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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

William Heisel, former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, writes about investigative health reporting. He is currently the director of global engagement at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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Last week, the Health Officers Assoc. of California announced it will launch a continuing medical education program for valley fever. It shouldn't have required widespread press and the new U.S. House majority leader to get to this point.

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A new collaboration among media outlets is building a new database of health care prices by asking people to share how much they paid for common procedures. The results could shed light on how much services typically cost, and eventually help bring costs down.

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Research shows that involving parents more deeply in their kid's care has lasting benefits for both child and parent. In one study, mothers in the treatment group had less depression and PTSD symptoms, while kids had far fewer behavioral problems one year later.

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In the not-so-distant past, parents weren't always allowed to accompany their children throughout the hospital, creating added anxiety for both. Advances in child psychology helped changed that, and now parents routinely follow their kids every step of the way.

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The CDC has used cutting-edge DNA tests to place valley fever firmly in Washington state. That means the fungus is likely to show up in other western states. A more complete map of valley fever’s true range should soon emerge as the testing effort expands.

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The CDC has tracked valley fever northward to Washington state. The alarming new finding required the use of sophisticated new testing techniques that carefully separated fungal DNA from the soil. Here's how it happened.

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Advocates for healthier eating often take inspiration from the struggle to regulate tobacco. But food is a much more complicated challenge for health policy strategists. Ideas floated at the recent EAT Stockholm Food Forum ranged from fax taxes to guerrilla gardening.

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A masterful five-part series from the Charlotte Observer finds North Carolina's medical examiner system is rife with inaccurate death rulings, allowing killers to go free and leaving dangers unadressed. The series offers three key lessons for fellow reporters.

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A California bill designed to curtail prescription drug abuse has stalled in the California legislature. The mismatch between big ideas on the legislative side and fiscal realities on the administrative side should be an alert for patient safety advocates.

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Hospitals may not always see complaints as signs of support. But when a hospital has problems, it can only get better if the community within and around it helps it get better. None of that can happen when the community is kept in the dark.

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