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2015 National Health Journalism Fellowship, Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being

Date and Time: 
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Program Description: 

Dates:  July 12-16, 2015

Place:  USC campus

Why Apply?

The National Health Journalism Fellowship offers journalists an opportunity to explore the intersection between community health, health policy, and the nation's growing diversity. Reporting projects are supported with a $2,000 grant to each Fellowship recipient. The program pays all travel and hotel costs. The Fellowship will meet in Los Angeles from July 12-16, 2015. 

This program will be especially valuable for journalists interested in topics related to “health and place,” or how neighborhood, work and home environments impact health and life expectancy. As part of that exploration, our Fellows will see firsthand how race, ethnicity and class influence health with trips out in the field from our institute's home base in Los Angeles, an international city that has been called a "proving ground" for a multicultural society. California has the largest numbers of Asian and Latino residents in the nation, and many of the health challenges and opportunities that accompany changing demographics have been debated and legislated here.

During field trips and seminars, fellows hear from respected investigative journalists and leaders in community health, health policy, and medicine. They go home with a deeper understanding of current public health and health policy initiatives and gain insight into the larger picture of colliding interests and political battles over health policy. Participants also explore ways to document — through data and innovative storytelling techniques — the health inequities in their local communities. Hands-on workshops provide fellows with new sources, practical reporting tips and multimedia strategies to reach a broader digital audience. And they will gain journalistic skills, expert sources  and informed perspective on the circumstances that shape the health of residents of their communities, as well as the impact of health care reform and innovation.  

In conjunction with the National Fellowship, we also administer two specialty reporting funds:

  • The Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, is a competitive grants program that underwrites substantive reporting on  health issues in underserved communities. Each Hunt grantee participates in the National Fellowship and receives a $2,500 to $10,000 grant, instead of the National Fellowship stipend, to support reporting on a community health topic.
  • The new Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being supports substantive reporting on vulnerable children and families. Each grantee participates in the National Fellowship and receives a $2,500 to $10,000 grant, instead of the National Fellowship stipend, to support investigative or explanatory reporting on the impact of poverty and childhood trauma. Reporters may also choose to examine the performance of the institutions and government and private programs that serve these families. We’re interested in proposals for projects that look at child welfare and child health and well-being, including, but not limited to, the impact of toxic stress; the intersection between partner violence and child abuse; the role of policy in improving prospects for children, including those in juvenile detention; and innovative approaches to the challenges that children in underserved communities face.

Click here for details about how to apply to the 2015 National Fellowship and for a Hunt or Child Well-Being grant.

Watch this video to hear from some of our 2014 California Fellows about what they gained from the experience:

Who Can Apply: 
This Fellowship is open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media throughout the United States, including freelancers. Applicants do not need to be full-time health reporters, but should have a demonstrated interest in health issues, broadly defined to include the health of communities (see more below). 

We are looking for journalists who think big and want to produce journalism that has an impact. We prefer that applicants have a minimum of three years of professional experience; many have decades. Freelancers should earn the majority of their income from journalism. Applications from ethnic media journalists are strongly encouraged. Applicants proposing collaborative projects between mainstream and ethnic news outlets are given preference, as are applicants who have arranged for co-publication or co-broadcast in both mainstream and ethnic news outlets. Applicants must be based in the United States. Students are ineligible. Please contact us at CAHealth@usc.edu if you have questions about your eligibility.

Click here for a list of the 2014 National Health Journalism Fellows, including Dennis A. Hunt Health Journalism Fund grantees. Click here to read a summary of the projects.   

Click here to see a list of 2013 National Health Journalism Fellows, including Dennis A. Hunt Health Journalism Fund grantees.

Click here to learn more about our 2012 National Health Journalism Fellows. 

Highlights: 
The agenda for the 2015 National Fellowship is still being developed.

Among the highlights of the 2014 National Fellowship week:

  • Elisabeth Rosenthal, a physician and reporter for the New York Times whose yearlong series, “Paying Till It Hurts,” has helped Americans understand why their health care costs so much, gave the keynote talk. Read an account of her talk here.
  •  Jay Olshansky,  Ph.D., a professor in the School of Public Health of the University of Illinois in Chicago, discussed the influence of poverty, education and race on health and longevity. 
  • Dr. Anish Mahajan, director of System Planning, Improvement, and Data Analytics for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, provided an overview of health care reform’s successes and challenges and provide some insights into its next hurdles: lower costs and improved outcomes.
  • The principal investigators for a federally funded innovation pilot project discussed their model for providing better care to patients with chronic health problems. Dr. Michael Hochman, innovation director for AltaMed, and Steven W. Chen, Pharm.D., chair of Titus Family Department at USC School of Pharmacy, talked about how expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists helps diabetics avoid complications. In addition, Matt Zavadsky, director of public affairs for Medstar Mobile Health Care, spoke about a program in Fort Worth that provides home visits by paramedics and nurses to frequent utilizers of emergency rooms in Fort Worth.  Read about their presentations here.
  • A panel of health journalists provided tips about covering health care reform now that the enrollment challenges have been overcome and it’s up and running: Noam Levey, Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and 2013 National Health Journalism Fellows Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico and Eric Whitney of NPR and Kaiser Health News.
  • A daylong field trip  took Fellows to the headquarters of the Children’s Institute, one of Los Angeles’ foremost family-serving organizations, to explore the longterm health consequences of trauma in childhood and new approaches to both prevention and treatment.  There, Fellows heard from Pat Levitt, Ph.D.,  director of the Program in Developmental Neurogenetics at the Institute for the Developing Mind, about how toxic stress impacts the chemistry and architecture of the developing brain.  They also heard from Children’s Institute clinicians who help parents learn appropriate parenting techniques and help children overcome the effects of abuse, neglect and community violence.  In addition, adult and youth clients discussed the life experiences that led them to the institute. Click here to read a blog post about how organizations such as Children's Institute and New Village Academy help traumatized youth heal and overcome their challenges. Beatrice Motamedi, a past Health Journalism Fellow, led a discussion about how journalists can report sensitively on the experiences of traumatized youth.
  • Martin Reynolds, senior editor of community engagement for the Bay Area News Group, discussed new ways for journalists to engage with their audiences to maximize the impact of their reporting.
  • Kate Long, a former Health Journalism Fellow and freelance writer and writing coach for the Charleston Gazette, led a workshop on community engagement techniques honed during her yearlong Fellowship project on West Virginia’s obesity epidemic, which sparked statewide policy changes and numerous community and school district initiatives. 

Announcements

Do you have a great idea for a potentially impactful reporting project on a health challenge in California?  Our 2020 Impact Fund can provide financial support and six months of mentoring.

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