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Everyone could benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering statins. Who wants gunk clogging up their arteries, right? And even if your cholesterol is already low, you may gain some wonderful side benefit.

That is the overwhelming message driven home by a combination of marketing campaigns and overly enthusiastic health reporting.

William Heisel's picture

Interested in mashing up health data to report on your community? A new federal community health data initiative launched today may help.

Here’s more from the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency:

The Community Health Data Initiative is a major new public-private effort that aims to help Americans understand health and health care performance in their communities – and to help spark and facilitate action to improve performance…

Barbara Feder Ostrov's picture

Kevin Jermaine Edmonds, a young ob/gyn with a brand new practice, presumably would have better luck than most trying to impress a woman he has met at a bar.

But why bother leaving the office at all when your calendar is full of women undressing and telling you the most intimate details of their lives?

Doctor-patient relationships are barred by state law and by long established medical ethics. In part, these relationships are discouraged because they can cloud a physician’s judgment and potentially lead to patient harm.

William Heisel's picture

Whether you’re facing hourly, daily or monthly deadlines, it’s nice to get some inspiration from some excellent health journalists and the people who edit them.

For that inspiration, I turned off my laptop and opened an actual book: The New York Times Reader: Health and Medicine (CQ Press, 2010). This recently-published paperback, an annotated anthology of work by the New York Times’ health and medical writers, is aimed at journalism students, but professionals at all levels can learn from it too.

Barbara Feder Ostrov's picture

Have you ever gone in for an oil change and left with the suspicion that the mechanics didn’t do anything beyond opening your hood?

Anemona Hartocollis at The New York Times has exposed this same type of behavior in a much more critical venue: a local hospital. She wrote:

William Heisel's picture

A new CDC report offers state-by-state stats on hospital infections – but you have to read between the lines for the real story.  

Barbara Feder Ostrov's picture

Decades of anti-smoking public health campaigns have turned into background noise. We all know smoking is bad for us, but yet we allow ourselves to get caught up in the sexiness of it when a show like Mad Men comes along. Even our president has admitted to a regular habit.

William Heisel's picture

When radio reporter Devin Browne began her foray to the edges of journalism, media commentators seized on her project quickly. Her multimedia journal uses prose, images and audio clips to tell a story about how she and a photographer moved into the cramped apartment of an immigrant family in MacArthur Park to learn Spanish. The Entryway, so called for the small space Browne rented, was quickly and harshly criticized for exoticizing Los Angeles' large Latino population.

Angilee Shah's picture
Lots of coverage today on a new study linking frequent indoor tanning with a higher risk of getting melanoma, one of the more deadly types of skin cancer. But why aren't more reporters also writing about the absolute risks?
Barbara Feder Ostrov's picture

What does it take for your record to be blemished if you’re a doctor in Florida?

Would attempting to have sex with a child leave a dent?

Apparently not.

As Bob LaMendola at the Florida Sun Sentinel reports, Dr. Stuart F. Tillman, a Tallahassee anesthesiologist, was busted in July 2009 and charged with soliciting sex online from a 14-year-old girl.

William Heisel's picture

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The nation’s overdose epidemic has entered a devastating new phase. Drugs laced with fentanyl and even more poisonous synthetics have flooded the streets, as the crisis spreads well beyond the rural, largely white communities that initially drew attention. The death rate is escalating twice as fast among Black people than among white people. This webinar will give journalists deep insights, fresh story ideas and practical tips for covering an epidemic that killed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. last year. Sign-up here!

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