavy stories on vaccines, I focusing mainly on writing. But as I came to realize, I should have paid more attention to the images. Here's why.

Were ads before direct-to-consumer drug advertising better? Not necessarily

Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) has been accused of "selling" depression and over-treating or medicalizing lifestyle problems that probably don't need drugs. Yet a quick look at old issues Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that the tactics are far from new.

Health care prices are more transparent, but patients might not be using the data

Patients and health care journalists have long called for greater transparency in the prices of health care, and several companies now provide that information for free. Two recent surveys asked whether the public is using this it.

A reporter finds his best stories down by the river

The hardest part of reporting on the health implications of Central Valley rivers was not the research or content, but finding the right characters for the stories. In the end, a radio reporter discovered the best way to find the characters that brought his stories to life was on the river itself.

What I learned reporting on N.J.’s Medicaid enrollment woes

Reporter Kathleen O'Brien of the New Jersey Star-Ledger stayed flexible in her reporting and ultimately uncovered system-wide computer problems that were only affecting New Jersey's poor. Here she shares the lessons she learned while working on the project.

Drug czar’s 'recovering' revelation casts NIDA director in poor light

This week a New York Times article revealed why Michael Botticelli, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, is becoming so successful in his post. He is recovering from addiction himself and “the first person in substance-abuse recovery to hold the position."

Beware of testosterone marketing, cautions journal editorial

So many men today believe they suffer from "low T" and pursue testosterone therapy. But is it marketing or medicine? I caught up with an expert to ask him why testosterone seems to be of such interest particularly to men and whether men should be concerned or cautious.



Will the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on King v. Burwell dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its broad expansion of health coverage? Or will the law’s latest legal challenge ultimately be defeated? This webinar will illuminate the legal arguments at play; highlight the implications for patients, and outline compelling story ideas, however the court rules. More info here.


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Reporting on Underserved Communities

How can journalists and foundations collaborate to deepen and improve reporting on underserved communities? Our USC Annenberg School of Journalism program in collaboration with The California Endowment, the Wyncote Foundation and Media Impact Funders, convened 75 leaders from both fields.

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