B.A. Biology, Johns Hopkins University, 1977
M.S. Journalism, Columbia University, 1979
Office: CMU 223
I graduated with a bachelor’s in biology from Johns Hopkins University, following a quarter-long escape to the University of California at Santa Cruz where I happened into a science writing course. The course inspired me to become a journalist, focusing on health and medicine. I had a number of journalism internships, went to J-school at Columbia, had a very brief stint as a public information officer at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, then got an internship at a small magazine called Science News. I refused to leave at the end of the internship so they put me on staff. I left after five years to go to U.S. News & World Report, where I covered consumer health. After that, I worked for 18 wonderful years at NPR as health policy correspondent. I covered everything from the Food and Drug Administration to the chocolate industry in Brazil. Now, as Artist in Residence in the Department of Communication, I get to teach journalism to undergraduates. I also continue to report on a freelance basis, with a primary focus on global health, and especially on diseases often neglected in the global context such as cancer, mental health, and diabetes. In 2013 I was honored with a Communications Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, and with the Best Cancer Reporter Award from ESO.