A student reporter interviews a worker outdoors in a field.

RWJF Southwest Health Reporting Initiative

Our health reporting team produces award-winning work about health disparities in underserved communities, and efforts to turn things around.

Gain health reporting experience

The COVID-19 pandemic made clear that coverage of health disparities in underserved communities is vital – and that journalists and communications specialists must understand these communities and the issues they face.

Part of Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS, the Southwest Health Reporting Initiative produces comprehensive coverage of health issues across the Southwest. Students report from communities of color but also focus on matters important to the LGBTQ community, rural America, people with disabilities, and others who struggle to get the health care they need. Our students’ storytelling aims to highlight not just problems, but solutions. 

The team’s work has been featured in outlets including The Associated Press, PBS NewsHour, Univision, Indian Country Today, The Washington Times and NPR member station KJZZ, as well as in publications in Canada, Mexico and Guatemala. Students have been honored with numerous awards for their print, broadcast, audio and photography efforts.

The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Previous experience or knowledge of health reporting is not required.

This initiative is made possible through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is committed to improving health and health care in the U.S. Graduate students interested in assistantships should contact Cronkite Senior Associate Dean Rebecca Blatt.

Join the conversaion

Pathways to Equity is a monthly newsletter that discusses health disparities in underserved communities across the Southwest – and about those on the ground trying to turn things around. If you work in health care or have an interest in health reporting, subscribe and join the conversation

Health reporting projects

Cronkite students interview a Native American woman.

Confronting maternal mortality

“As journalists, it’s imperative that our work is inclusive of all voices. This program gave me the opportunity to unapologetically pursue stories of this nature.” – Digital reporter Kyley Warren

A Cronkite student interviews a man.

Combating COVID-19

“I reported on and produced stories that I know … had an impact, empowering people in tough situations and raising awareness for health disparities.” – Audio/digital reporter Anthony Wallace

RWJF student edits video package about disparities in suicides.

Addressing disparities in suicide

“I will never forget how thankful many of the communities we covered were, for finally being `talked with’ instead of `talked about.’” – Broadcast reporter Jennifer Alvarez

Course Prerequisites

Students who seek to use this course as a capstone experience must complete the same prerequisites of Cronkite News. Please direct questions to the faculty listed below, or your academic adviser.