Center for Health Reporting wins California Journalism Award for dental care story

Freelance writer Jocelyn Wiener and senior writer Emily Bazar of the USC Annenberg-based California Healthcare Foundation (CHCF) Center for Health Reporting recently received the California Journalism Award in the feature/enterprise category for their “’Model’ Dental Program Proves Painful for Kids” article.

The article was part of a series called Cavity Kids that was printed in the Sacramento Bee earlier this year to address the lack of available dental care to children of low-income families in Sacramento County. Articles in the series also followed the legislation that was passed in California to allow poor children easier access to dental care in the future.

David Westphal, editor-in-chief of the CHCF Center for Health Reporting at USC Annenberg, commended the impact that Wiener and Bazar’s series had on Sacramento healthcare.

“Under political pressure, the state came down hard on the managed care plans and offered help to parents struggling to get appointments,” Westphal said. “The California Legislature also passed legislation that allows parents to switch out of managed care into fee-for-service plans.  Signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the measure is now law.”

The Center for Health Reporting is a partnership between USC Annenberg, the California Healthcare Foundation and more than 60 other California media partners. Journalism professor Michael Parks founded the center, which was funded by a three-year grant from the California Healthcare Foundation in 2010. The center’s staff consists of seven editors and reporters from around the nation who are devoted to developing better coverage of statewide healthcare. Since its founding, the center has completed 68 projects covering health-related topics in California.