Association of Health Care Journalists

For the last four years, Scott PR has been privileged to attend the annual Association of Health Care Journalists’ (AHCJ) conference with our non-profit clients. The experience of seeing journalists face to face, talking about their interests, and attending some fantastic workshops looking behind the scenes at the health care headlines provides a great boon to our work. But what has been just as valuable, is the inspiration and insights of the keynote speakers whose passion and commitment jolts my awareness that health care is not a business, it’s a calling. A calling that at its best, raises up the individuals and groups most in need of help. Here’s what I think about when I want to invigorate my own passion for this vocation:

–      Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, the first individual from an immigrant family in this     position, spoke on the value of yoga and medication for better health and, in particular, for children struggling in school and with difficult life situations. If we could prevent the scars of childhood trauma, how much healthier would we all be?

–        David Shulkin, then Undersecretary of Health for the VA, about the innovation being piloted by the VA to help our nation’s veterans – intelligent prosthesis, telehealth, electronic medical record integration. If they don’t deserve integrated health care, who does?

–        Donald K. Warne, a physician and a Native American serving as senior policy adviser of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board , on his dual view of his people and the intertwining of health, poverty, nutrition, and substance abuse in shaping the lives and futures of these people – including the childhood traumas of being ripped form their families and their culture and sent to “white” educational institutions.

–        Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone, on the dedication of doctors and nurses taking care of AIDS patients in the early days of the epidemic, in the Heartland of America.

So, thanks, AHCJ, for not only the training and mentoring you provide to journalists, novice through experienced, but for reminding us of the people and causes that make what you do – and what we do – meaningful.

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