From 2000 to 2012 I covered science and health issues for the Bay Area News Group, which includes the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, and Oakland Tribune.  In recent years I’ve concentrated on covering health disparities, and in April 2018 Island Press will publish my most recent book “20 Years of Life: Why the Poor Die Earlier and How to Challenge Inequities.”


<p>Two journalists offer tips for your reporting from their award-winning series on the striking gap in health and life expectancies between rich and poor neighborhoods.</p>

<p>On Thursday, Bay Area News Group (Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, etc.) hosted a live online chat with Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General, and Rich Hamburg, deputy director of Trust for America's Health. Health reporter Sandy Kleffman and I (the science reporter for the chain) moderated it.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Both men responded to questions posted by participants on how Congressional health reform legislation offers an unprecedented amount of funds for disease prevention, and funds for novel programs to improve health by improving neighborhoods. It's archived at:&nbsp;</p>

<p>While reporting for a four-part series on the wide gap in life expectancies and disease rates between people in nearby neighborhoods – due to drastically different conditions and social status – I expected to find that health care reform legislation would do little to address this issue. The reform legislation, after all, is primarily about health care insurance. But I was surprised to find that, for the first time, Congressional legislation contains at least $3.4 billion to focus on improving health disparities.

<p>The "Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters" project, produced by staff writers Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman, ran in 2009 as a four-part series in the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune, now-defunct daily newspapers in Northern California .