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Health Coverage Fellowship has new members

BOSTON — Eleven medical journalists from across the nation were recently named to the 2011 class of the Health Coverage Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to help the media do a better job covering critical health care issues. It does that by bringing in as speakers more than 50 top health officials, policy people, 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 a Medflight helicopter. The program, which is celebrating its tenth year, is sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation with support from the Maine Health Access Foundation, Connecticut Health Foundation, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Blue Shield of California Foundation and New Hampshire's Endowment for Health. The fellowship will run for nine days, beginning April 29. 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 five books, Tye has taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, Tufts, and Harvard. The 2011 class includes Nurith Celina Aizenman of the Washington Post; Barbara Anderson of the Fresno Bee; Arielle Levin Becker of the Connecticut Mirror; Anika Clark of the Standard-Times in New Bedford, Mass.; Elaine Grant of New Hampshire Public Radio; Deborah Kotz of the Boston Globe; John Richardson of the Portland Press Herald in Maine; Nancy Reardon Stewart of the PatriotLedger in Quincy, Mass.; Meg Tirrell of Bloomberg News; Bianca Vazquez Toness of WBUR-Radio in Boston; and Jena Wiley Triggs of WCVB-TV 5 in Boston. The fellowship will focus on a series of pressing medical issues from implementing health care reform to curbing costs, addressing mental illness and redressing public health threats. 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 for whom to call on a story. He will assist in thinking out projects and carving out clearer definitions of beats. He also maintains a web site where fellows will post their stories and keep in touch.

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