2017 Center for Health Journalism Fellow Sandra Cervantes, of Univision
Photo: Jeff Skeirik

USC Annenberg launches Health Journalism Impact Fund with support from the California Wellness Foundation

The USC Annenberg School of Journalism today announced the launch of the Center for Health Journalism Impact Fund, which supports results-focused, explanatory and investigative reporting on the health of underserved communities.

Through the fund, grant makers can contribute critical financial support at a pivotal moment — when the future of healthcare and social welfare benefits has become more central to the national debate than ever before.

In its first round of awards, the Center for Health Journalism’s Impact Fund will provide reporting grants to four to eight journalists or media outlets to undertake investigative or explanatory health reporting projects in California. California-focused projects may be proposed either by journalists at California-based outlets or at national outlets. The fund will support health projects proposed by individual reporters, intra-newsroom teams or multiple media outlets working together. Preference will be given to mainstream-ethnic media collaborations.

Grantees also receive six months of mentoring — guidance on everything from story development to relevant sources to new modes of storytelling. Grants will range from $2,000–$10,000, depending on the scope of the project.

The deadline for the first round of grants is February 15, 2018. Journalists proposing projects on time-sensitive topics may request consideration before the deadline (sign up for the Center for Health Journalism newsletter to learn about future calls for grant applicants).

The fund invites proposals that illuminate our national debate on healthcare policy and changes to the social safety net. The fund also will support journalism on how community conditions can shape lives and community health. 

Explorations can range from a look at environmental conditions where people live and work to the impact of race and ethnicity on health, or how poverty and education can shape well-being. The center is especially interested in investigative or explanatory reporting projects that advance public understanding of and health policy for underserved or vulnerable populations, which could include people living in low-income neighborhoods, rural areas, prisons, foster homes, juvenile detention centers or homeless encampments.

The fund also aims to advance what the Center for Health Journalism calls “impact journalism,” which marries powerful narratives, data and community engagement to serve as a catalyst for change.

“The fund will make it possible for journalists to bring untold health stories to light through groundbreaking reporting that can expose inequities and investigate promising approaches to chronic ills,” said Center for Health Journalism Director Michelle Levander.

The Impact Fund’s 2018 California grants are made possible by the generous support of The California Wellness Foundation.

“In today’s rapidly evolving health policy environment, it’s more important than ever to illuminate potential health impacts upon underserved communities,” said Richard Tate, vice president of public affairs at Cal Wellness. “We’re pleased to support the center’s new Impact Fund and journalists exploring the role of health inequities and promising approaches to ensure health equity.”

For more information and details about how to apply, visit the Center for Health Journalism announcement page or write CAHealth@usc.edu

About the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism

The Center for Health Journalism has trained more than 800 journalists since 2005 and provided financial support for hundreds of investigative and explanatory journalism projects. The Center advances “impact journalism,” which marries powerful narratives, data and community engagement to serve as a catalyst for change. Projects supported by the Center have triggered governmental investigations, legislative hearings or legislation; and changed the public debate around key community health policy issues. 

About the California Wellness Foundation

The California Wellness Foundation is celebrating 25 years as a private, independent foundation with a mission to advance wellness for all Californians by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The foundation’s grant making is grounded in the social determinants of health research that states that where people live and work, their race and ethnicity and their income can impact their health and wellness.