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National Health Journalism Fellowship

Date and Time: 
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Program Description: 

The National Health Journalism Fellowships are offered over a six-day period, beginning with an evening keynote address on Sunday night and ending with a midday wrap-up session the following Friday. Partipants are expected to attend all sessions.

To encourage journalists and their newsrooms to aim high in reporting on health at a time of scarce resources, we offer a $2,000 reporting grant to fellows in this track upon completion of what are expected to be ambitious, major fellowship projects. To stimulate collaboration between mainstream and ethnic media, we encourage applicants to propose a joint project for use by both media outlets. Up to two collaborators for each project may receive a grant.

The National Health Journalism Fellowships offer journalists from around the country 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.

At a time when one-third of the 300 million residents in the United States are ethnic minorities, this program explores the cultural dynamics at play in the debate over health policy. Based in Los Angeles, an international city that has been called a "proving ground" for a multicultural society, program participants learn about health trends, policy innovations, and political conflicts involving health and health care. California has the largest numbers of Asians and Latinos in the nation, and many of the health challenges and opportunities that accompany changing demographics have been debated and legislated here for decades.

During field trips and seminars, fellows hear from prize-winning journalists and leaders in community health, health policy, and medicine. They go home with a deeper understanding of current health care reform 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, online maps, and stories -- the health inequities in their local communities. Hands-on workshops also provide felllows with new sources, practical reporting tips, and multimedia strategies to reach a broader digital audience.


2011 Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism Grantees

Bill  Graves  has worked 32 years as a daily newspaper journalist, the last 21 at The Oregonian, where he covers health and higher education. Mr. Graves will receive a grant of $5,500 to document how Native Americans are failing to get the health care they need in Oregon and try to identify the reasons for this disparity. He will create a "virtual longhouse" on the Web where Native Americans can discuss the problem and offer solutions.

Sarah Kliff recently joined the Washington Post to write about health care policy and politics. Prior to joining the Post, she covered state implementation of the federal health reform law for Politico and also co-authored Politico Pulse, a daily health policy tip sheet.  Ms. Kliff will receive $3,000 for a project that will examine the health reform law's unprecedented investment in preventing chronic diseases.

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein is the database and investigative editor at Hoy, the second largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States.  Mr. Kelly Lowenstein will receive a grant of $3,000 to produce three stories about community health challenges facing predominantly Latino communities in Chicago and the Midwest. 

Kate Long has been a contract writing coach and reporter for the Charleston Gazette for 26 years and an independent producer and reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting for 15 years. Ms. Long will receive a grant of $7,000 to produce a multimedia project for both the Gazette and West Virginia Public Radio that will explore West Virginia's rising tide of chronic disease and obesity.

Janet Wilson is a freelance writer based in Orange County. She received a Dennis A. Hunt grant in 2009 to write about environmental health issues in Maywood, California.  She will receive a supplemental grant of $2,000 to underwrite additional reporting on Maywood for publication by California Watch, an investigative news site.

Bernice Yeung is a San Francisco-based freelance writer, editor, and producer. Ms. Yeung will receive a grant of $5,000 to produce a multimedia project for California Watch, an investigative news site, on the health problems in California's disadvantaged unincorporated communities. The package of stories will be offered to California news outlets in both English and Spanish.

2011-12 National Health Journalism Fellows

Elizabeth Baier is a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio, where she reports on a wide range of topics, from rural and agricultural issues to education and immigration. Project: An exploration of how food issues interact with the interior lives of rural immigrants who now call the upper Midwest home.

Martha Bebinger reports on health care for WBUR in Boston.  Project: How the effort to curb health care spending, especially the shift to global payments, will affect patients in Massachusetts.

Kathryn Canavan is a freelance reporter in Wilmington, Del. Project: She will show how a lethal combination of poverty and gunplay are harming family life in Wilmington's African-American neighborhoods (to be published by, and

Betsy Cliff is a health reporter at The Bulletin, a daily newspaper in Bend, Oregon. Project: An investigation into the causes and incidence of medical errors, particularly at rural hospitals.

Sheree Crute is an award-winning writer and editor who covers a broad range of health topics and specializes in consumer and multicultural health. Project: An exploration into whether the latest potentially life-saving discoveries from the world of medical research will have any lasting impact on the nation's health disparities (to be published in both Heart & Soul and

Philip Graitcer, D.M.D., M.P.H., has been a fulltime independent radio producer for five years, following an 18-year career at the Centers for Disease Control. Project:  A three-part radio series for WABE about Grady Hospital, Atlanta's public hospital.

Vicky Hallett edits Fit, the health and fitness section of Express, the Washington Post's free tabloid, and also writes a bi-weekly fitness column for The Washington Post. Project: A look at how exercise deserts in certain neighborhoods keep people inactive, just as food deserts make it hard for those same people to eat a healthy diet.

Pamela K. Johnson is editorial development director at ABILITY Magazine, a bimonthly magazine that focuses on health, disability, and human potential. Project: Profiles of food activists who are planting seeds of change around the country, from the garden to the supermarket.

Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil is a freelance reporter for Boston's Bay State Banner, the largest African American-owned newspaper in New England. Project: The challenges to healthy eating for low-income African Americans in Boston.

Ryan McNeill is computer-assisted reporting editor at The Dallas Morning News. Project: Patient safety issues in hospitals.

Shannon Muchmore is the health reporter for the Tulsa World. Project: The lack of health care accessibility in Oklahoma.

Magaly Olivero has been writing about health and wellness for decades as a freelance writer, magazine editor, and newspaper reporter. Project: The underlying issues behind the teen birth rate among Latinos in Connecticut, for C-HIT, an investigative health news website, and La Voz Hispana, Connecticut's largest Spanish-language newspaper and website.

Marga Parés Arroyo has been a reporter for El Nuevo Día, the largest circulation newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, since 1994. Project: A look at how well Mi Salud, Puerto Rico's health care program for the poor, is meeting the needs of its 1.4 million enrollees.

Travis Pillow covers state government for the Florida Independent, a nonprofit news and public affairs site. Project: A comparison of the efficiency and effectiveness of public and private hospitals.


Who Can Apply: 

This Fellowship is open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media around the country, including freelancers. Applicants need not be fulltime health reporters, but they need to have a passion for health news (broadly defined). Applications from ethnic media journalists are strongly encouraged, as are applications proposing collaborative projects between mainstream and ethnic news outlets. Applicants must be based in the United States. Journalism students are ineligible. Please contact us at if you have questions about your eligibility.


Here are some highlights for the 2011 program:

  • The End to Overeating: a keynote address by David A. Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, about how food companies' exploitation of biological imperatives is making Americans fatter 
  • How Place and Race Impact Health: A talk by Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and executive director of PolicyLink, an Oakland-based nonprofit that works to advance social and economic justice
  • Planning, Blight, Urban Design and Health: a talk by Robert Ogilvie, program director for  Public Health Law & Policy's  Planning for Healthy Places initiative
  • Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters A how-to talk by Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman, former Health Journalism Fellows and Bay Area News Group reporters who won a White House Correspondents’ Prize for their project, which described how social, educational,economic, geographic factors, as well as race and ethnicity, contribute to prospects for health
  • A panel discussion on youth violence and the impact on community health, including strategies to prevent it and strategies to report on it. Featured speakers include Father Greg Boyle, S.J., founder of  Homeboy Industries Olis Simmons, executive director of Project Youth Uprising; Celeste Fremon, founder and editor of, a Los Angeles-based social justice news website; and Glenn Masuda, Ph.D.; and the associate divisional director at the Asian Pacific Family Center in Rosemead, California. Patrick Boyle, communications director for the Forum for Youth Investment, will moderate.
  • Surviving and Thriving:What Works to Make Teens Stronger and More Resilient: A talk by Beatrice Motamedi, a freelance journalist and 2010 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow, about her multimedia series for the Oakland Tribune on the impact of violence on youth attending high school in Oakland
  • Prospects for National Health Care Reform: A panel discussion featuring Martha King, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, Brietta Clark, J.D., a professor of law at Loyola University School of Law, and Sarah Kliff, a health reporter for the Washington Post
  • Reporting on Colonias:Marginalized Communities and Health: A "how to talk" by Emily Ramshaw, 2010 National Health Journalism Fellow and an assistant managing editor for the Texas Tribune, about her Fellowship project, which described how infrastructure problems are contributing to poor health outcomes in dozens of unincorporated settlements in Texas
  • A briefing on the global diabetes crisis by one of the country’s top diabetes experts, Dr. Fran Kaufman, chief medical officer and vice president of global clinical, medical, and health affairs at Medtronic Diabetes, and Maureen O'Hagan, a 2010 National Health Journalism Fellow and reporter at the Seattle Times 
  • A field trip to the Los Angeles River, a largely concretized waterway that is being revitalized to provide new opportunities for recreation in a highly developed urban area with major chronic disease problems


The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.


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