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Supporting Knowledge in Health and Health Care Reporting

  • By: NYSHealth
  • Date: July 2017
  • Priority Area: Other
  • Type: Grant Outcome Reports
  • Category: Grant Outcome Report
  • Grantee Name: Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism


As the nation’s media outlets face shrinking budgets and shoestring staffing, resources for journalists’ continuing education and professional development are limited. Increasingly, reporters are assigned to multiple beats rather than to one specific issue area, so their knowledge of any one area may be relatively superficial. The Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, the supporting nonprofit organization for the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), aimed to fill that knowledge gap through an annual four-day national conference that attracted approximately 600–800 reporters, editors, and producers, as well as health care luminaries. The conference covered a wide range of issues, both content-focused (e.g., covering the progress under the Affordable Care Act, health care disparities, aging and long-term care) and skills-focused (e.g., understanding how to read medical studies or interpret hospital quality data). In 2016, NYSHealth awarded the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism a grant to support AHCJ’s 2017 cohort of New York State Health Journalism Fellowships.

Grantee: Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism

Dates: October 2016–May 2017

Grant Amount: $ 15,360

Grantee Website:

Grant ID: 16-04561

Outcomes and Lessons Learned:

  • Awarded fellowships to 12 journalists in New York State to cover registration, lodging, a travel stipend for the conference, as well as a one-year AHCJ membership;
  • Held conference workshops and sessions meant to deepen journalists’ understanding of the health topics they are called upon to cover most, including health policy, consumer health, social determinants and disparities, medical research and education, and the business of health care; and
  • Provided important information, key resources, and new story ideas that journalists can pursue back at their publications and outlets.

The New York State fellows found the conference to be very helpful and informative, stating that they had picked up new skills, discovered new story ideas, and made new resource contacts. Some of these benefits generated stories that were written immediately after the conference, whereas others will be worked into longer-term reporting. The attendees stated that the fellowships contributed to their professional development in health reporting, allowing them to learn and network at a conference they otherwise would not have been able attend because of financial constraints.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York contributed $9,600 to support an additional 6 fellows from Central and Western New York. Other funders sponsoring AHCJ’s 2017 conference include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Kansas Health Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.