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Maryn McKenna has lived inside the "hot zone" for much of her reporting career. She honed her craft at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she was much admired for her coverage of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It takes skill to persuade any large government agency to give up some of its secrets, but McKenna did just that and turned them into fascinating stories. She has since taken the enviable career path of writing books.

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People go to the doctor to get better, but sometimes patients get new infections when they step inside a hospital. One hospital is trying to improve health by design.

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Scott Broussard is a battalion chief with the Costa Mesa Fire Department. He’s used to knocking down doors when there is an emergency and trying to stay steady in the midst of chaos. Kathy Broussard is a pediatric intensive care nurse who has seen children die and children saved from the brink of death. She is now focused on raising her two children.

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One of my first investigative stories as a reporter started with a call from a doctor who was worried about the sterilization practices at his hospital.

I started calling people at the hospital to try to answer some basic questions about what they were doing to make sure that surgical equipment was clean between procedures. “Why don’t I just come down and take a look at your process?” I suggested.

And that’s how I saw the sterilization logs.

Picture of Norma De la Vega

I am a journalist with twenty five years of experience. I have worked as reporter in United States and Mexico. During the last ten years I worked for a weekly newspaper Enlace, which is part of the San Diego Union-Tribune. During that time, I covered two very important issues for Latinos: Education and Health.

While covering Education, I met Maria Chavez, former Executive Director for the San Diego County Office of Education, Migrant Education Program, a federal program focusing in the education of farmer-workers and their children, in San Diego and Orange Counties.

Picture of Norma De la Vega

SAN MARCOS, CA.- A María Chávez su gordura le molestó por años. Pero fue hasta que el sobrepeso trajo a su vida dolor y pérdidas que se decidió a combatirlo.

Chávez, 48 años, es directora de Educación Migrante en el condado de San Diego y Orange. Un programa de apoyo educativo dirigido a los hijos de campesinos y sus padres.

Chávez pesaba 184 libras hace año y medio cuando empezó una nueva forma de vida. Ya perdió 26 libras y quiere eliminar dos más para llegar al peso recomendado por el médico.

Pero no es todo.

Picture of Norma De la Vega

Soy una reportera con 25 años de experiencia y he trabajado como periodista en Estados Unidos y México. Durante los últimos diez años estuve asignada, por el semanario en Español Enlace - es parte del diario San Diego Union-Tribune-, para cubrir dos temas cruciales para los Latinos: educación y salud.

Así conocí a María Chávez, quien era, hasta hace poco, directora del Programa de Educación Migrante en los condados de San Diego y Orange. Un programa federal que ayuda a los campesinos y a sus hijos en los asuntos escolares.

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Each month, the San Francisco public radio station KQED airs an hour-long program called Health Dialogues that delves deeply into such topics as food safety, asthma, swine flu and environmental health.

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The pandemic has thrown into brutal relief the extent to which the U.S. health care system produces worse outcomes for patients of color. And yet there has been scant focus on one of the biggest drivers of structural racism in health care: How doctors and hospitals are paid. In this webinar, we’ll highlight the ways in which the health care system’s focus on money and good grades is shortchanging the health of communities of color. Sign-up here!

U.S. children and teens have struggled with increasing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior for much of the past decade. Join us as we explore the systemic causes and policy failures that have accelerated the crisis and its inequitable impact, as well as promising community-driven approaches and evidence-based practices. The webinar will provide fresh ideas for reporting on the mental health of youth and investigating the systems and services. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors and a social media consultant to join its team. Learn more about the positions and apply.

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