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Person Communication

Picture of William Heisel

When I wrote in 2009 about the death of the Medical Board of California’s diversion program, some medical board staffers expressed disbelief that I would say anything nice about a program that had been so controversial.

Picture of Elizabeth Simpson

Racial disparity in baby death rates is not a new subject. It's a complex, insiduous, and, at times, inflammatory, issue. In my corner of the world, there are communities where the baby death rate is nearly three times the national norm.

Picture of Frank Sotomayor

This piece focused on Los Angeles’ ethnic communities: How they are key to increasing organ donations and, on the other side, how they benefit from these life-saving procedures. I wanted to establish a human connection right away — to show how a donated organ can help an individual who is very ill, almost to the point of dying. Through my reporting, I’ve also learned that donation helps the donor family by providing consolation for the loss. As a number of donor families have told me: “My loved one lives on, helping another person to stay alive.” With the help of OneLegacy, the organ donation agency for the L.A. area, I made contact with a donor’s parents and the recipient of a donated kidney that brought him back to health. That gave me my lead. Then, I described how OneLegacy is working to raise awareness about organ donation in the area’s three primary ethnic communities: Latino, Asian and African American. Together, these groups make up more than 60% of the population served by OneLegacy in Southern California. With the help of OPTN media specialists, I determined that these groups also make up about the same proportion of organ donors and organ recipients. The piece was posted on LA Beez, an online collaboration of ethnic media outlets. It was a pleasure to work with editor Jerry Sullivan and website specialist Kevin Chan.

Picture of William Heisel

The final state in Antidote’s Doctors Behaving Badly tour of state medical boards should have been Wyoming.

Picture of William Heisel

Last week, I started listing Antidote’s 10 favorite stories of the past year, in no particular order. Here is the rest of the list.

Dialysis: High Costs and Hidden Perils of a Treatment Guaranteed to All,” Robin Fields, ProPublica, November 2010

Picture of William Heisel

How did William Hamman, the United Airlines pilot who faked being a cardiologist, get away with it? By speaking with authority and knowing that nobody was going to bother to fact-check his résumé, including the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board.

Picture of Roseann Langlois

Reporter's note:

One year ago from yesterday, 11-year-old Chandler Nash Elliott hung himself while his father was at work. We received a press release about the suicide over the fax. Like most news agencies, we do not report on suicides unless they are in a public place or the deceased is a public figure.

I told my colleagues -- and we all agreed -- that this would not make the news unless the family approached us, wanting to tell the boy's story.

The next morning, that's exactly what happened.

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Announcements

“Racism in medicine is a national emergency.” That’s how journalist Nicholas St. Fleur characterized the crisis facing American health care this spring, as his team at STAT embarked on “Color Code,” an eight-episode series exploring medical mistrust in communities of color across the country. In this webinar, we’ll take inspiration from their work to discuss strategies and examples for telling stories about inequities, disparities and racism in health care systems. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team. 

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