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2016 National Fellowship

Program Description: 

Twenty-three journalists joined us for an all-expenses-paid five-day training program at our home base on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, an international city that has been called a "proving ground" for a multicultural society.

The 2016 program was designed for journalists who want to do groundbreaking reporting on vulnerable children and families and the community conditions that contribute to their well-being. Fellows gained insights into the latest research on how a child’s lifetime development is affected by early experiences of trauma, including abuse, neglect, parental stress and community violence. Other workshops and discussions – with distinguished journalists, researchers, clinicians and community case workers -- delved into the impact of poverty on children, including food insecurity, substandard housing and parents’ economic insecurity.

We also explored the connections between health and place, or how neighborhood, work and home environments impact health, well-being and life expectancy. Journalists learned about innovative prevention and clinical programs that suggest ways to address chronic ills.

Fellows also received advice on engagement strategies that can help to maximize the impact of reporting. We challenged them to engage more deeply with the communities their news outlet serves. Each Fellow will receive a  grant of $2,000-$10,000 and six months of mentoring by a senior journalist.

The 2016 National Fellowship was underwritten by generous grants from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment.

Click here for a list of the 2016 National Fellows and links to their reporting projects.



  • Anne Fernald, Ph.D., director of the Center for Infant Studies at Stanford University, on the "word gap" between infants in different socioeconomic groups
  • Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., senior vice president for Healthy Communities for The California Endowment,  on health disparities 
  • Alice Kuo, M.D. professor of pediatrics at UCLA's John Geffen School of Medicine, and Laura Speer, who oversees the annual KidsCount report for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, on child health trends
  • Pat Levitt, Ph.D., provost professor at USC Keck School of Medicine, on how experiences in early childhood lead to structural and biological changes in the brain
  • Field Trip to Children’s Institute to observe evidence­‐based interventions and two-generational approaches to family trauma and violence 
  • A hands-on half-day workshop on data analysis and data visualization led by Paul Overberg, data journalist at the Wall Street Journal, and Ben Jones, director of Tableau Public
  • A session on community engagement featuring Terry Parris Jr., community editor for Pro Publica, and Lindsay Green-Barber, director of strategic research at  Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal
  • A "toxic tour" to a neighborhood polluted by fallout from local industry
  • Bruce Lanphear, M.D., M.P.H., of Simon Fraser University on the threats to children of toxic exposures
  • Glenda Wrenn, M.D., M.P.H.,  director of behavioral health for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Moorehouse School of Medicine, a Johnny Madrid, an advocate for foster youth, on resilience
  • Nancy Cambria, a 2015 National Fellow and reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on challenges in reporting on children living in poverty


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The Center for Health Journalism is dedicated to supporting journalists covering two of the biggest stories of our time — the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism and inequities in America. We provide reporters with intensive training instituteswebinars and tips about craft and content and are providing deep and sustained support for reporters and their newsrooms in this historic and difficult moment. You can donate through the USC web portal at this link. Pressed for time? You can also text to donate! No amount is too small; just send a text to 41-444 and type the message CHJ for further instructions.


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