The fellowship is designed to help the media improve its coverage of critical health care issues. It does that by bringing in as speakers more than 90 top health officials, practitioners, researchers, and patients. It also brings the fellows out to watch first-hand how the system works, from walking the streets at night with mental health case workers to riding in a Medflight helicopter or spending a morning in a crowded emergency room.
The fellowship runs for nine days. It is housed at Babson College’s Center for Executive Education in Wellesley, and is operated in collaboration with leading journalism organizations. Larry Tye, who covered health and environmental issues at the Boston Globe for 15 years, directs the program. A former Nieman Fellow and author of seven books, Tye has taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, Tufts, and Harvard.
The fellowship focuses on a series of pressing medical issues – from implementing health care reform to curbing costs, addressing mental illness, and redressing public health threats. Attention is also given to breakthroughs in medical treatments and innovations in the delivery of care.
The teaching does not end when fellows head back to their stations or papers. Tye, the program director, is on call for the journalists for the full year following their nine days in Wellesley. He helps when the journalists are stuck for ideas or whom to call on a story and assists in thinking out projects and carving out clearer definitions of beats.
The 2021 Health Coverage Fellowship took place from September 17 to September 25, 2021. See the program schedule here.
Click here for recordings of the Fellowship's COVID-19-related Zoom briefings.