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H1N1 Blogger Briefing With Anne Schuchat & Friends

valtraceyThe Department of Health and Human Services held a blogger-targeted webcast about the H1N1 flu today in Washington, DC. Although Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had planned to co-lead the event, she was called to the White House for some healthcare reform deliberations – which might take a while? (She promises to try again to speak to us bloggers at a later date, though, so I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens). Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, carried the event with ease, and Jenny Backus (Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs – pictured with me) moderated the incoming blogger and Twitter questions.

This was a particularly entertaining webcast for me because I was invited “behind the scenes” to witness the event at the HHS studio as well as submit questions for Dr. Schuchat’s consideration. The webcast is available for viewing on the HHS YouTube channel.

What you may not get from the webcast, however, is how much work goes into HHS’s efforts to communicate accurate information to the public. I was very impressed with the studio space (it has a National Press Club feel) and the staff are technically skilled and affable. So friendly were they that I “memorialized” our meeting with a few candid shots (below). Read more »

Ask Kathleen Sebelius & Anne Schuchat Your H1N1 Flu Questions

kathleen-sebelius-anne-schuchat-2009-9-15-15-10-37Do you have any nagging questions about the H1N1 flu? Then please join me at a special blogger briefing at HHS on Monday at 3:30pm ET. In a Better Health/MedPage Today exclusive, I’ll be live-blogging the event from inside the HHS studio in DC, and the conversation will be available via live webcast. Please send in your questions in advance (press release and instructions are below) or feel free to forward developing questions to me via Twitter: @drval during the event. Hope to chat with you soon!


Please join the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a special briefing on H1N1 flu.  As your readers turn to you for accurate and timely information about the ongoing H1N1 pandemic, we want to arm you with the most current information and take your questions on H1N1 and seasonal flu.  Send us the questions that you or your readers want to know and our communication experts will answer them during the webcast. Send questions to by Sunday, November 22th at 3 pm (EST). Read more »

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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