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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 4:24pm

While reporting for a four-part series on the wide gap in life expectancies and disease rates between people in nearby neighborhoods – due to drastically different conditions and social status – I expected to find that health care reform legislation would do little to address this issue. The reform legislation, after all, is primarily about health care insurance. But I was surprised to find that, for the first time, Congressional legislation contains at least $3.4 billion to focus on improving health disparities.

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December 16, 2009 | 0 comments
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 6:00am

Dr. Scott Takasugi finally ran out of excuses.

The Sacramento plastic surgeon was accused of molesting his patients, some of whom were as young as 12.

His patients said that they came in for breast enhancements or reductions, yet Takasugi told them to take all their clothes off. Then he touched and photographed them. To explain this behavior, Takasugi told the Sacramento Bee:

What I did was misconstrued medical procedures.

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December 16, 2009 | 0 comments
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 1:16pm

Don’t spit out your fruitcake, but are the ingredients in it safe? A couple of recent federal auditor reports suggest that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration needs to step up its efforts to protect the nation’s food supply in two areas: tracing ingredients through the food supply chain and ensuring that food companies register with the federal agency.

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December 15, 2009 | 0 comments
Monday, December 14, 2009 - 10:20am

Deadlines to apply for workshops at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting are approaching.

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December 14, 2009 | 0 comments
Monday, December 14, 2009 - 6:00am

It’s safe to say that most health writers pay attention when Tracy Weber and Charlie Ornstein publish something.

They have been called the Woodward and Bernstein of health reporting. The comparison fits because these two have few peers in their ability to dig for documents, cajole sources into talking and embarrass powerful public figures.

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December 14, 2009 | 0 comments
Friday, December 11, 2009 - 6:00am

Freelance journalist Martha Rosenberg recently made an interesting comparison between embattled drug giant Wyeth and former insurance giant AIG. The latter famously handed out massive bonuses and planned lavish company retreats at a time when the company was receiving billions in federal bailout funds.

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December 11, 2009 | 0 comments
Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 2:02pm

The Senate may be taking a temporary break from health reform, but a journalist’s quest for fresh angles on the topic never wanes. (If you’re looking for some ideas, check out my previous tips here.)

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December 10, 2009 | 0 comments
Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 11:25am

Front Groups opposing healthcare reform have gone virtual. You know those games those people with seemingly lots of spare time on their hands play on Facebook? The Silicon Alley Insider reports that astroturf groups are paying gamers in fake currency if they take surveys. The surveys then automatically send a letter opposing healthcare to Congress.

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December 10, 2009 | 0 comments
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 3:00am

Dr. Panayiotis Baltatzis has been given many chances.

In 1995, the Maryland State Board of Physicians placed Baltatzis on probation after other physicians in a peer review process found that he had, among other things, prescribed narcotics to patients he had not adequately evaluated. The doctor, who practices in Baltimore area, was supposed to take a class in prescribing controlled substances and submit to annual peer review of his practice.

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December 09, 2009 | 0 comments
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 4:00pm

When Los Angeles Times reporter Lisa Girion and health policy consultant Peter Harbage talk about health reform and health insurance, the result is an exceedingly well-informed discussion with lots of concrete story ideas for journalists.

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December 08, 2009 | 0 comments
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 12:00pm

The shimmering blue lights of the Terminal Island Bridge, rising above the Port of Los Angeles, belie the intense pollution that emanates from the nation’s largest port and compromises the health of nearby communities.  

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December 08, 2009 | 1 comments
Monday, December 7, 2009 - 11:16am

Larry Adelman, executive producer of the "Unnatural Causes" documentary series, and Dr. Anthony Iton, senior vice president for healthy communities at the California Endowment, will be joining Bay Area News Group for a live online chat about health inequities.

The discussion will begin at noon today at www.ContraCostaTimes.com/life-expectancy. Please feel free to join us.

This is part of a four-part series on health inequities that we began publishing Sunday.

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December 07, 2009 | 0 comments
Monday, December 7, 2009 - 3:00am

In June 2002, Dr. David F. Archer had a paper published under his name that reassured women everywhere that they could take antibiotics and birth control pills at the same time and not worry about pregnancy. The article was music to the ears of executives at Wyeth, the drug company giant.

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December 07, 2009 | 0 comments
Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 12:47pm


Craig Rosa
is relatively new to the news arena. Before becoming the senior interactive producer for KQED in San Franciscion, he was creating innovative educational programs at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. He has put that educational know-how to work for QUEST, KQED's multimedia series about Bay Area science and environmental news.

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December 06, 2009 | 0 comments
Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 10:25am

Robert Davis, Ph.D., M.P.H. is on a mission: Reporters need to put on their skeptics' hats when they report on the latest and greatest in medical research.

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December 06, 2009 | 0 comments

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