Center for Health Journalism announces 2024 National Fellows, $72,000 in grants

Published on
June 25, 2024

The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism is delighted to announce the selection of 20 talented and diverse journalists to participate in its 2024 National Fellowship. In collaboration with the Center, they will investigate and explore health challenges for children, youth and families across the country. 

The 2024 National Fellows are tackling some of the most difficult problems of our times — from inequities in our child welfare system, to the broader ripple effects of new state limits on abortion, to efforts to address addiction and child homelessness. Fellows will also explore traditional birthing practices in Native American communities, the lack of adequate translation services for Hmong patients, and strategies to address student mental health challenges. We look forward to partnering with these reporters as they produce stories on health equity and systemic disparities in their communities that aim to make a difference. 

The Fellowship class includes reporters serving the nation’s ethnic media, as well as reporters from mainstream print, digital and broadcast outlets, including NBC News, The Guardian, Cincinnati Enquirer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Missouri Independent, Oregon Capital Chronicle, Maine Morning Star, KYUK Alaska, The Fuller Project, MindSite News, The Trace, Native News Online and Hmong Daily News, among others. Nearly half of the participating reporters are journalists of color.

The competitive program includes a multi-day learning institute that provides insights into how health is shaped by community conditions, systemic racism and opportunity. Each Fellow will receive a reporting grant ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, and several will receive additional community engagement grants.

The 2024 National Fellows will receive months of expert mentoring as they produce ambitious projects in partnership with the Center on a range of health and social welfare topics, including child and youth mental health; the increasing burden of medical debt; the trauma of migrant border crossings; hurdles to family reunification in the child welfare system; maternity care deserts; the toll of gun violence on pregnant Black women; the dangers posed by dilapidated schools in Alaska; language barriers in health care; and child homelessness.

The 2024 National Fellowship is generously funded by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The National Fellowship also receives support from the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, which is supported by individual donors and The California Endowment. In addition, the Fellowship receives support from the Kristy Hammam Fund for Health Journalism, an initiative of the Social Impact Fund. 

“For more than 50 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has championed the core belief that everyone in America deserves a fair and just opportunity to thrive,” said Jordan Reese, director of media relations for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “That vision is not yet a reality. In pursuit of that vision, we collaborate with partners like the USC Center for Health Journalism, whose mentors and fellows promote greater health equity by elevating community disparities and holding leaders and health systems to account.“

“Journalists play a critical role in highlighting both the inequitable conditions that impact health — and opportunities to transform these conditions,” said Monica Beltran, program officer at the Kellogg Foundation. “We look forward to the deep, thoughtful reporting of this year’s fellows as they tackle important and timely issues affecting children, families and communities.”

The 2024 National Fellowship training institute opened with a keynote conversation featuring journalist Duaa Eldeib, a reporter with ProPublica. Her series examined the systemic failures leading to a U.S. stillbirth crisis, and was a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting. Other highlights of the program include a field visit to Chuco’s Justice Center, the South Central Los Angeles site of a former juvenile court, where holding cells now sit empty and youth are offered a continuation school education and a chance to rebuild their lives. 

Additional discussions during the multi-day program will cover a range of other important health and wellbeing issues, including reproductive health in post-Roe America, the impacts of early childhood trauma, the school absenteeism problem, and the toll of structural racism in perpetuating health inequities. Fellows also will learn about data journalism, trauma-informed reporting, how to manage a big project, and other journalism best practices.

We are pleased to announce our 2024 National Fellows: 

Clara Bates, Missouri Independent

Aria Bendix, NBC News

Ben Botkin, Oregon Capital Chronicle

Suzette Brewer, Early Learning Nation/Native News Online/Native America Calling

Nicole Clark, Spectrum News

Natalie Eilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jessica Glenza, The Guardian US

Hanisha Harjani, The Fuller Project

Betsy Kim, Cincinnati Enquirer

Fairriona Magee, The Trace

Michele Cohen Marill, MindSite News

Alena Maschke, The Current/The Acadiana Advocate

Alex Miller, Freelance

Tabitha Mueller, The Nevada Independent

Aaron Nelsen, The Guardian US

Eesha Pendharkar, Maine Morning Star

Emily Schabacker, Cardinal News

Emily Schwing, KYUK Alaska Public Media

Taylor Velazquez, KUNM Radio in Albuquerque

Macy Yang, Hmong Daily News