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Health Matters Webinar Series

Previous Webinars

March 10, 2021

The pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of misinformation, lies and half-truths capable of proliferating faster than the virus itself. “Fake news” has swamped social media feeds, upended presidential briefings, and flooded vulnerable communities, hindering the fight against COVID-19 on everything from mask-wearing to vaccinations to the reality of the virus itself. The potentially fatal dangers posed by the “infodemic” are especially acute in communities of color, where long histories of racism and medical mistrust — combined with a lack of trusted messengers — have paved the way for COVID-19 misinformation and vaccine skepticism. In this webinar, we’ll delve into what one of our speakers has termed “the natural ecology of bullshit.” And we’ll discuss reporting examples, strategies and story ideas that incorporate these insights and effectively communicate to diverse audiences.

March 03, 2021

President Biden has called the impact of COVID-19 on women a national emergency. Nearly 3 million women in the U.S. have left the labor force in the past year. Those who are employed make up an outsized share of the high-risk essential workforce. Two out of three women are caregivers, and nearly two-thirds of mothers are in charge of supporting their children’s remote learning. Join us for a webinar on the crisis for women, the disproportionate burdens on women of color, and the short-and long-term consequences of the mass exodus of women from workforce. We’ll explore how the Biden stimulus plan may help women, where it falls short, and what is needed from government and the private sector to advance gender equity in the economic recovery. We’ll talk about the stories that haven’t been told, and what to look for as vaccinations pick up, schools reopen, hiring resumes and life inches back to normal.

February 03, 2021

On his first full day as president, Joe Biden unleashed 10 executive orders and a 200-page plan to reboot the federal COVID-19 response, detailing a strategy to turbo-charge testing and vaccines, bolster critical supply chains by invoking wartime powers, reopen schools and travel, fuel research, overhaul COVID-19 data collection, and revamp workplace guidelines. In this webinar, we’ll analyze Biden’s COVID-19 strategy in the first 100 days — and the huge obstacles the new federal effort must confront. We’ll also look at how Biden plans to address the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic, and what policies might offer urgent relief to vulnerable families and women. Attendees will gain the latest overview of the new administration’s response to COVID-19 and leave with fresh story ideas on how these developments might impact life on the ground for local audiences across the country.

January 14, 2021

Our nation’s mass vaccination campaign is complex and unprecedented, and Americans are hungry for any information to guide them out of the devastating  COVID-19 crisis. Given the pace and scale of vaccine deployment, it’s easy for journalists to feel overwhelmed. To aid in efficient and accurate coverage, we’ll turn to one of the best reporters on the COVID-19 beat: Lisa Krieger, the science and medicine reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, who in recent months has focused almost exclusively on vaccine coverage. She’ll provide an up-to-date overview of the vaccine pipeline, describe key players in the industry and offer projections of the 2021 timetable. She’ll summarize allocation and distribution strategies on the federal, state and county levels.  She’ll provide context, suggest compelling story ideas and summarize current controversies -- and recount how she stays on top of this fast-moving story, offering practical tips that will bolster your coverage. 

December 16, 2020

In one of the many cruelties of COVID-19, elderly Americans most at risk of dying from the disease are experiencing crushing loneliness and isolation. The stakes go beyond mental health: Loneliness is a predictor of functional decline and death. With COVID-19 surging to unprecedented levels during the holidays, when feelings of loneliness and depression often peak, older adults risk a dire winter cut off from family and friends. In this webinar, we’ll talk about how loneliness and isolation impact older Americans, how the pandemic has exacerbated the crisis beyond measure, and what programs stand to help the most. Journalists will benefit from fresh story ideas for covering an issue that is undermining the health and well-being of seniors in every community, including an exploration of the unique challenges for seniors of color, as the long wait for vaccines and family visits continues.

November 24, 2020

It’s been two consecutive weeks of very big news from the medical race of the century: Moderna just announced its COVID-19 vaccine was nearly 95% effective in study results, while Pfizer said earlier that its candidate was more than 90% effective in trials. The findings offer the tantalizing possibility amid rapidly worsening outbreaks that the pandemic could be vanquished far sooner than thought. Yet huge logistical hurdles remain, even if both vaccines are deemed safe and approved by regulators in the weeks to come. A vast and untested vaccine supply chain that combines manufacturers, government agencies and the health care system will suddenly need to spring into. Health care workers, the elderly and immune-compromised patients seem like obvious candidates for early vaccination, and some public health experts also say communities of color should be early recipients. In this webinar, we’ll take an updated look at the logistical and ethical hurdles posed by the coming vaccine roll-out.

November 12, 2020

Health officials have warned for decades that the U.S. woefully underinvests in public health and safety net programs. As a result, the country has paid the price for deep vulnerabilities during a pandemic that has now claimed more than 230,000 lives. Understaffed and underfunded, public health agencies across the country have struggled to fulfill even basic tasks amid surging caseloads. Years of shrinking safety net programs and added eligibility requirements ushered in by the Trump administration have made the situation even more dire for families on the brink. In this webinar, we’ll take a broad look at the gaping holes in the public health safety net revealed by COVID-19, while asking what kinds of policy fixes can patch them moving forward. 

October 14, 2020

Even as COVID-19 sweeps through the White House and waylays members of the Republican Judiciary Committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t paused his headlong rush to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before Nov. 3. U.S. health policy hangs in the balance. The court is slated to hear the latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act a week after the election. If a new conservative majority invalidates the ACA, more than 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance. In this webinar, we’ll hear from one of the country’s leading health law experts and a top health care editor on what the remaking of the Supreme Court could mean for the future of health reform, and how you can clarify the stakes and tell powerful stories for your audiences.

September 30, 2020

Young people have seen their lives upended during the COVID-19 pandemic. High school seniors saw their proms and senior traditions thwarted, and as fall gets underway, university life has been disrupted — with campus classes either cancelled or moved online in the face of campus COVID-19 outbreaks across the U.S, with a smaller number of schools continuing in-person classes. Meanwhile, young people are experiencing the economic and mental health toll of the pandemic. Many entry-level jobs have disappeared, families are struggling to pay bills, and the imperative to socially distance and minimize contact has thrown a wrench in what is typically an intensely social period of life. At the same time, these young people also acutely feel the weight of our nation's reckoning with systemic racism and police violence. Join us as we hear from three youth journalists from around the country as they discuss the challenges confronting their generation. 

September 16, 2020

Delivering a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 by this winter would count as one the most ambitious scientific feats in history. With a handful of vaccines now in the midst of large-scale clinical trials, a growing number of experts say it’s an achievable goal. But many potential roadblocks — political and practical — could stymie “Operation Warp Speed.” In this webinar, we’ll take a broad look at where we stand, take a deeper look at how these vaccines actually work, and discuss key challenges and story lines to track as we enter a critical phase in the race for a vaccine against the coronavirus.

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This year saw a scorcher of a summer, the hottest on record. Worse, it could be the coldest summer we’ll see in our lifetimes. In this webinar, we’ll glean lessons and insights from a yearlong Los Angeles Times investigation into extreme heat. We’ll also identify gaps in state and federal tracking efforts, and outline policy changes that could help. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism's Impact Funds provide reporting support — funding and mentoring — to journalists who think big and want to make a difference. 

Apply today for our National Impact Fund for reporting on health equity and health systems across the country. 

Apply today for our California Impact Fund for reporting that brings untold stories to light in the Golden State. 

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