USC Annenberg Awards $58,000 in Health Reporting and Community Engagement Grants

The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships at USC Annenberg  today announced journalism awards totaling almost $58,000 to support investigative and explanatory reporting projects on topics including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the disproportionate impact of prostrate cancer on African-American men in North Carolina; the health effects of pollution in Detroit and the Pacific Northwest; and the economic and human impact of Alzheimer’s Disease in South Florida.

Twenty-two journalists from around the country will receive reporting grants from the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism and the 2014 National Health Journalism Fellowship.  Six of the fellows also will receive community engagement grants as part of a pilot program to expand the reach and impact of their projects.

All 22 journalists will participate in USC Annenberg’s California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships – a series of seminars, workshops and field trips from July 13-17 on the University of Southern California campus. Since 2005, the program has educated more than 600 journalists on the craft and content of health journalism, with an emphasis on the relationship between health and place.

Each fellow returns home to complete a reporting project over the next six months to a year, with guidance from senior journalists. You can find 2014 national fellows’ blog posts on their planned projects here. Past fellows’ projects can be found here. Highlights of the fellowship week can be found here.

Among other topics the fellows will explore are: one state’s effort to wipe out Hepatitis C; the effects of a lack of running water and flush toilets on the health of thousands of Alaska Natives; and how the deinstitutionalization of people with developmental disabilities and mental illness has contributed to a number of untimely deaths in the South.

The Hunt fund honors the legacy of Dennis A. Hunt, a visionary communication leader at The California Endowment who was dedicated to improving and supporting high-quality reporting on the health of communities. Hunt died in a car crash in 2007. Friends and colleagues, the Hunt family and The California Endowment joined together to create and provide ongoing support for the Fund.

The Fellowships program is funded with a generous grant from The California Endowment, whose mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians.

"Thanks to the vision of Dennis Hunt, the program has pioneered a new kind of health journalism that goes beyond coverage of medical care to explore the many ways in which community environments affect our well-being,” said Mary Lou Fulton, senior program manager for The California Endowment.  “Dennis' legacy will live on through the high-profile, high-impact reporting of this year's fellows."

Michelle Levander, founding director of the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, which hosts the Hunt and national journalism programs, said, “We applaud the vision and ambition of this excellent group of reporters and their editors. They are tackling health stories that need to be told and that promise to make an enormous difference to their communities.”

Here are the 2014 grantees:

2014 Dennis A. Hunt Health Journalism Fund Grantees

Lisa Bernard-Kuhn, The Cincinnati Enquirer

Daniel Chang, The Miami Herald

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA Public Radio (Alaska)

Dan Gorenstein, Marketplace 

Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic and La Voz Arizona

Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today and The Daily Yonder

Jay Price, The News & Observer (Raleigh)

2014 National Health Journalism Fellows

Arielle Levin Becker, The Connecticut Mirror

Tom Corwin, The Augusta Chronicle

Natasha Dado, The Arab American News

Timothy Darragh, The Morning Call

Frank Gluck, The News-Press

Kristin Gourlay, Rhode Island Public Radio

Kyle Hopkins and Mark Lester, Anchorage Daily News

Jazelle Hunt, National Newspaper Publishers Association

Samuel Murillo, La Voz Arizona

Kathleen O’Brien, The Star-Ledger

Madeleine Ostrander, The Nation and New America Media

Amanda Ramirez, Univision Atlanta

Susan Ruckman, Native Times

Veronica  Zaragovia, KUT Public Radio (Austin) and Radio Bilingue


Image courtesy of Albert Sabate.