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Kaiser News grabs Galewitz

6/2/2009 Health News Florida
A national health news service launched Monday in Washington, D.C., has hired The Palm Beach Post's Phil Galewitz, one of the most experienced health journalists in Florida, for its reporting staff. Galewitz will start with Kaiser Health News on June 15. 

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit news organization committed to in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics. In fact, its mission is akin to that of this publication, Health News Florida, except that it works on a much grander scale.  

KHN is a major program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, CA. The foundation is dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible analysis and information on health issues. 

Galewitz is moving to Washington, D.C. at a time when the subject he covers -- health access, cost and quality -- seems destined to dominate the political landscape. 

"It's difficult to leave The Palm Beach Post, where I have spent 12 of the past 15 years, but the opportunity to cover national health care issues in Washington while the health reform debate is finally raging is too enticing," Galewitz told fellow members of the board of Health News Florida Monday in an e-mail. 

"The chance to join the non-profit, foundation-supported journalism model is also quite exciting, as is the freedom to do in-depth reporting on heath issues," he said. "Kaiser has hired some top health journalists for the news service and I feel honored to be among them."

He said he hopes to be able to remain a member of Health News Florida's volunteer board of directors. Board President Jay Wolfson, Distinguished Service Professor for Public Health and Medicine at University of South Florida, said Galewitz's move is Florida's loss but it's "an exceptional gain for Kaiser."

Matt James, the Foundation’s senior vice president for media and public education, will oversee the operation of KHN. James, who has been an enthusiastic  supporter of Health News Florida, says he sees the non-profit online model as the hope for in-depth journalism at a time of great financial strain and staff cutbacks at newspapers. 

KHN will distribute articles, news summaries, interviews and multimedia content through its Web site, www.kaiserhealthnews.org, and through partnerships with leading news organizations, including The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR News and The New Republic.

"Our mission and our challenge with Kaiser Health News is to do in-depth coverage of health policy that informs and explains and that increasingly cannot be done in the mainstream news business," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.

KHN is a major program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit, private operating foundation dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible analysis and information on health issues. All KHN content is available to other news organizations and the public free of charge.

KHN is headed by Executive Editors Laurie McGinley, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, and Peggy Girshman, previously of Congressional Quarterly and NPR. They will have responsibility for all editorial decisions about news content. KHN will begin with a team of 18.

In addition to Galewitz, reporters include Julie Appleby, MPH, former health care industry and policy reporter for USA Today; Mary Agnes Carey, former associate editor for CQ HealthBeat; and Jordan Rau, former political and health policy reporter in the Sacramento bureau of The Los Angeles Times. John Fairhall, who is KHN’s senior editor, was an assistant managing editor at The Baltimore Sun for projects and health and science coverage. Well-known health policy journalist Julie Rovner will also be a contributor as part of a partnership between KHN and NPR.

Among the members of KHN's National Advisory Committee are two prominent Florida journalists: Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami, and Karen Dunlap, president and trustee of the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg. The advisory committee is led by Leonard Downie, Jr., vice president at large, The Washington Post.