New Grants for Reporting on How Health Systems Contribute to Health Disparities

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Annenberg School for Journalism & Communication

Release Date

Tuesday, November 2, 2021


Racial disparities permeate just about every health outcome -- from maternal and infant mortality to survival rates for various cancers to the likelihood of developing diabetes or heart or kidney disease. Pick just about any serious medical condition (including COVID-19), and you're likely to find that people of color suffer disproportionately from it.

The reasons are complex,and include genetics, poverty, environmental conditions and health behaviors. But there's increasing evidence that inequities in our health system are a major contributor to health disparities.

With support from The Commonwealth Fund, the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism is launching a new Impact Fund for Reporting on Health Equity and Health Systems. The Fund will support ambitious investigative or explanatory projects on how systemic issues in health care policy and practice result in inequities in access to health care, the quality of treatment, patient experiences and health outcomes for people of color. This fund will provide reporting grants of $2,000-$10,000 and five months of mentoring by veteran journalists to up to eight competitively chosen journalists from around the country. Grantees also will benefit from online trainings focused on the interplay between health systems and health equity and participate in monthly meetings with other grantees.

This new fund is in addition to our 2021 California Impact Fundnow in its fourth year, which provides support to journalists reporting California-focused projects on community well-being, health equity, economic security and racial justice.

Through our new fund, journalists can receive critical financial support and mentoring as the nation continues to reckon with the COVID-19 pandemic and the race- and ethnicity-based health disparities it exposed.

We seek applications from journalists who want to tackle ambitious investigative or explanatory projects as individuals, as part of a newsroom-wide undertaking or in collaboration with other media outlets. The Fund aims to advance what the Center for Health Journalism calls “impact journalism,” which marries powerful narratives, data and community engagement to serve as a catalyst for change. Journalists who propose collaborations between mainstream and ethnic outlets receive priority consideration. 

Visit our website for more details about what we're looking for and how to apply. To maximize your prospects for being selected, we strongly suggest a advance conversation in advance of applying. Write to Martha Shirk at to schedule.

The deadline to apply is November 30, with awards to be announced in January.

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