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2016 California Fellowship

Program Description: 

Dates: March 6-10, 2016

Taught by prize-winning journalists, community health leaders, policy analysts and health care experts, the 2016 California Health Journalism Fellowship focused on two broad themes:

  • How neighborhood life, social inequities, race, education and the environment influence health, and
  • The promise of healthcare reform and health system innovation

The Fellowship included a $1,000 reporting stipend to participating journalists to defray costs associated with ambitious reporting projects.

During five days of field trips, workshops and seminars, fellows learned about new data sources, hear about effective community engagement strategies and gain new perspectives on pressing health issues. During the Fellowship week, Fellows got plenty of time to discuss with experts, and with each other, strategies for covering health news with authority and sophistication. We also flew in editors for an in-depth project conference. Fellows returned home with great sources and new ideas for how to tell complex health stories. Fellows also receive six months of one-on-one mentoring with veteran journalists who guide them through work on major Fellowship projects.

Click here for a list of the 2016 California Fellows and links to their profiles, projects and essays about how they got the story.


Health Care or Health Equity: Which Contributes More to Good Health? A keynote address by Dr. Tony Iton, vice president of Health Communities for The California Endowment and former Alameda County public health officer

Underserved Populations: A Vision for California Health and Healthcare, with Richard Figueroa, who spearheaded The California Endowment’s outreach effort to spur Covered California and MediCal sign-ups, and Michael HochmanM.D., director of the Gehr Family Center for Implementation Science at USC and former medical director for innovation at AltaMed clinics 

Telling Patient Stories and Bringing Policy Home, featuring two former fellows, Laura Ungar, a health reporter for USA Today, Louisville Courier Journal and Gannett, and Tracy Seipel, health reporter for the Mercury News

The Safety Net Clinic and Serving the Underserved: A field trip to the Edward R. Roybal Comprehensive Health Center, a Los Angeles County clinic that serves both insured and uninsured residents

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment in California: Fragmentation and Opportunities for Innovation, featuring Sarah Arnquist, a former Fellow who is Northern California state director for Beacon Health Options, a major provider of contracted mental health services

Frequent Flyers, Troubled Teens and Mental Health Challenges in California, featuring two journalists who have done extraordinary reporting on mental health and illness: former Fellow Jocelyn Wiener, freelance health reporter, and John Gonzales, former senior reporter for the CHCF Center for Health Care Reporting 

The Crisis Within: Reporting on the Effects of Toxic Stress on Children, with Nancy Cambria, a 2015 National Fellow and reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who recently reported on the toxic stress that children in Ferguson, Missouri, experience daily

Health, Housing, and Mental Health: Innovations in Care: A half-day field trip to Los Angeles' Skid Row neighborhood, where Fellows will tour the an apartment complex where many formerly homeless mentally ill people live in supportive housing and hear from experts about the services needed to help mentally ill people live more productive lives 

Health Datapalooza, featuring Meghan Hoyer, a data journalist with The Associated Press, who will provide tips about where to access useful health datasets 

Telling Your Story with Data Visualization,” a workshop led by Cheryl Phillips, Hearst Professional in Residence in the Stanford University Department of Communication 

Engaging Audiences to Assure Journalism with Impact, with Cole Goins of the Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal 

How to Tell Health Stories with Content and Balance, a workshop led by Robert Davis, an author and former CNN health journalist.




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