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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

William Heisel, former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, writes about investigative health reporting. He is currently the director of global engagement at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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In a recent Reuters series, a team of reporters exposed what we still don't know about superbugs and highlighted a huge hole in that knowledge: the inaccuracy of death certificates.
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Legislation recently signed into law in California requires doctors to check a state database before prescribing narcotics. A key advocate behind the effort says increasing media attention was crucial in winning the bill's passage.
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Football fan culture is changing, writes contributing editor William Heisel, as the consequences of repeated hard collisions become common knowledge. "Knock his block off!" the old refrain went. Or maybe don't?
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Despite their benefits, the use of sensors has stalled amid concerns that inaccurate readings could lead to sidelined players. Some worry games or even careers could be cut short by false positives. But is that a valid objection?
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Last week, Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton got a ton of ink for what were perceived as repeated concussion-threatening hits to the helmet. Why did this story get so much attention?
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A quick primer on the science of how obesity and high cholesterol can break down cartilage and bones, spurring the development of arthritis.
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One of the biggest ways obesity can lead to arthritis is the way it works on joints. The extra pressure that comes with more pounds tends to break down the cartilage in the knees, hips and other joints.

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The link between obesity and arthritis rates is fertile ground for reporters to explore. In areas of the south, the two strongly overlap. Is it possible that obesity is driving arthritis rates in these areas?

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A first-of-its-kind CDC report on arthritis gained hardly any notice in the media recently. Given the prevalence of the disease in the U.S., why aren’t health reporters devoting more coverage to this issue?

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Despite problems with two medical boards, convictions of filing a false tax return and insurance fraud, Dr. Tomas Ballesteros Rios still has his California medical license. Meanwhile, the state's medical board has sent mixed messages.



Soaring out-of-pocket costs, rising premiums, and shaky insurance exchanges raise urgent questions this election season. What policies might address these problems, and how do the presidential candidates’ health plans differ? This webinar will give an overview of each candidates’ policy prescriptions and provide reporters with crucial context for covering one of the election’s most important but overlooked issues.

The 2017 California Fellowship, for California-based journalists only, will be held March 5-9, 2017 in Los Angeles. This Fellowship will focus on vulnerable populations and access to care and health care reform and innovation. We also take an in-depth look at how community conditions influence individuals' prospects for health. Each Fellow receives a $1,000 stipend to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious Fellowship project on a California health issue, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow. Deadline to apply is Dec. 1.  For more information, go here.


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