How can health care and journalism organizations work together to create digital stories that improve both the health care system and an individual’s health? As I seek answers during my RJI Fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, I’ll rely on two life experiences: I’m an ex-health care administrator who later got a Ph.D. from the Missouri School of Journalism.

Journalists have the skills and perspective to create powerful stories. Journalism organizations could leverage this capacity to create digital stories for health care organizations. These stories could teach invaluable lessons to patients and medical professionals in powerful ways.

Stories that could improve health and health care include:

  • A diabetic man’s journey of getting his disease under control.
  • An uninsured woman who falls into the no-man’s land of neither qualifying for Medicaid nor qualifying for subsidies to buy coverage on the insurance exchange.
  • A family member’s experience with a loved one’s end-of-life care that was more “medicalized” than the patient would have wanted.

My project assumes a common ground between health care and journalism organizations where they could work together and each can benefit. My first task, though, is to speak with leaders on both sides to learn about their mutual interests in such an endeavor.

I’m prepared to go where the feedback leads, and I’m confident the answers will yield useful insights to both health care and journalism.

Brian Hensel  
University fellow


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