The Urban Health Media Project was founded by Reed V. Tuckson, M.D. and Jayne O’Donnell, Healthcare Policy Reporter at USA Today, to augment current public discourse on health policy issues with informed perspectives from adolescents.
For 40 years, Dr. Tuckson has been an advocate for the optimal health of American people. Ms. O’Donnell has a long and distinguished career as a health journalist who has covered the major health issues confronting our nation. Jayne and Reed understand the importance of including multiple perspectives in the national and local political and policy discourse in order to optimize the health of our nation, our communities, families and individuals.
The Urban Health Media Project understands that “healthiness” results from a variety of comprehensive forces as described by the World Health Organization: “Healthiness is not the absence of disease, but the mental, physical and spiritual well being of a person or community.” Not a day goes by without a news report highlighting socioeconomic and racial disparities in health outcomes; the insidious impact of violence and concern about the interactions between young people and law enforcement; the alarming rise in preventable chronic illness; and the importance of health policy concerns within the American political discourse.
The Urban Health Media Project is intended to identify, train and deploy cadres of student health journalists to engage with significant community, health and political leaders to explore key issues from their perspectives. Through wide dissemination of their reportage, these young journalists will make a meaningful contribution to a more holistic, insightful and inclusionary public policy formulation.
The Urban Health Media Project will be conducted under the auspices and expertise of the journalism programs at Howard University in Washington and Morgan State University in Baltimore. The Project will be led by Associate Professor Yanick Rice Lamb, Chair, Department of Media, Journalism and Film in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University and Associate Professor Jacqueline Jones, Chair, Department of Multimedia Journalism in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University. Both institutions have an impressive track record of excellence in journalism and education and share a passion for using journalism as a mechanism for responsible and inclusionary public policy formulation. Their reputations will permit access to exemplary working journalists who will help train participating students about the fundamentals of journalism and provide access to inspiring role models.
All of us at The Urban Health Media Project are indebted to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its financial and intellectual support. This Foundation has a long history of working with communities to create the conditions necessary for optimal health. We anticipate that this project will add important perspectives to those efforts.