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2017 California Fellowship

Program Description: 

Taught by prize-winning journalists, community health leaders, policy analysts and health care experts, the 2017 California Fellowship focused on two broad themes:

  • How neighborhood life, social inequities, race, education and the environment influence health, and
  • Changes in the healthcare landscape. We will focus attention on the enormous implications for California of the effort by President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans and  to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

The Fellowship included a $1,000 reporting stipend to participating journalists to defray costs associated with ambitious reporting projects. In addition, five California Fellows were chosen to receive an additional grant of $1,000 to $2,000 for community engagement, plus specialized mentoring. [Click here to learn more about our community engagement initiative.]

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 also got plenty of time to discuss with experts, and with each other, strategies for covering health news with authority and sophistication. We also brought in editors, at our expense, for an in-depth project conference. Fellows returned home with great sources and new ideas for how to tell complex health stories. Fellows also are receiving six months of one-on-one mentoring with veteran journalists who guide them through work on major Fellowship projects.

Click here for a link to a list of the 2017 California Fellows and links to their  projects and blog posts:



“From Food Stamps to the Opioid Epidemic: An Intimate Approach to Covering Health,” the keynote address by Eli Saslow, reporter for the Washington Post

“Health Disparities: The Root Causes of Sickness and Health,” a talk by Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., senior vice president of Healthy Communities at The California Endowment

“A Brief History of Obamacare,” a panel discussion featuring  Michael Cousineau, D.P.H., professor of clinical preventive medicine at Keck School of Medicine at USC; Laurel Lucia, manager of the healthcare program at UC Berkeley Labor Center; and Michael Lujan co-founder and chief sales officer at Limelight Health

“A Vision for the Future: Republican Plans for Repeal and Replace,” a talk by Lanhee Chen, Ph.D., David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

“The Dismantling of Obamacare: Reporting on Health Care in a Time of Uncertainty,” a talk by  Noam Levey, health reporter, Los Angeles Times

“Preparing for Trumpcare: Scenarios for a Radically Different Healthcare Model,” a conversation with Peter Long, Ph.D., president and CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation, and Frank Meza, M.D., a consultant to AltaMed Health Services        

"Challenges to a Fragile Safety Net," a panel discussion featuring  Kimberly Dixon, M.D.,  a pediatrician with Clinica Sierra Vista in Baksersfield, and Pia V. Escudero, L.C.S.W., director of School Mental Health Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services at the Los Angeles Unified School District

“Telling Health Stories with Context and Balance,” a workshop led by Robert J. Davis,  Ph.D., M.P.H., president and editor-in-chief, Everwell

“Health Reporting Datapalooza,” a workshop led by Meghan Hoyer, data journalist, The Associated Press

“Data Reporting: Chronicling the Opioid Epidemic in California Communities,” a workshop led by 2016 California Fellow Leo Castaneda, a reporter at inewsource

“Reframing the Conversation: a Workshop on Engaged Journalism,” led by Cole Goins, Reporting/Reveal, and Jesse Hardman,  freelance radio reporter and founder of WWNO’s  “Listening Post”

A tour of the ER at LAC+USC Medical Center followed by a discussion about possible impacts of Trump’s healthcare agenda on a county ER, featuring Edward Newton, M.D. professor of emergency medicine at Keck School of Medicine of USC, and Carl Richard Chudnofsky, M.D., chair and professor of emergency medicine at Keck











This month marks the sober anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd, which ignited global protests and renewed efforts to reform or dismantle policing. In our next webinar, we’ll examine the price society pays for a criminal-legal system that disproportionately arrests, punishes and kills Black people. And we’ll look at how reporters can best cover this evolving story in original and powerful ways. Sign-up here!

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.

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.” 



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