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Health Matters Webinar Series

Upcoming

August 24, 2022

U.S. children and teens have struggled with increasing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior for much of the past decade. With the losses and disruptions of COVID-19, the onslaught of social media, and escalating gun violence, the youth mental health crisis has exploded. The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared it a national emergency, and the U.S Surgeon General has issued a public health advisory calling for a comprehensive, coordinated response to the needs of young people. In this webinar, we’ll explore the systemic causes and policy failures that have accelerated the crisis and its inequitable impact, as well as promising community-driven approaches and evidence-based practices. 

Previous Webinars

August 10, 2022

The pandemic has thrown into brutal relief the extent to which the U.S. health care system produces worse outcomes for patients of color. And yet there has been scant focus on one of the biggest drivers of structural racism in health care: How doctors and hospitals are paid. Despite waves of well-intentioned payment reforms in recent years, these programs have failed to prioritize the health of people of color, even making it worse in some cases. In this webinar, we’ll highlight the ways in which the health care system’s focus on money and good grades is shortchanging the health of communities of color. We’ll explore how good incentives can produce bad outcomes, and identify possible solutions. And we’ll give journalists tough questions to ask of health systems near them: Who is being overlooked in the eternal quest to boost profits?

 

June 28, 2022

“Racism in medicine is a national emergency.” That’s how journalist Nicholas St. Fleur characterized the crisis facing American health care this spring , as his team at STAT embarked on “Color Code,” an eight-episode series exploring medical mistrust in communities of color across the country. In this webinar, we’ll take inspiration from their work to discuss strategies and examples for telling stories about inequities, disparities and racism in health care systems. We’ll be joined by St. Fleur, the series’ host, and Color Code’s multimedia producer, Theresa Gaffney, to talk about the journalistic challenges and opportunities for bringing such hidden stories into the broader conversation about American health care, and how it can better serve everyone.

May 25, 2022

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. But not all nursing homes proved equally deadly, as a major investigation from USA Today recently made clear. Residents at one nursing home chain based in the Midwest died at twice the national average, according to figures reported by the company to the federal government. While the company may be a pandemic outlier, problems of understaffing and lax infection control measures have plagued nursing homes for years. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series, who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Reporters will leave with fresh ideas and strategies for covering nursing homes in their communities, as new variants loom and policymakers roll out new regulations.

May 11, 2022

Abortion is arguably the most polarizing issue in America. As the country awaits a Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade in the coming months, legislators are flooding statehouses with restrictive bills in hopes that federally protected abortion rights will soon be gone. In other states, lawmakers and governors are fighting back, shoring up protections for people seeking reproductive care. This webinar will explore how states are gearing up for a post-Roe America. We’ll look at stories that go beyond the legal and political battles to report on the human impact. We’ll also discuss how mounting barriers to reproductive care affect the health of teens and young adults, particularly low-income young people and those of color, as they wrestle with choices about sex, contraception, relationships and identity. 

April 20, 2022

For many Americans, mental health care isn’t there when they need it. In this webinar, we’ll hear from a leading international researcher of mental health access challenges for immigrants and communities of color. He will share a model for how taking innovative community-based approaches can make it easier for Latino, Filipino and LGBTQ+ clients to benefit from mental health care that better serves their needs. We’ll ask, what can this forward-thinking program in California’s Solano County teach us about the broader effort to expand access to mental health care in underserved communities?

March 16, 2022

Science has moved at stunning speed to develop drugs to fight COVID-19, but as we enter the year three of the pandemic, the inequities and bureaucratic complexities of our health care system make it difficult, if not impossible, for the care to reach those who need it most. A CDC analysis of 41 health care systems found that patients of color were less likely to receive monoclonal antibodies than white patients though they die at far higher rates. During the omicron wave, the process to obtain scarce, potentially lifesaving medications was so convoluted and confusing — and varied from state to state — that it seemed designed to keep patients from obtaining treatment. Now, high-risk people must jump through hoops to get the new antiviral pills. This webinar explores the complicated landscape for COVID therapeutics, how it reflects and magnifies long-standing issues of health care access, and what this means for the future of the pandemic.

February 23, 2022

Racial and ethnic minorities in America experience a lower quality of health services, and are less likely to receive even routine medical procedures than are white Americans, a seminal report led by Brian Smedley, Ph.D., concluded in 2003. Nearly two decades since that damning Institute of Medicine finding, the fundamental problems of systemic racism in the U.S. health care system remain unchanged, just one aspect of a much broader American story. This webinar will share examples of how racism operates in health care systems, and how health disparities are compounded by structural forces such as residential segregation. Taken together, these forces ultimately erode Black health and hurt all Americans. The discussion will also feature examples of promising strategies to mitigate against these forces.

February 16, 2022

The public records request is perhaps the powerful crowbar a journalist has to pry open urgent information and data hidden from public view. Freeing those records from the shadows can be especially vital during a pandemic, as agencies quickly make decisions that carry life-or-death consequences. But it’s rarely as simple as updating a file form and firing it off to the agency in question. In this webinar, we’ll discuss the basics of records requests and strategies to make them more successful, before turning to some of the specific kinds of requests you might consider making around COVID-19 at this stage in the pandemic.  Attendees will leave with fresh ideas and strategies for holding power to account in their coverage area.

January 19, 2022

As we stagger into the third year of the pandemic and omicron rages, experts increasingly disagree about key questions of public health and infection control. It takes nuanced reporting to cover the latest, often confusing developments. As scientists race to understand this latest variant, prominent researchers are challenging highly regarded federal scientists on isolation and quarantine recommendations, testing, boosters, and whether COVID has become endemic. In this webinar, award-winning journalists Helen Branswell of STAT and Katherine J. Wu of The Atlantic discuss their strategies for staying ahead of an ever-changing story. 

December 16, 2021

Our long-held pandemic fears that an even more terrifying variant was somewhere in the offing seem to have come true with the arrival of omicron and its myriad mutations. But we also risk jumping the gun. So much about this new variant remains unknown, and the scientific chorus keeps hammering the theme of uncertainty, at least until early lab research can furnish more clues. Is omicron more transmissible? Better able to evade our body’s immune responses? Our arsenal of vaccines? Does it readily reinfect people who already had COVID? Does it tend to lead to more or less severe disease than the delta variant? In this webinar, we’ll hear from a leading infectious disease expert on what we know and don’t know about this latest variant of concern. Dr. Celine Gounder, a leading epidemiologist, medical analyst and host of the COVID podcast “Epidemic,” will brief us on the latest research, clarify what we still don’t know, and help us think through where the pandemic takes us from here.

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Announcements

U.S. children and teens have struggled with increasing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior for much of the past decade. Join us as we explore the systemic causes and policy failures that have accelerated the crisis and its inequitable impact, as well as promising community-driven approaches and evidence-based practices. The webinar will provide fresh ideas for reporting on the mental health of youth and investigating the systems and services. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors and a social media consultant to join its team. Learn more about the positions and apply.

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