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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

A Public Death: Are digital records behind a paywall better than none at all?

At first, Virginia's announcement that it was digitizing millions of vital records seemed like a win. But a closer look reveals that the effort has placed the records behind a paywall that effectively hinders access. That's a shame, given the public health benefits that come with freer access.

Better Butter: What to watch for with the new FDA declaration on trans fats

On Tuesday, the FDA announced that it will require the food industry to eliminate the use of artificial trans fats by 2018. Does that mean trans fats will soon disappear completely? Not quite. Here are five things to watch for as the FDA’s new ruling rolls out.

Better Butter: Road to trans fat bans paved with food labels

Requiring certain ingredients to be listed on food labels can often drive larger changes in what we consume. The U.S. required trans fats to appear on food labels in 2006, but countries such as Brazil and Argentina have gone much further in setting limits on the unhealthy fats.

Better Butter: After decades of talk, countries finally act on trans fats

Why have policies limiting the prevalence of trans fats been so slow to arrive? A brief history explains how policy actions aimed at curbing such fats, now known for their role in chronic diseases, ultimately gained traction in tip-of-the-spear countries such as Denmark.

Better Butter: Trans fat limits becoming more popular in fight against disease

Unhealthy trans fats have long remained a staple in our food supply, but that’s slowly starting to change. Denmark provides a useful case study for what happens when countries move to limit the amount of trans fats in food.

Scrubs and Sandwiches: Researchers pinpoint best reasons to gown up against MRSA

New research offers some much-need recommendations on how to curb MRSA infections among nursing home residents. As it turns out, the activities that pose the greatest risk of infection aren't always what you might think they'd be.

Everybody Hurts: Prescription drug tracking advances in California Senate

California is taking another run at requiring doctors to check a patient’s prescription history before prescribing potentially addictive drugs, with legislation passing the state senate yesterday. But will California legislators make the same kinds of compromises with providers that Oklahoma did?

Everybody Hurts: To get doctors to track prescription drugs, Oklahoma had to compromise

Oklahoma is one of only a handful of states that require physicians to check a patient’s prescription history before prescribing potentially addictive drugs. How did Oklahoma enact this requirement when so many other states, such as California, have tried and failed?

Everybody Hurts: Oklahoma navigates politics to require pain pill checks

In April, the governor of Oklahoma signed a bill that requires doctors to check a state-run database of patients and prescriptions before writing a new prescription for addictive medications. That makes the state a national leader in efforts to track such prescriptions and curtail abuse.

Well Sourced: Organ transplants can yield more than just tear-jerkers

Organ transplants are increasing at a faster rate than the population in the U.S., but not all transplant programs are created equal. Knowing where to find the relevant data can help you dig deeper and explore regional variations in wait times and success rates.



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With the explosion of public health data online, more journalists than ever need analytical tools in their daily work. This webinar will teach newcomers how to use a spreadsheet to do simple data cleanup and analysis for journalism. The webinar will be led by Paul Overberg, former data editor of USA Today. 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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