The ceremonial dinners over, the Hunt Fellowship got under way in earnest today with a series of engaging presentations, lectures and discussions.
As I mentioned yesterday, our group of fellows receiving support to do health care projects hails from all over the country and Puerto Rico. Members work in print, radio, or both, and in both Spanish or English.
In short, it’s an impressive group, and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Today we heard from a number of speakers, with the presentations alternating between lawyer, writer and advocate Angela Glover Blackwell, who talked about the health impact of the nation’s failure to deal with race. Her speech sparked an engaging post-session discussion that would be continued during the evening about to what degree race is a, but not the, most important variable to consider in evaluating these issues.
Former fellows and award winners Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman shared the story behind the story of their analysis of 80 Bay Area zip codes whose life span averages varied by 16 years, with residents in Walnut Creek, one of the wealthiest areas they examined, having an average age of 87 years, compared with a poorer community, where the life span was just 71 years.
The project included mapping based on data from area public health departments, several multi-media stories and a four-part series. It also included a helpful tip sheet around topics like connecting with sources and the timing of enlisting editorial support.
After lunch Robert Oglivie spoke about how to create a healthier future with development and redevelopment. Peppered with examples and photographs, his presentation was based on a national perspective about how to make the healthy choice become the easy choice.
Finally, Fran Kaufman, an accomplished and witty doctor, and Maureen O’Hagan, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter from the Seattle Times, talked about childhood obesity from clinical and journalistic perspectives. This also led to an animated discussion about the role of individual and collective responsibility, what part the food industry and our culture and lifestyle play in creating endless opportunities and far less distinct times to eat, respectively.
One of the fellows asked about research that considered the notion that asking some of the folks and communities being studied to give up one of the easiest available pleasures in an often difficult life can be a hard thing to do.
In short, I’m glad that I took a lot of notes and remembered being a participant for the first time at a Facing History seminar in 1995 at Pine Manor College, both excited about all that I am learning and aware that far more information is being mentioned than I can talk in fully at the moment.
In short, it was a full, rich and informative day, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
For now, though, it’s time to wind down and head to sleep as part of my ongoing effort to adjust to Pacific Time.