Skip to main content.

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.

Picture of William Heisel

Mark Katches is the deputy managing editor for projects at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He leads a team of reporters who have been watch-dogging the use of chemicals in food containers and other products for the past two years.

Picture of William Heisel

When does it make sense to tamper with a time-released medication? If the drug is a controlled substance, like the painkiller OxyContin, the answer is: never.

Doing so damages the time-released properties of the drug and can lead to a massive dose all at once. This is what makes OxyContin such a great high for people who crush it, and such a long, painful addiction for them, too.

Picture of William Heisel

It's a common complaint among police officers. In the wake of television shows like CSI, the public expects too much. They think that cops can lift a 30-year-old fingerprint off a Pabst Blue Ribbon bottle found at the bottom of a lake just by running it through the portable 30-PBR-H2O scanner the CSI team members carry in their Thermoses.

That type of technology just doesn't exist, police are fond of saying. And even some of the high-tech stuff that does exist is only accessible by the elite officers of the major metropolitan departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Picture of William Heisel

The Center for Healthcare Decisions has given itself a tough task. Its staff tries to bring together people from different economic brackets and get them to talk in very specific terms about all facets of health care.

Picture of William Heisel

Matthew William Wasserman of Katy, Texas, found a unique way to treat a female patient's back: "a sensory examination of the genital area."

That was according to the Texas Medical Board.

Now, Wasserman had only been out of medical residency for three years when this happened, and he did not have a lot of women in his graduating class at Baylor Medical College. Still, one has to assume that most doctors know the basics of anatomy, male or female.

Picture of William Heisel

Anyone who has driven the highways around Los Angeles has seen the giant billboards with a chubby man stuffing a giant piece of cake in his mouth next to the words "Dieting Sucks." It's a promo for a plastic surgery practice that promises to use Lap-band surgery to cure overweight patients.

Picture of William Heisel

Anyone who has helped a friend or family member undergo cancer treatment knows the fear and frustration that can consume a patient's life. There are new, experimental treatments being touted every year, many of them only available outside of the United States.

Picture of William Heisel

Journalist. Santa Monica City Councilman. Music Producer. Entrepreneur. Bobby Shriver has worn a lot of hats, some of them simultaneously. Now, while working as a councilman, he runs (RED), a company he created with Bono to fund the purchase and distribution of medications to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa. I reached him at his office in Santa Monica.

Here is a recap of our conversation. It has been edited for space and clarity.

Picture of William Heisel

The Record in Hackensack, New Jersey, awoke to its worst nightmare recently when one of its biggest advertisers pulled all of its ads.

The reason?

Picture of William Heisel

Father William Cleary helped set up a Catholic parish in Satellite Town, one of the growing suburbs of Lagos, Nigeria, in 1987. The 73-year-old served there until July 2008 and saw the country undergo massive societal, cultural and political changes while struggling to overcome stubborn public health threats from poor sanitation, a malarial climate and a reluctance to face head-on the threat of AIDS.

Pages

Announcements

The pandemic is far from over but crucial COVID-19 protections and benefits are gone. In our next webinar, we'll explore the end of renter protections, unemployment benefits and other emergency relief, and what it means for the nation’s pandemic recovery and the health and well-being of low-income people and their communities. Glean story ideas and crucial context. Sign-up here!

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States?  Apply now for one of our positions. 

CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY

Follow Us

Facebook


Twitter

CHJ Icon
ReportingHealth