Center for Health Journalism provides health journalism training, awards more than $45,000 for the 2024 California Health Equity Fellowship

Published on
March 11, 2024

The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism has selected 13 talented, diverse journalists to participate in its annual California Health Equity Fellowship, investigating and exploring health challenges across the Golden State.

“The California journalists who we are partnering with are tackling issues at the heart of our state’s story,” said Center Director Michelle Levander. “We see journalism as the essential tool to illuminate these issues and highlight the narratives of the people they affect to help bring about change.”

The Fellowship class is a talented and diverse group of print, digital, radio and TV journalists from across the state, working for outlets such as Telemundo, the Center for Public Integrity, Harper’s Magazine, inewsource, San Luis Obispo Tribune, Capitol Weekly, Capital Public Radio, and Capital & Main, among others. About half of the Fellows are journalists of color.

The 2024 California Health Equity Fellows will tackle a range of health topics important to Californians, including inequitable access to affordable and safe drinking water; the toxic legacy of DDT manufacturing and how it interferes with subsistence fishing by immigrants; strained public health care systems; the toll the incurable lung disease silicosis is taking on immigrant workers; and what can be done to promote youth mental health and help trauma survivors. 

This program also marks the launch of our first awards supported through the Lori Yearwood Fund for Reporting on Homelessness. Grantees will explore the state’s homelessness crisis, investigating the effectiveness of programs designed to house low-income people, and exploring the devastating health impacts of homelessness on seniors, among other topics.

The competitive program includes a three-day learning institute at the USC Annenberg School in Los Angeles that introduces journalists to insights about how health is shaped by community conditions, systemic racism and access to health care. We’ll also explore the consequences and causes of homelessness as the state confronts a growing housing affordability crisis and struggles to address the mental health needs of those living on the streets.  The learning institute will feature a keynote conversation, “A Healthy Start in an Unequal World,” between California’s Surgeon General, Dr. Diana Ramos, and Priska Neely, managing editor of Gulf States Newsroom and a former California Health Equity Fellow. 

Through reporting stipends and five months of expert mentoring, the Center for Health Journalism will nurture its Fellows as they produce their investigative and explanatory projects. The Center has awarded more than $45,000 in reporting grants for this class. Fellows also have the opportunity to receive five months of community engagement mentoring and engagement grants.

The program is made possible thanks to the generous support of The California Endowment and Blue Shield of California Foundation.

“The Center for Health Journalism helps good reporters get even better at illuminating health inequities in California,” said Rachael Kagan, director of communications and public affairs at Blue Shield of California Foundation. “Through their work, and their engagement with the communities of color most affected by health inequities, we hope to see policy and systems changes that can have a real impact on making California the healthiest state.”

“Health journalism can expose systems that are steeped in racism and continue to plague the health outcomes of communities of color across California and beyond,” said Dr. Tony Iton, senior vice president of programs and partnerships at The California Endowment. “To transform these systems, we need programs like the Center for Health Journalism’s California Health Equity Fellowship to move health and racial equity efforts forward through narrative change that brings greater inclusion in our health and social safety net systems.” 

We are pleased to announce our 2024 California Health Equity Fellows:

Enrique Chiabra, Telemundo

Amy DiPierro, Center for Public Integrity

Wes Enzinna, Harper’s Magazine

Wren Farrell, KALW Public Radio

Jackson Hudgins, LA Public Press

John Lynch, The San Luis Obispo Tribune

Jenna Mayzouni, BenitoLink

Dan Morain, Capitol Weekly

Julie Reynolds, Voices of Monterey Bay

Tony Rodriguez, Capital Public Radio

Philip Salata, inewsource

George B. Sánchez-Tello, Capital and Main

María Inés Zamudio, Center for Public Integrity

Interested in learning more about Center programs and opportunities, sign up for a meeting with us here

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