Adjunct Associate Professor Gary Schwitzer is on a mission to bring truth to health news.
In 2006, he launched HealthNewsReview.org, which quickly gained attention as a leading source to help consumers understand the validity of health news stories.
The website grew in August 2015 to include the “Health News Watchdog” podcast with funds from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation.
The podcasts have covered topics such as the harms of overdiagnosis, sloppy science, the DCIS breast cancer dilemma, caveats about the cancer moonshot, and a profile of a pharmacology professor who tries to educate people through medical music video parodies.
In addition to interviewing top names in research and health journalism, Schwitzer’s podcasts also allow patients to have a voice. “I’m most proud of the patient interviews, where they share examples of media messages that have misled them or their loved ones,” says Schwitzer. Those patient podcasts have so far covered glioblastoma (brain cancer), migraines, and breast cancer.
Drawing an audience of as many as 1,400 listeners for an episode, the podcasts have proven to be an innovative way to spread the mission of HealthNewsReview.org, which is housed in the School of Public Health’s Center for Media Communication & Health.
“I know that the media doesn’t roll out of bed in the morning and say, ‘How can I mislead people today?’ But it needs to hear from those most likely to be harmed — real people, real patients — that true harm does occur when media messengers disseminate inaccurate, imbalanced, incomplete messages about health care,” he says.
Continue the conversation by giving to the Health News Review Fund.