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Boston,Massachusetts,United States

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Waitressing proved good training for my freelance journalism career. I had to keep track of a lot of tables. Each customer wanted something different. Some sent their meals back with a snarky comments. I would get great tips on day and stiffed the next. Either way, I never seemed to make enough.

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has lived inside the "hot zone" for much of her reporting career. She honed her craft at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she was much admired for her coverage of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It takes skill to persuade any large government agency to give up some of its secrets, but McKenna did just that and turned them into fascinating stories. She has since taken the enviable career path of writing books.

Picture of William Heisel

Scott Reuben, a Massachusetts anesthesiologist, had landed a job as the chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. He also had published dozens of papers in academic journals touting the benefits of painkillers made by drug giants Pfizer and Merck.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

ReportingonHealth’s Antidote blogger, William Heisel, recently posted his 10 favorite stories of the year. Most of them had an investigative bent. Now, it’s my turn.

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Chemical remains pose health hazards to fish, migrant fishermenFor decades the Nyanza Color & Chemical plant manufactured dye and textile chemicals in Ashland, Massachusetts. The site was settled in a populated area and was first identified as a hazard in 1971, when pollution was found in the nearby Sudbury River, once considered as a potential source of drinking water for the Boston area. In 1982 the site was put on the Superfund National Priority List and shut down. Over 45,000 tons of chemical sludge had been generated by the waste water treatment processes.

Picture of William Heisel

Thomas Sullivan founded , a medical education company in 1995. Since then, the company has had success creating continuing medical education materials with funding from big drug company clients and nonprofit groups such as the American Heart Association. On his , Sullivan and Dr.

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We continue our 5-part series on the high cost of health care in America.

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What does it take to get a new, large National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant in these lean times?

Picture of William Heisel

Andrew Schneider is one of the country's most accomplished investigative journalists. His work has won not just , but Pulitzer Prizes, and countless other awards. I had the privilege of meeting him when both of us were finalists for the for Investigative Reporting at Harvard. My team lost. So did his.

Picture of Ajay Singh

Every few decades, a flu pandemic spreads westward from Asia. The last one, in 1968, was relatively mild - and we have yet to see the full damage caused by the swine flu outbreak. But the next pandemic is inevitable - and it’s likely to come from China.

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If you're a journalist with big ideas who wants your work to matter, the Center for Health Journalism invites you to apply for the all-expenses-paid-- five days of stimulating discussions in Los Angeles about social and health safety net issues, reporting and engagement grants of $2,000-$12,000 and six months of expert mentoring.

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