The Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism is requesting $50,000 to support the Center's educational program at Health Journalism 2013, the national conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists. It is scheduled to take place March 14-17, 2013 in Boston. The Center ensures that journalists are properly trained to cover news, trends and issues in all aspects of health and health care. AHRQ first supported this conference in 2000. The Center and AHCJ have a proven track record that helps fulfill AHRQ's mission to enhance the quality, appropriateness and effectiveness of health services, and access to such services by strengthening the knowledge and skills of journalists who disseminate information to the public. Each year, the Center offers workshops and panel sessions on evidence-based medicine, covering the quality of care, upgrading skills and knowledge in properly analyzing data. Sponsorships and grants help keep registration and other expenses low for attendees. The planning team has extensive experience in conducting large- scale training events for journalists. The PI, for example, has led planning for more than two-dozen national conferences serving at least 10,000 journalists. The conference will allow opportunities to acquaint many journalists with health care comparative effectiveness research and data. The Center will work to extend the reach and impact of important research in the areas of effective health care and further educate journalists with issues and problems in the delivery of health services and will summarize research findings on improving quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness for health care. The 2013 conference fits the Agency's interest in supporting improvements in health outcomes, strengthening quality measurement and improvement and identifying strategies to improve access, foster appropriate use and reduce expenditures. The conference will include more than 120 speakers and more than 40 panel sessions, workshops, classes and field trips. Because of the targeted audience, the conference is a massive dissemination vehicle in itself. The information taught and shared with the attendees will be blogged, tweeted, reported as breaking news and turned into longer-term projects localized for communities across the country. Other dissemination plans include the posting of proceedings on www.healthjournalism.org, summaries presented in the newsletter HealthBeat, and the creation of training materials for use in a new web-based core curriculum for journalists.
The conference sessions, sources and reporting guide handouts will strengthen the knowledge and skills of journalists who disseminate information to the public. Instruction on how to pursue specific story ideas and health data will allow health reporters to return to their communities and quickly produce important news stories that can lead to improved localized health activity.