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The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health Journalism Fund

Date and Time: 
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Program Description: 

This year marks the inaugural offering of the The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health Journalism Fund, a collaboration between the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, The California Endowment, and the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Two journalists will be competitively selected as Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health Fellows and will spend five days in Los Angeles as part of the National Health Journalism Fellowship, an intensive professional education program that usually admits about 20 journalists. Our Fellowship seminars and field trips are led by prize-winning journalists and health care experts. Fellows also learn from each other, forming professional and personal relationships that provide them with ongoing support and ideas long after the program is over. The training – including a project brainstorming workshop with Fellows’ editors – is offered at no expense to program participants. In addition, each Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health Fellow will benefit from a year of mentoring from a seasoned senior journalist who is experienced in reporting on children’s health.

To encourage journalists and their newsrooms to aim high in reporting on health at a time of scarce resources, the Fellowship offers a reporting grant of between $2,000 and $5,000 to support what is expected to be an ambitious explanatory or investigative reporting project on children’s health. The grant amount will be based on a budget submitted with the proposal and must be commensurate with the scope of the project. One third of the grant will be paid at the onset of the project and two thirds upon its completion.

Fellows’ work must be published or broadcast by July 26, 2013.

How to Apply

Applicants for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health Journalism Fund should complete the application for our National Health Journalism Fellowship. If selected, they will also participate in that program. Applicants for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health Journalism Fund should plan to focus their project proposals on children's health and health care policy in California.  

Applicants must propose an ambitious journalism project that exposes or illuminates critical health or health policy issues that affect California's children. Proposals can focus on circumstances and conditions that impact child health, including special health care needs; the unique challenges confronting chronically ill children and their families; barriers to access to health care; the effects on health of environment, social class, and family circumstances; disparities in health and health care; and public policies at the federal, state, and local levels.  Topics that are NOT eligible include clinical trials, medical research, the latest treatments for a disease, or a health problem that affects only a population outside of the United States (e.g. malaria).

Click here for details on the National Health Journalism Fellowship application process.

Who Can Apply: 
The all-expenses-paid Fellowship welcomes applications from professional journalists, including freelancers, for print, broadcast, and online media. Applicants must submit a signed commitment to publish/broadcast from a California news outlet or a news outlet that publishes a California edition (e.g. the New York Times). Applicants need not be fulltime health reporters, but they need to have a passion for children’s health news and receive the bulk of their income from journalism. Applicants must be based in the United States. Fulltime students are ineligible. Contact us at if you have questions about your eligibility.

The agenda for the 2012 Fellowship is still being developed, but will focus on topics related to “health and place,” or how neighborhood and work 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 conference home base, 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.

Reporters and editors also will gain insights into how to cover health care reform at a time when dramatic change seems inevitable. This spring, the political calculus in presidential campaigns and state policy circles will be altered irrevocably by an expected decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of President Obama's national health reform plan.

During field trips and seminars, fellows will hear from respected investigative journalists and leaders in community health, healthy policy, and medicine. They will 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 will also explore ways to document -- through data, interactive maps, and innovative storytelling techniques -- the health inequities in their local communities.  Hands-on workshops will provide fellows with new sources, practical reporting tips, and multimedia strategies to reach a broader digital audience. 

For more information, contact Martha Shirk at


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