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Meet the Fellows

Meet the Fellows

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The National Health Journalism seminar begins on Sunday, when 15 National Health Journalism fellowship recipients (and five Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism grantees) will come together to spend six intense, inspiring days together, diving deeper into health reporting and discussing their unique projects for which they are given $2000 reporting stipends by the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.

You can join their conversations right here. The Fellowships Blog will be live-blogging their seminars, which will feature health policy and community health experts and activists and some of the most seasoned health journalists around. Here is a sneak preview of the some of the fellows' projects. Give them feedback as they progress by commenting as a member of Reporting on Health.

Mariana Alvarado and Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star

This metro and medical reporting team will be investigating the link between childhood obesity and socio-economic standing. "We have a particular interest in how obesity affects our area's Hispanic and Native American populations, which are plagued by childhood obesity and diabetes, and by adult-onset kidney failure stemming from chronic diabetes," Alvarado writes. It is a problem that has national importance. Innes writes, "Our food supply, education system and public health policies all play a role in a problem that is growing both locally and nationally."

Shawn Doherty, The Capital Times

Doherty is working on an ambitious series about health disparities in Wisconsin. She will take on three ambitious investigations, exploring surprisingly high infant mortality rates, a grassroots anti-smoking campaign, and the lack of health care provided to dairy workers. "I will use state statistics and records, interviews with academics, researchers, officials and health care workers, and most important lots of on-the-ground reporting on the people and communities affected by these disparities to put together these stories," Doherty writes.

Andy Hall, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Hall is the founder of the Center for Investigative Journalism and will be pursuing his own investigation into Wisconson's extreme health disparities. "Despite more than a decade of efforts, serious gaps remain in the health care received by many of Wisconsin's most vulnerable populations -- including racial and ethnic minorities, low-income residents, women, children, older adults, residents of rural areas and people with special health needs or disabilities," he writes. "I plan to use data, public records and interviews with a wide variety of sources to investigate which disparities have been reduced, which have remained unchanged and which have deteriorated over the past decade."

Peter Korn, The Portland Tribune

Korn is investigating a little-known and largely ignored Oregon law concerning written patient notification of "serious adverse events" in hospitals. "Patient notification brings into focus many of the conflicts that keep our health care system from operating efficiently. Does a doctor trust a patient enough to tell him or her the truth? Does a patient believe a doctor will do so?" Korn asks.

William Scanlon, KBDI Denver

Scanlon is reporting on a program in Grand Junction, Colorado, that provides something that seems so elusive in today's health insurance market: low cost, high quality and near universal health care. He will explore whether this doctor-collaborative approach could be a model for other cities, "at least until something significant is done at the federal level."

Laura Starecheski, Independent Radio Producer

Starecheski is producing a program to air on NPR's Latino USA that explores mental illness, including the stigma and fear surrounding it, among Afrian immigrants in New York City. "The goal of this project as a whole," writes Starecheski, "is most simply to shed some light on the unique barriers that African immigrants face in terms of seeking out mental health care, and to offer one way to open up a conversation within African communities on an issue that is controversial and rarely acknowledged."

Viji Sundaram, New America Media

Sundaram has written for magazines in the United States and India. Her fellowship project will be to investigate how cultural practices can transcend borders as well as how enterprising businesses are building a market around these mores. She plans to focus on the growing number of fertility clinics that cater to many Asian cultures' preference for a son. "In India, a girl child is viewed as a net loss to the family, mostly because when she is given away in marriage, she is expected to bring with her a dowry, a practice that still persists despite the fact that it was banned in that country many years ago," writes Sundaram. "Sadly, scores of expatriates carry their cultural baggage into the United States when they migrate here."

Chandra Thomas, Freelance

We are almost five years out from Hurricane Katrina but many victims of the country's largest national disaster continue to struggle. Thomas, a New Orleans native, will investigate how children are faring as this important anniversary approaches. "My audience is essentially anyone who cares about children, education, health, crime and public policy, particularly as it relates to Hurricane Katrina," she writes.

The other fellows attending the seminar are:

May Yee Chen, Star Tribune

Eduardo de Oliveira, New England Ethnic Newswire

Manoj Jain, Freelance Medical Reporter

Julio Ortiz, KMEX Univision 34 Los Angeles

Megha Satyanarayana, Detroit Free Press

Sarah Kramer, WNYC

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