Health Coverage Fellowship Chooses Class for 2020

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Health Coverage Fellowship Chooses Class for 2020

BOSTON (December 5, 2019) – The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation today announced that twelve medical journalists from across the nation have been selected for the 2020 class of the Health Coverage Fellowship.

The 2020 fellows are Yasmeen Abutaleb of the Washington Post, Anna Almendrala of Kaiser Health News, Caitlin Andrews of the Bangor Daily News, Jack Bologna of the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, MS, Victoria Colliver of Politico, Elisabeth Harrison of WBUR Radio in Boston, Akilah Johnson of ProPublica, Jason Moon of New Hampshire Public Radio, Michael Nedelman of CNN, Sophie Novack of the Texas Observer, Jayne O’Donnell of USA Today, and Cristina Quinn of WGBH Radio in Boston.

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 75 health officials, practitioners, researchers, and patients. It also brings the journalists out to watch first-hand how the system works, from walking the streets at night with mental health case workers to visiting the world’s biggest brain bank.

The program, which is entering its nineteenth year, is sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, with support from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, Bower Foundation in Mississippi, Endowment for Health in New Hampshire, Kresge Foundation, Louis and Harold Price Foundation, Maine Health Access Foundation, National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and, in Texas, the Episcopal Health Foundation, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, and St. David’s Foundation.

The fellowship will run for nine days, beginning March 27, 2020. It is housed at Babson College’s Center for Executive Education in Wellesley, MA. 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 eight books, Tye has taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, Tufts, and Harvard.

Next spring’s fellowship will focus on a series of pressing issues – from curbing health care costs to addressing mental illness, redressing public health threats, and rethinking late-in-life issues. Attention also will be given to breakthroughs in medical treatments and innovations in the delivery of care.

The teaching will not end when fellows head back to their stations or papers. Tye, the program director, will be on call for the journalists for the full year following their nine days in Wellesley. He will help when they are stuck for ideas or whom to call on a story. He also will assist in thinking out projects and carving out clearer definitions of beats.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation

The mission of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is to expand access to health care for low-income and vulnerable individuals and families in the Commonwealth.  The Foundation was founded in 2001 with an initial endowment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.  It operates separately from the company and is governed by its own Board of Directors.

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