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'Tis the season for thousands of would-be doctors to line up in caps and gowns and receive their degrees before heading off to residency programs. These programs are accredited by ACGME, a group you should know about — lost accreditation can be a big story.

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SF Chronicle health reporter Erin Allday really didn't want to cover an appearance by the discredited scientist Andrew Wakefield, but her editors sent her anyway. Here she shares how she approached the assignment, dodged the topic's potential pitfalls, and ended up with a well-received A1 story.

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A strong relationship with the county coroner or medical examiner and an understanding of autopsies and forensic investigations will serve you well on the health beat. Here's how to make use of these resources, while still remaining empathetic to those grieving their loss.

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The hardest part of reporting on the health implications of Central Valley rivers was not the research or content, but finding the right characters for the stories. In the end, a radio reporter discovered the best way to find the characters that brought his stories to life was on the river itself.

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Death and birth records are crucial to public health and health reporting. They can help verify causes of death, point you to family members, or allow you to track larger public health trends. Here's how to start using them for your stories, if you aren't already.

Picture of William Heisel

Contributing editor William Heisel looks back over last week's annual gathering of the Association of Health Care Journalists and shares some of his favorite tips and lessons from the bounty of panels and conversations on hand at the conference.

Picture of William Heisel

Headed to the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference in Santa Clara this week? It's always hard to pick from the annual bounty of presentations, but contributing editor William Heisel's selection of don't-miss sessions will get you started.

Picture of William Heisel

The New York Times' science and health editor Barbara Strauch died this week. Columnist William Heisel looks back at her exemplary career and shares a handful of lessons drawn from Strauch's editorial intelligence and warm, engaging presence. She will be missed.

Picture of Veronica Zaragovia

Radio reporter Veronica Zaragovia of KUT in Austin focused her reporting series on the rollout of the ACA in Texas, especially some of its unanticipated effects. Here she reflects on a few of the lessons she learned along the way.

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When reporter S.E. Ruckman set out to tell the story of how the ACA rollout was faring among Native American communities, she found little help and few resources. But she pushed forward, and found value in persistence and serendipitous connections.

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