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Health Matters Webinar Series

Previous Webinars

February 28, 2023

As the nation’s opioid crisis escalates, children and families bear an overwhelming toll. More than one-third of children in foster care were removed from their homes because of parental drug use — almost triple the proportion a decade ago. Nearly 3 million children live with grandparents, other relatives, or family friends outside the foster care system, often due to parental addiction or death from overdose. This webinar will explore the psychological, financial and practical needs of families shattered by drug use, the long-term implications for a generation buffeted by grief and trauma, and ideas for reporting on the far-reaching damage of the opioid epidemic with nuance and sensitivity.

January 31, 2023

The nation’s overdose epidemic has entered a devastating new phase. Drugs laced with fentanyl and even more poisonous synthetics have flooded the streets, as the crisis spreads well beyond the rural, largely white communities that initially drew attention. The death rate is escalating twice as fast among Black people than among white people. And it’s rising more rapidly among adolescents than the population overall, even as drug use among youth is declining. This webinar will give journalists deep insights into an epidemic that killed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. last year. We’ll also provide fresh story angles and practical tips for covering the rapidly shifting crisis, the racial barriers to addiction treatment and safer drug use, and the catastrophic impacts on families and communities.

October 04, 2022

The coronavirus pandemic turned Dr. Anthony Fauci into a household name as the leading scientific voice of the government’s response. But the nation’s top infectious disease specialist massive impact on America’s public policy stretches back over four decades and seven presidents. As director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci played a pivotal role in the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic during the 1980s, became vilified and lauded during the early days of the COVID crisis, and most recently has been at the forefront of the federal response to monkeypox. As Dr. Fauci approaches retirement in December, he’ll join us for a conversation with national health reporter Dan Diamond of The Washington Post. We’ll talk about the emerging threat posed by monkeypox, the current state of the COVID pandemic, and broader lessons on how we respond to emerging infectious diseases moving forward.

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. 

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.



The Center for Health Journalism’s two-day symposium on domestic violence will provide reporters with a roadmap for covering this public health epidemic with nuance and sensitivity. The first day will take place on the USC campus on Friday, March 17. The Center has a limited number of $300 travel stipends for California journalists coming from outside Southern California and a limited number of $500 travel stipends for those coming from out of state. Journalists attending the symposium will be eligible to apply for a reporting grant of $2,000 to $10,000 from our Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund. Find more info here!


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