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Lois Collins

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When I tackled the topic of loneliness as a 2013 National Health Journalism Fellowship project, I honestly didn't think it would be hard to find people who were lonely so that I could write about the issue. I was right and wrong.

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Childhood cancers, behavior-impacting disabilities like autism, extremely brittle bones or compromised immune systems are just some of the conditions that may leave kids — and by extension, their families — feeling lonely.

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Loneliness, as a medical matter, has begun to capture the attention of health experts worldwide. A growing body of research compares loneliness to documented health killers like smoking and obesity.

Picture of Lois Collins

For refugees, homesickness & loneliness are often inseparable — symptoms hard to untangle. Refugees in the throes of loneliness and social isolation may suffer depression, lethargy, headaches, exhaustion and more. It makes it harder to learn needed skills like language or cultural understanding.

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COVID-19 has made every journalist a health reporter, whether their usual beat is crime, education or county government.  Our 2021 California Fellowship will make anyone who attends a better health reporter -- and give you a reporting grant of $2,000-$10,000 and five months of mentoring while you work on an ambitious project. Deadline to apply: March 1.

In our next webinar, we’ll analyze Biden’s COVID-19 strategy in the first 100 days — and the huge obstacles the new federal effort must confront. We’ll also look at how Biden plans to address the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic, with a focus on women and vulnerable families. Sign-up here!

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