On Friday, Nov. 10 in Madisonville, the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will present the latest in their series of workshops to help local journalists cover health care and health in Kentucky.
The presenters will include Al Cross, director of the institute and editor-publisher of Kentucky Health News; KHN reporter Melissa Patrick, a former nurse; Dr. Ellen Hahn of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, who directs the Bridging Research Efforts and Advocacy Toward Health Environments (BREATHE) program; and Wayne Meriwether, CEO of Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Leitchfield, a leader of the Population Health Committee in Grayson County.
"Covering Health: A News Workshop" will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ballard Convention Center, near the KY 70 interchange with Interstate 69 (formerly the Pennyrile Parkway). Lunch will be served, and the event will be free of charge, thanks to support from the foundation.
"We hope many reporters and editors who cover Western Kentucky will spend a few hours with us to learn how their reporting can help their readers, listeners and viewers live healthier lives and better understand the health-policy debates going on in Frankfort and Washington," Cross said. "We also invite their suggestions for the program."
The program will include:
- Information about the major health issues facing Kentucky, with special attention to Western Kentucky and the counties represented by the attendees
- An explanation of the Medicaid program and the changes that the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin wants to make (and which may be federally approved by Nov. 10)
- An explanation of health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and the issues in play in Congress and the Trump administration
- How to gather and use health data on your county to do stories that help your readers, viewers and listeners realize the depth of the health issues facing your community
- How drug abuse has become less of a law-enforcement issue and more of a health issue, and the issue of syringe exchanges to prevent outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C
- The impact of tobacco on Kentucky's health and the issues around local and state laws to limit smoking
- How a local health coalition in Grayson County won passage of smoke-free ordinances
- How to cover local health issues, including your health department, health board and hospital