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A "show-me-the-evidence" health journalist offers tips on covering alternative medicine without dismissing all of it out of hand.

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As Congress goes into recession, the debate over healthcare hits home. But what's really happening on the reform front? Will it meet the needs of the American public? In a 5-hour special series over five days, we'll hear from doctors, hospital administrators, insurance companies, economists and average people about what's driving up healthcare costs, what it will take to make real changes, and what trade-offs people are willing to make to see meaningful reform through.

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Four days after Michael Jackson died of an unexpected heart attack on June 25, Dr. John Dombrowski,an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, posted a letter on his Web site, demanding better pain management for all patients and a recognition that pain care is an important specialty.

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Eleven million Americans have eating disorders. Here are tips on covering this complex disease from a veteran journalist who faced the issue in her own family.

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Robin Lowe went to the Sano Medical Clinic in Costa Mesa one June with what appeared to be an obvious and urgent problem. She had felt a lump in her left breast.

At 29, she was young to develop breast cancer. Making matters worse, she was pregnant.

Dr. James Stirbl, the doctor who ran the clinic, examined Lowe but did not recommend she undergo a mammogram or a biopsy, according to the Medical Board of California.

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Don't you want to help this woman out?

Renata Celona lost both of her parents at a young age, victims of high blood pressure, the second leading preventable cause of death.

She checks her blood pressure at least once a day, avoids salt and tries to squeeze in trips to the gym between working two jobs and raising three kids on her own.

"I tell my kids that I am always going to be there for them," Celona, 47, says. "Even if I can't always pick them up from school, they know I will be tucking them into bed at night."

Picture of Angilee Shah

Kelley Weiss, a health care reporter at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, is one of this year's California Broadcast fellows. For her report, L.A. Takes On Prescription Drug Swaps, she reported on a thriving black market for prescription drugs from abroad and accompanied a team from the multi-department Health Authority Law Enforcement (HALT) Task Force to collect illegal pharmaceuticals.

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Those of us lucky enough to attend New York Medicaid Inspector General Jim Sheehan's talk Saturday at the Association of Health Care Journalists conference in Seattle heard him make reference to Dr. Jayam Krishna-Iyer. I was curious about the back story. Here it is:

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Even the most curious of Dr. Barbara Philipp's patients probably didn't notice that she had a drug problem.

That's because her patients were kids.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine wrote in its disciplinary report that the 55-year-old Boston pediatrician wrote fake prescriptions for family members and friends just to get painkillers and sleeping pills for herself.

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