KFF’s Kaiser Health News Expands With a New Southern Bureau to Grow Journalism About Health, Equity, Race and Poverty in the South and Texas

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—the Nation’s Largest Philanthropy Focused on Health and Equity—Provides Seed Funding

Project will Leverage KHN’s Reporting, Editing and Distribution Capacity to Strengthen Local Health Journalism in Communities Across the South

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — KFF will expand its Kaiser Health News (KHN) operation and health journalism across the South with $2.3 million in funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to produce more journalism focusing on health, race, equity, and poverty in the region.

With RWJF’s support, adding to KFF’s staff capacity, KFF will seek support from other national funders as well as state and regional donors with the goal of expanding the effort across the Southern states and in Texas.

In the start-up phase, KFF plans to establish a Southern Bureau with a home office in Atlanta and nine new positions to support reporting in at least five states. KHN also will work with freelancers and media partners throughout the region. This expansion brings the number of KHN regional bureaus to four – including those in California, the Midwest, and the Mountain States – in addition to the KHN national newsroom in KFF’s Washington D.C. offices.

Veteran journalist Andy Miller, CEO and editor of Georgia Health News, will be Interim Bureau Chief of the new KHN outpost, and the nonprofit news service that Miller founded 11 years ago will become part of KHN. Sabriya Rice, another distinguished journalist and the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, will join the enterprise beginning as Senior Advisor to the bureau.

KFF will establish a pool of funds to be used to seek matching commitments from national, state, and regional funders throughout the South to expand the initiative. KHN will seek to partner with local media throughout the region to produce deeply reported stories that shed light on underreported issues. The South has long fared poorly on measures of health care access and health outcomes and has been marked by chronically high rates of uninsured residents — problems inextricably linked with larger issues of politics, race, and inequality. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown such disparities into even sharper relief.

The goal is to bring the same high-quality health and health policy journalism that KHN produces elsewhere to the South, and to bring important stories from the Southern Bureau to the nation. As with all its journalism, KHN stories produced from the Southern Bureau will be made freely available for publication by media outlets throughout the region and the country and will be published on khn.org and distributed through KHN’s social media platforms.

“The pandemic has taught us many lessons about how America prioritizes health, how poverty and skin color often determine health and opportunity, and why timely and accurate information from trusted sources is absolutely vital to the health of our nation,” said Richard E. Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We believe that cultivating more local journalism of the caliber that
KHN produces can bring about a more equitable approach to health policy and practice in this region, and we encourage others to join this effort.”

“We have wanted to expand KHN and health journalism in the South where the need is so urgent for years,” said KFF President and CEO Drew Altman, who is also KHN’s founding publisher. “The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s seed funding and its backing has now made this possible and I am enormously grateful to RWJF for making the difference in getting this top priority initiative launched.”

Media organizations interested in working with KHN should contact KHN at KHNPartnerships@kff.org and those interested in providing additional funding support to expand and improve health journalism in the South and beyond should contact KFF at healthjournalism@kff.org. Employment opportunities for the Southern Bureau will be posted soon at https://www.kff.org/employment-opportunities/.

About KFF and KHN
KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Since 1972, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has supported research and programs to uncover the many factors that impact health, and enable people and communities to be as healthy as possible. Working alongside public health leaders, entrepreneurs, research scientistspolicymakers and community leaders, the Foundation is committed to ensuring that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to achieve better health where we livelearnwork and play.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.