In June 2019, KFF invited a group of journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform to participate in a week-long fellowship focused on Georgia’s health care landscape and the national implications of the state-level policy work there. The HIV epidemic, maternal mortality, Medicaid, reproductive health, opioids, and rural health and hospitals were themes throughout the week, as well as the social and economic disparities underlying each of these issues.
The site visit in Atlanta gave the journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders, including the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia Geoff Duncan and former gubernatorial candidate and minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams. A major theme throughout the week was how the local politics have put state health policy efforts on the national stage. Meetings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grady Hospital, and Mercy Care Atlanta clinic for the uninsured and homeless provided reporters with depth, breadth, and context for covering healthcare in Georgia and nationwide.