Teena Apeles is the national engagement editor at the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism. A native Angeleno, prior to joining the Center, she spent two decades covering art, culture, activism, history, and beyond for print and online media, including the Los Angeles Times, KCET, PBS SoCal, PBS Canvas, LAist and Stacker. Apeles has authored two nonfiction books and contributed to and edited books on a wide range of topics, from public parks and urban wildlife to pop culture and social justice. In 2016, Teena founded the creative collective Narrated Objects, which produces community-generated books and interactive, intergenerational experiences to showcase the diverse voices of the region. Collaborators have included Homeboy Industries, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Mayo Clinic, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Autry Museum of the American West, Helms Bakery District, the National Wildlife Federation, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles initiative LA Original.
Apoorvaa Mandar Bichu
Apoorvaa “Apps” Mandar Bichu has served as communications strategist for the Center for Health Journalism since May 2023. She previously worked as a growth and justice reporter for MoCo360, a local news publication in Montgomery County, Maryland. She graduated from Northwestern University with a master's of science in journalism, specializing in social justice reporting. She has previously written for organizations such as The Chicago Reporter, Education Week, Omaha Magazine and Illinois Latino News, among others. She completed her bachelor of arts in journalism with a double specialization in news and public relations at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. While at Creighton, she served as the opinion editor of her college newspaper, “The Creightonian.”
Cassandra Garibay is the engagement editor for California Fellows and Impact Fund grantees at the Center for Health Journalism. She was raised in the Central San Joaquin Valley, where she reported on housing and homelessness at the nonprofit news organization Fresnoland, in partnership with the Fresno Bee. She completed her journalism degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and previously worked for the San Luis Obispo Tribune as a breaking news and health reporter. Cassandra has won two McClatchy President’s Awards for her work on projects supported by the Center for Health Journalism. She has also received several California New Publishers Association awards, the SAGE Publishing Award and the Cal Poly George Ramos Scholarship.
Michelle Levander is the founding director of the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism and editor-in-chief of its online community. Since she launched the Center in 2004, its journalism fellows have published more than 2,400 articles in partnership with the Center. Fellows’ stories have won distinction and changed laws, reinvigorated policy discussions and provoked new community discussions nationwide. Michelle launched the Center after more than 15 years as a staff reporter and editor in New York, California, Hong Kong and Mexico, working for Time Magazine Asia, the Asian Wall Street Journal and the San Jose Mercury News. She has received journalism awards from the Overseas Press Club of America (Best Reporting in Latin America), the Inter American Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists L.A. (Distinguished Work in New Media) as well as a Northern California Co-Producer Emmy Award (Spanish-language Outstanding Achievement Health Journalism). A former Inter American Press Association fellow, she spent a year in Mexico, at Mexico City's El Colegio de México and at El Colegio de Michoacán and researched migrant culture from rural Mexico. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Jane Oh is administrative budget assistant for the Center. She joined the team in 2022. She started her professional career at USC School of Cinematic Arts as an accounting technician. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a minor in enterprise information systems, from USC in 2017.
Andrew Perez is project specialist for the Center. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California after transferring from El Camino College in Torrance, California. He has a background in theater costuming and fashion and was involved in LGBTQ+ student leadership during his time at USC.
Jacqueline Stenson is the manager of projects at the USC Center for Health Journalism. She has worked as a health reporter and editor with multiple media outlets, including NBC News/MSNBC, Condé Nast Publications and the Medical Tribune News Service distributed through The New York Times Syndicate. Her freelance work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, NBC News, TODAY.com, Health, Self, Shape and more. She has taught journalism and nonfiction writing classes for two decades at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. She earned her master’s degree from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and her bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Communications.
Shelly Wang, project manager, joined the Center in 2015 after seven years in accounting and financial analytics in several industries. She received bachelor’s degrees in applied math and management science, with a minor in Chinese studies, from UC San Diego.
Ryan White is content editor of CenterforHealthJournalism.org, where he oversees daily content across a range of health topics. He also is the lead for the Center’s Health Matters webinar series. Ryan has nearly two decades of experience reporting, writing and editing for newspapers in California, national magazines and online outlets. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2003, Ryan reported widely on the environment, local politics, urban planning, affordable housing and public health issues throughout the Bay Area and Los Angeles. In the past, he’s worked on KQED’s public television program “This Week in Northern California,” served as the editor of the Alameda Sun, worked as a reporter and editor for Marinscope Community Newspapers and freelanced for a long list of outlets. He was a 2012 California Fellow, reporting on the plight of the “anchor out” community in San Francisco Bay.
Our Advisory Board
Bob Ortega (Chair)
Bob Ortega (Chair) is a senior writer for CNN Investigates. Prior to joining CNN he spent six years at the Arizona Republic as a specialty writer covering the border and focusing on child welfare. He also served as managing editor for the Honolulu Civil Beat, which focuses on accountability journalism. He began his journalism career as a television reporter in Fairbanks, Juneau, and Anchorage. He also reported for the Anchorage Times, then as managing editor of the Homer News before moving to the Seattle Times and the Wall Street Journal, where he reported on child labor and other issues. While at the Journal, he wrote "In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and Walmart, the World's Largest Retailer." Bob served as a Knight International Press Fellow in Paraguay and has trained journalists in 17 countries. He has received the Hillman Prize for social justice reporting; the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism; and the Sidney Award for reporting on a deeply flawed and widely used screening test for cervical cancer. He has also been a professor of journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. He grew up in Mexico City. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University and a masters degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He was a 2014 Center for Health Journalism National Fellow, serves regularly as a Senior Fellow in the Center’s National Fellowships and is chair of the Center’s Advisory Board.
Tracie Potts (Vice Chair)
Tracie Potts became executive director of the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College in October 2021. The institute promotes nonpartisan discourse and critical analysis of issues of long-term importance, educating and engaging the public, and preparing undergraduates to assume their responsibility as global citizens. Previously, she worked as a Washington correspondent for NBC News Channel for almost 25 years, reporting on the federal government, the administration, Congress and important consumer and health topics. She began her career as a local health reporter at WAFF 48 News in Huntsville, Alabama and also worked as an anchor and reporter at local NBC and ABC stations in Alabama and Tennessee. She was a 2017 Center for Health Journalism National Fellow and is vice chair of the Center’s Advisory Board. She has been a fellow of the National Press Foundation, the Poynter Institute and the Journalism Center on Children and Families. She won the Michelle Clark Fellowship from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation and has twice received NBC’s “Ovation” Award for outstanding employee contributions. She has taught journalism at Knoxville College and Biola University and edited the debut issue of “Influence” magazine. She earned bachelor and master of science degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Bill Allman is chief digital officer of Jump Shift Digital, a digital strategy consulting firm. Previously, he was chief digital officer for DIA GLobal (formerly the Drug Information Association) charged with identifying, developing and implementing DIA’s digital strategy to create digital products and services that enhance DIA’s relevance and global impact. Before that, he served for eight years as the chief digital officer for Smithsonian Enterprises, where he was cited as one of the "100 most innovative CDOs globally.” His other professional experiences include vice president of digital media for Bonnier Corp, chief content/creative officer for HealthCentral.com, senior vice president and general manager of interactive media for Discovery.com and founding general manager for US News & World Report. He began his career as a journalist, helping create an award-winning consumer publication for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and writing several books on neuroscience and evolution. He has bachelor’s degrees in English and biology from Brown University.
Neil Bedi is a reporter at ProPublica in Washington, D.C., where he covers the federal government. He was previously an investigative reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. His 2020 National Fellowship project with 2016 National Fellow Kathleen McGrory focused on a local predictive policing program in Pasco County, Florida that harassed residents and profiled schoolchildren. It received the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting and led to a federal investigation and the forming of a coalition of 30 national and state organizations to oppose the program. His 2018 investigation with Kathleen into the alarming death rate at the cardiac surgery unit of a Florida children’s hospital won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. He has also been honored with the Scripps Howard Award, the IRE Award, the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism and the National Headliner Award for Journalistic Innovation. Before becoming a journalist, he was a software developer. He studied computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Engineering.
Samuel Belilty is vice president of news for Univision WLTV 23 Miami. He previously served as news director at KUVN, Univision Dallas, the highest rated newscast in the Dallas area, from January 2014 to October 2017. He has more than 25 years of experience in broadcast television, both in front of and behind the camera. He previously worked as news director at KWEX, Univision San Antonio; creative services director, executive producer and news director at KFTV, Univision Fresno; and network news production manager and manager of a special reports unit at RCTV (Caracas, Venezuela). He has received EMMY, Edward R. Murrow, Gabriel, Telly and ADDY Awards, in addition to several national awards in Venezuela. He earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Universidad Central de Venezuela and has done postgraduate studies in organizational development and bilingual/bicultural studies.
Otis W. Brawley, MD
Otis W. Brawley is a globally-recognized expert in cancer prevention and control. He has worked to reduce overscreening of medical conditions, which has revolutionized patient treatment by increasing quality of life and reducing health disparities. He joined Johns Hopkins University as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2019 from the American Cancer Society, where he was chief medical and scientific officer and executive vice president for the American Cancer Society from 2007 to 2018 and a key leader in the society’s work to eliminate disparities in access to quality cancer care. He also was medical director of the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and deputy director for cancer control at Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. His research focuses on developing and ensuring the effectiveness of cancer screening strategies. He has championed efforts to decrease smoking and implement other lifestyle risk reduction programs, as well as to provide critical support to cancer patients and concentrate cancer control efforts in areas where they could be most effective. He currently leads a broad interdisciplinary research effort on cancer health disparities at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, striving to close racial, economic and social disparities in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer in the United States and worldwide. He also directs community outreach programs for underserved populations throughout Maryland. He is a graduate of University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his internship at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case-Western Reserve University; his residency at University Hospital of Cleveland; and his fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.
Daniel Chang is Florida correspondent for Kaiser Health News. He was previously a health reporter for The Miami Herald and was a 2014 National Health Journalism Fellow at the Center for Health Journalism. He grew up in South Florida reading The Herald. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Florida International University, where he volunteered on the student newspaper. After graduation, he began his journalism career in 1995 at the Orange County Register. In 2000, he joined The Herald, initially covering arts news and Spanish-language TV. He began covering healthcare in 2013. His Fellowship project, which was supported by Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, focused on the uninsured population in Miami-Dade County, which has a highly competitive and disjointed safety net system.
Anh Do covers Asian American issues and general assignments at the Los Angeles Times. A second-generation journalist, she has worked at the Seattle Times, the Orange County Register and Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest Vietnamese-language newspaper in the United States founded by her late father. Born in Saigon, she is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English and she has reported from Cuba, India, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam. Her writing on race and culture has won awards from Columbia University, the Asian American Journalists Association and Freedom Newspapers Sweepstakes Award. She is a recipient of Yale's Poynter Fellowship in Journalism. Apart from words, she's passionate about all things canine and has spent 26 years in dog rescue around the globe.
R. Jan Gurley, MD
R. Jan Gurley has held a variety of leadership posts for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, including special projects adviser on communicable diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic, director of public health emergency preparedness and response and medical director of clinics serving communities disproportionately impacted by structural racism, homelessness and trauma. She is a board-certified internist and freelance writer. Her health-related work experience includes basic science research in Jerome Groopman's HIV lab, health services research, public policy and administration and the joys and complexity of seeing patients one-on-one. She was a Center for Health Journalism California Fellow in 2010. For her Fellowship project, she produced a series of multimedia articles about the health impacts of homelessness, for which she was awarded the Saffron Foundation's Media Award. She is a frequent and popular speaker on topics ranging from "Making Meaningful Use Meaningful" for the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine to "Personalized Medicine" for Triple Ring Technologies, a biotech incubator. Her writing has also appeared in such diverse outlets as BlogHer, The New England Journal of Medicine, KevinMD, SFGate and Salon. After medical school at Harvard and residency training at the University of California at San Francisco, she received a Robert Wood Johnson joint UCSF/Stanford fellowship in epidemiology, public policy and ethics.
Hugo Morales, JD
Hugo Morales is the founder (1976) and executive director of Radio Bilingüe, the National Latino public radio network. Headquartered in Fresno and Oakland, the network provides a national satellite service in English, Spanish, Mixteco, Triqui and Hmong. It serves more than half a million listeners with its pioneering daily Spanish-language national talk show, Línea Abierta; its independently produced news service, Noticiero Latino; and its offerings of Latino traditional folk music. Radio Bilingüe has a dozen full-power FM radio stations in Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and California and more than 100 radio station affiliates in North America. His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1994 and an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the broadcast industry's highest honors, in 1999. In 2006, he received the Cultural Freedom Prize from the Lannan Foundation, established “to recognize people whose extraordinary and courageous work celebrates the human right to freedom of imagination, inquiry, and expression.” He serves or has served on the boards of The California Endowment, The National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the California Postsecondary Education Commission, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, The Rosenberg Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation and the Fresno County First 5 Commission. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and has received honorary doctorates from California State University at Fresno and California State University at Sacramento.
Kathleen McGrory is a reporter at ProPublica. She was previously an investigative reporter and editor at the Tampa Bay Times, where she and her colleague, 2020 National Fellow Neil Bedi, won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for their reporting on a local policing program used to monitor and harass residents. The series, which was Neil’s Fellowship project, also won the Scripps Howard Award for Local/Regional Investigative Reporting and was a finalist for the 2021 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Their prior series on problems at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting and won the 2019 George Polk Award for Local Reporting and an IRE award. As a 2016 Center for Health Journalism National Fellow, she reported “In Harm’s Way,” revealing for the first time that between 2010 and 2015 firearms killed or injured nearly 3,200 kids in Florida. She serves on the Center’s Advisory Board. She started her career at the Miami Herald, where she covered breaking news, education and government. She is a graduate of Hamilton College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Carmen Rita Nevarez, MD, MPH
Carmen Rita Nevarez is senior vice president of external relations and preventive medicine at the Oakland-based Public Health Institute (PHI). She is creator and director of Dialogue4Health.org, which partners with local, national and global organizations to host online health conversations and share critical resources. She directs the Center for Health Leadership and Practice, building collaborative leadership capacity in local communities through the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health; the California Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health; the California Overdose Prevention Network, strengthening opioid safety coalitions across California; and the newly launched National Overdose Prevention Network. Her areas of expertise include teen pregnancy prevention, health disparities, Latinx health, obesity, chronic disease prevention and health reform. Before joining PHI, she served as the director of Berkeley's Health and Human Services Department and as a special assistant to the dean at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She served as president of the American Public Health Association in 2010. A gynecologist and preventive medicine specialist, she maintained a part-time clinical practice for 40 years.
The Center for Health Journalism depends on the support of foundations and individuals. We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization and make public all donors who give $5,000 or more per year.
The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, provides primary core support to our family of programs. The California Endowment was created in 1996 as a result of Blue Cross of California's creation of WellPoint Health Networks, a for-profit corporation. The California Endowment’s mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Its work involves a dual focus: grant making and policy and advocacy.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, based in Baltimore, provides support for our National Health Journalism Fellowship and a related reporting grant, the Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being. The foundation focuses its grantmaking on issues that negatively affect children: poverty, unnecessary disconnection from family and communities with limited access to opportunity.
Blue Shield of California Foundation
Blue Shield of California Foundation works to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. It provides support for our California Fellowship.
California Health Care Foundation
California Health Care Foundation provides support for our Center for Health Journalism Data Fellowship and supported the Center for Health Journalism Collaborative “Uncovered California.” The foundation works to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.
The California Wellness Foundation
The California Wellness Foundation provides support for the Center for Health Journalism’s Impact Fund. The mission of The California Wellness Foundation is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.
The Commonwealth Fund
The Commonwealth Fund provides support for our Health Matters series of webinars and the Center for Health Journalism Impact Fund for Reporting on Health Equity and Health Systems. The Commonwealth Fund is a national, private foundation based in New York City that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation provides support for the Center for Health Journalism Data Fellowship. The foundation works to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Foundation provides support for the Center for Health Journalism's Journalism and Community Engagement for Healthy Equity Initiative and its National Fellowship.
National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation
National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the U.S. health care system by funding and conducting research and educational activities and by fostering dialogue between public and private stakeholders. It provides support for our Health Matters webinars.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. It works to build a national “culture of health” by placing well-being at the center of every aspect of life. It provides support for our National Fellowship and a related reporting grant, the Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being.
Other Donors and Special Funds
The Hunt Family generously supports the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, launched by friends and family of the late Dennis Hunt, co-founder of our programs, to honor his legacy.
The Kristy Hammam Fund for Health Journalism, an initiative of the Social Impact Fund, launched to honor the memory of the late journalist.