What do depression, diabetes, dyslexia, prosthetics, hearing loss, obesity and heart disease all have in common? All are considered disabilities or associated with increased risk of disability. About a quarter of American adults have some type of disability, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including two in five adults over age 65 have a disability.
Using appropriate terminology when reporting on medical studies is important not only for the sake of accuracy and clarity, but also to avoid causing harm to populations by using specialized but often misused terms.
This can be especially true when reporting on transgender people, a population now battling a proposal by the Trump administration proposal that in effect would define them “out of existence” as far as government programs, regulations and funding are concerned, as the New York Times recently reported. It’s more important than ever for journalists to avoid inappropriate terminology when reporting on this population. Continue reading
The second season of 13 Reasons Why, a controversial teen drama TV show, premiered May 18 on Netflix. Throughout its first season, loosely based on the award-winning book by Jay Asher, the show dealt in great detail with the suicide of a high school student, including its precursors and its aftermath. Now, the show has already drawn criticism for a rape scene this season. Continue reading
More and more medical studies are focusing on research about transgender individuals: demographics, surgeries, insurance coverage, unique health needs, prevalence of mental health conditions, pregnancy, hormone therapy and any number of other issues and research questions related to transgender identity. That means journalists covering these studies need to be sure they are using appropriate terminology and not inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes or stigma. Continue reading
Last week’s AHCJ webinar about responsible, accurate reporting on addiction and recovery issues pointed out the importance of sensitive, accurate coverage of the issue and ways in which journalists can improve their coverage.
AHCJ members who missed the live webcast can still watch the Aug. 24 presentation by speaker Tom Hill, M.S.W., vice president of addiction and recovery at the National Council for Behavioral Health. Continue reading
Does language make a difference when we address serious health issues such as Alzheimer’s and other diseases? Absolutely, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.
Avoid the “war” metaphors, advises Daniel R. George, an assistant professor of medical humanities at the college. While such terminology is common in the medical community and the media, such language can backfire by creating fear and stigma, turning patients into victims and even diverting resources from preventive care. Continue reading