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View from the mountaintop of health care journalism (literally & figuratively)

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After 2+ days of nonstop epidemiology, biostats, evidence-based journalism training at the NIH Medicine in the Media workshop, hosted at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire this week, many participants broke for a healthy hike up to Holt’s Ledge at the Dartmouth skiway.

Medicine in Media group hike.jpg

Then they came down from the mountaintop and dug back into another day of training.

Kudos to Dr. Barry Kramer, founder of these workshops, which have now trained about 450 journalists in 9 sessions over the past 10 years. And to Drs. Steve Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz of Dartmouth who have continued to refine the curriculum. Other kudos to Kelli Marciel, Gil Welch, Emily DeVoto, Jennifer Croswell and others who have contributed mightily to the success of this effort through the years.

I have now spoken at 4 or 5 of these, am always honored to be asked back, and continue to learn myself each time I attend.

No one who attends these workshops is ever the same.

They learn about hype.
They learn how to scrutinize claims.
They learn that a publication in a medical journal isn’t bulletproof.
They learn the hierarchy of evidence.
They learn the limitations of observational studies.
They learn from good and bad examples of health care journalism.

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Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.

Susan Fitzgerald

July 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

This is great work you’re doing – a service to the nation.
The Oregon Association of Newspaper Publishers just reported the dozens of winners of this year’s awards — I didn’t see a category for health. But it’d be great to see any news association’s health awards use your criteria for reporting as part of its rating.
Thanks for the tip on the mousepads with the 10 criteria for evaluating health research news – getting them to circulate among reporters in Pacific NW.

Patrick Center

July 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Gary:
What a great program!
I’d like to thank those who offered their expertise and everyone who attended.
Already I’m questioning a news release from the Van Andel Institute – NEW USE FOR AN OLD DRUG: CHLOROQUINE FINDING MAY LEAD TO TREATMENTS FOR ARTHRITIS, CANCER, AND OTHER DISEASES.
“Scientists demonstrate on the molecular level how the anti-malaria drug chloroquine represses inflammation, which may provide a blueprint for new strategies for treating inflammation and a multitude of autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and certain cancers.”
When I requested more info the study was sent to me.
Too bad there weren’t some numbers to crunch for determining absolute or relative risk.
It turned out to be a study of mice (on the molecular level).
I’m going to monitor how many local outlets cover this story as “news.”
Gary, I’m thankful for the opportunity to have met you and discuss news coverage. Brew in good health!
Patrick Center
News Director
WGVU