When I left for a week of reporting in rural California in late February, I didn't know I would come back with two stories about the devastating health consequences of isolation.
I'm not just talking about the geographic isolation one finds in a remote area. From the hilly evergreen landscape of eastern Shasta County, to the agricultural flatlands of Tulare County in the South Central Valley, I witnessed how isolation can leave people in the dark about keeping healthy, lead to emotional despair, and pose real barriers to quality of life.
Aly Colón, independent journalist and instructor at the Poynter Institute, said in a recent webinar that journalists should look for "listening posts" to help find untold stories. Colón is a specialist in ethics and diversity and discussed ways that journalists can improve in both areas. This week at Career GPS, we start a conversation about diversifying coverage with this question: What are the best places for health journalism listening posts?
This Sunday in the Record Searchlight, we revealed that nearly two thirds of Shasta County's doctors are older than 50, and there aren't nearly enough young doctors lining up to replace their retiring peers.
This weekend, we ran a story that looked at Shasta County's high rates of hysterectomies and back surgeries, an important -- and touchy -- topic in our community given Redding is still recovering from its years-long ordeal following FBI agents investigating allegations of unnecessary heart procedures performed at what was then Redding Medical Center
Dr. Andrew Deckert is the public health officer for Shasta County. In this capacity, he has a state-mandated responsibility to protect the health of Shasta County residents. He works closely with the Shasta County Department of Public Health to provide leadership in public health emergencies and oversees various department divisions.