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Blogs, twitters and daily print help keep us abreast of breaking news. But there's nothing like an old-fashioned book to get inside a big sweeping tale. In the summer of 2007, when I was a fellow here, I had little more than a vision for a book that explored Big Pharma. Well, I also had some solid sources, a blockbuster drug, and a dramatic plot that spanned some 20 years. The hard part was finding a place to adequately tell the tale.

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Some doctors crave distinction.

They carefully place their many diplomas and certificates on their wall to signal to patients that they are high achievers who can be trusted with surgical instruments and drugs that can cure or kill you, depending on how they are dosed.

Michail Sorodsky craved the distinction of being a doctor. Instead, he now has the distinction of being thrown into jail with a massive bail: $33 million.

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When the Journal of Reproductive Medicine published a study that purported to prove that intercessory prayer can heal people, there were many reasons to be doubtful, regardless of one's religious beliefs.

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Dr. Bruce Flamm, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California at Irvine, has been waging a lonely war for nearly a decade. He took the unusual step of accusing fellow scientific researchers of fakery. In 2001, the Journal of Reproductive Medicine published a paper titled, "Does prayer influence the success of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer?

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Career archivist Kim Klausner takes her roles as a historian and as a public health advocate equally seriously. As the Industry Documents Digital Libraries Manager for the University of California-San Francisco, she is in charge of the Drug Industry Documents Archive, a collection of thousands of records that shine a light on practices by Wyeth, Pfizer, Abbott and other Big Pharma companies.

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Not exactly about health issues but it is about the racial disparity in another field. It was shelved for about two months by the editor before it got published. So some information seems a bit outdated. But the basic idea is still there.

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Dr. Cleveland Enmon, the Stockton physician accused of stealing a retired police officer's watch as the officer was dying, may have learned by example.

Enmon went through his residency at the most infamous hospital on the West Coast: Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles. While there, he worked in the emergency room alongside Dr. Ahmed Rashed.

Picture of Stan Dorn

Before describing a few stories that have not received much play in the media, I'd like to mention a few publications by my Urban Institute colleagues that provide useful state and local information. One report shows, by Congressional district, the proportion of residents with various types of health coverage (uninsured, privately insured, or covered by Medicaid or other public programs).

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The National Health Journalism seminar begins on Sunday, when 15 National Health Journalism fellowship recipients (and five Dennis A.

Picture of Laura Starecheski

Recently, at a meeting of social workers serving African immigrants, I brought up the issue of mental health. “We don’t have a problem with mental illness in the African community,” a caseworker told me, citing the resilience of a population largely familiar with extreme poverty, human rights abuses, and instability.

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