Podcast: 10th anniversary for HealthNewsReview.org

10th anniv. candlesIn the spring of 2005, then-president Jack Fowler of the then-Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (FIMDM) approached me looking for ideas.  He wanted to bring ideas to his Board about how to reach the broader patient population beyond those that FIMDM was reaching with its condition-specific shared decision-making programs (which I had helped produce throughout the ’90s as an employee of FIMDM based at Dartmouth Medical School).

I immediately told him how much I admired a fledgling Media Doctor website in Australia, which was systematically reviewing health care news coverage in that country.  I thought the FIMDM mission of improving patient decision-making and the Media Doctor mission of improving media messages about health care intersected.  Fowler got the picture immediately, sold his Board on the idea, and granted me the first of 8 years of funding.

After a year of planning and building the team of reviewers and the website, we launched HealthNewsReview.org on April 17, 2006.

I have always been blessed by having a terrific team of contributors – about 70 different people at one time or another.  But four have been with me during the entire time:  Harold DeMonaco, and Drs. Steve Atlas, Karen Carlson and Kathleen Fairfield.

4 reviewers

I wanted you to be able to hear from all four in this 10th anniversary podcast. It is the industry-independent expertise of people like this that gave our project immediate street cred 10 years ago, with a reputation that has grown ever since.

Some stats and historical notes:

  • We have published 4,600 articles in 10 years.
  • We’ve won some awards, gained a ton of followers, made a lot of friends (and a few enemies, which is going to happen when  you do this kind of work for 10 years).
  • The four mentioned above are part of a team of 50 current editorial contributors – only 3 of whom are full-time. It’s a mix of journalists, clinician-researchers, and others trained in the evaluation of evidence – including 3 women with breast cancer trained in the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD training.
  • Low points:
    • Being warned by my university department head prior to launch in 2005 not to pursue this project because I’d never get tenure if I did.
    • Going 19 months without funding from 2013-2014, and keeping the site alive only by my own blogging.
  • High points:
    • 8 years of funding from the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.
    • Earning tenure in 2007 based primarily on the accomplishments of this project, which I had been warned not to pursue! (As it turns out, tenure became irrelevant when I resigned my faculty job to work on this project full-time.)
    • While teetering on the brink of shutdown in 2014, having the Laura and John Arnold Foundation approach me about prospects for new funding.
    • The phoenix-like comeback of 2015 with an expanded, invigorated team of contributors, the new feature of reviewing health care PR news (press) releases, and an explosion in traffic to the site.
  • Lessons learned:  countless – about marching to the beat of my own drummer, about perseverance, about how media messages can help or harm the public dialogue about health care, and about how you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.

In a talk I gave last week, I used this slide to try to explain why we’ve stuck with this for 10 years.

Augustine - Garcia


Thanks to The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation for providing us with a grant to produce these podcasts.

Credit:  podcast editor Cristeta Boarini

Music credit:

  • “Stand By Me” – Ben E. King
  • “Happy Anniversary” – Little River Band

iTunes ratings & reviewsPlease note: if you have listened to any of our podcasts and like what you’ve heard, we’d appreciate it if you’d leave a Review and a Rating on the iTunes webpage where our podcasts can be found: https://itun.es/i6S86Qw.  (You need to click on the “View in iTunes” button on the left of that page, then find the Ratings and Reviews tab.)

You can now subscribe to our podcasts on that iTunes page or via this RSS feed:  http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:167780656/sounds.rss

All episodes of our podcasts are archived on this page on HealthNewsReview.org.

You might also like

Comments

We Welcome Comments. But please note: We will delete comments left by anyone who doesn’t leave an actual first and last name and an actual email address.

We will delete comments that include personal attacks, unfounded allegations, unverified facts, product pitches, or profanity. We will also end any thread of repetitive comments. Comments should primarily discuss the quality (or lack thereof) in journalism or other media messages about health and medicine. This is not intended to be a forum for definitive discussions about medicine or science. Nor is it a forum to share your personal story about a disease or treatment -- your comment must relate to media messages about health care. If your comment doesn't adhere to these policies, we won't post it. Questions? Please see more on our comments policy.

Comments are closed.