Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues

Penny Duckham

Executive Director, Media Fellowships Program

San Francisco, CA

Penny Duckham has directed the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s media fellowships program since its launch in 1993.  She also directs the Foundation’s media internships program in health reporting.  Both programs have provided print, radio, television and online reporters in the U.S. with unique opportunities to undertake individual in-depth research and reporting on health policy and public health issues, to help broaden the American public’s understanding of these issues. Several hundred U.S. journalists have taken part in these programs, and many remain actively involved in the briefings, sitevisits, and the journalism and multi-media training programs organized through the media fellowships program. Ms. Duckham also directs the Kaiser Foundation’s journalism programs in global health and health policy, which focus on U.S. global health policy decision-making.  Over the past decade, Ms. Duckham directed a fellowship program for leading international journalists to undertake reporting on global health issues; and led a series of briefings, sitevisits and journalism training programs overseas, with the focus on public health issues and in particular reporting on HIV/AIDS. These included programs in Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, India, southern Africa, Trinidad, and Russia; and special training programs in advance of the International AIDS conferences in Barcelona (2002), Bangkok (2004), Toronto (2006) and Mexico City (2008). In India, Ms. Duckham launched the Foundation’s International Health Journalism program, as part of a larger Foundation initiative on global health issues, with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The focus was on working with major regional vernacular newspapers in northern States—notably Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Bihar—to expand and inform reporting on HIV/AIDS and related public health issues. In Africa, Ms. Duckham headed a program working with journalists through the CNN/MultiChoice Excellence in African Journalism program, with an annual Kaiser award for excellence in HIV/AIDS journalism. The international health journalism programs expanded to include projects with reporters in the Caribbean. Previously, Ms. Duckham was the director of communications for The Commonwealth Fund, a national philanthropy based in New York City.  She worked for several years in London for the U.K. Consumers’ Association and in Brussels, in the private office of the President of the European Economic Communities Commission; and as a freelance writer on social policy issues for Which? Magazine and the Financial Times. Educated in England, Ms. Duckham graduated from the University of Oxford with a first class honors degree in modern history.