Skip to main content.

2016 National Fellowship

Program Description: 

Twenty-three journalists joined us for an all-expenses-paid five-day training program at our home base on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, an international city that has been called a "proving ground" for a multicultural society.

The 2016 program was designed for journalists who want to do groundbreaking reporting on vulnerable children and families and the community conditions that contribute to their well-being. Fellows gained insights into the latest research on how a child’s lifetime development is affected by early experiences of trauma, including abuse, neglect, parental stress and community violence. Other workshops and discussions – with distinguished journalists, researchers, clinicians and community case workers -- delved into the impact of poverty on children, including food insecurity, substandard housing and parents’ economic insecurity.

We also explored the connections between health and place, or how neighborhood, work and home environments impact health, well-being and life expectancy. Journalists learned about innovative prevention and clinical programs that suggest ways to address chronic ills.

Fellows also received advice on engagement strategies that can help to maximize the impact of reporting. We challenged them to engage more deeply with the communities their news outlet serves. Each Fellow will receive a  grant of $2,000-$10,000 and six months of mentoring by a senior journalist.

The 2016 National Fellowship was underwritten by generous grants from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment.

Click here for a list of the 2016 National Fellows and links to their reporting projects.



  • Anne Fernald, Ph.D., director of the Center for Infant Studies at Stanford University, on the "word gap" between infants in different socioeconomic groups
  • Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., senior vice president for Healthy Communities for The California Endowment,  on health disparities 
  • Alice Kuo, M.D. professor of pediatrics at UCLA's John Geffen School of Medicine, and Laura Speer, who oversees the annual KidsCount report for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, on child health trends
  • Pat Levitt, Ph.D., provost professor at USC Keck School of Medicine, on how experiences in early childhood lead to structural and biological changes in the brain
  • Field Trip to Children’s Institute to observe evidence­‐based interventions and two-generational approaches to family trauma and violence 
  • A hands-on half-day workshop on data analysis and data visualization led by Paul Overberg, data journalist at the Wall Street Journal, and Ben Jones, director of Tableau Public
  • A session on community engagement featuring Terry Parris Jr., community editor for Pro Publica, and Lindsay Green-Barber, director of strategic research at  Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal
  • A "toxic tour" to a neighborhood polluted by fallout from local industry
  • Bruce Lanphear, M.D., M.P.H., of Simon Fraser University on the threats to children of toxic exposures
  • Glenda Wrenn, M.D., M.P.H.,  director of behavioral health for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Moorehouse School of Medicine, a Johnny Madrid, an advocate for foster youth, on resilience
  • Nancy Cambria, a 2015 National Fellow and reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on challenges in reporting on children living in poverty


As public health officials like to say, "COVID-19 isn't done with us." And journalists know that we're not done with COVID-19. Apply now for five days of stimulating discussions on the pandemic's disproportionate impact on people of color -- plus reporting and engagement grants of $2k-$10k and five months of mentoring while you work on an ambitious project.

Domestic violence affects tens of millions of Americans every year. Yet media outlets mostly treat incidents as "cops" items, if they cover them at all, as opposed to treating domestic violence as a public health problem. Our free two-day symposium will help journalists understand the root causes and promising prevention, intervention and treatment approaches.  Plus participants will be able to apply for grants to report California-focused projects.

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States? The USC Center for Health Journalism seeks an enterprising and experienced journalism leader for our new position of “Manager of Projects.” 



Follow Us



CHJ Icon