Harvard Medical School Announces 2019 Media Fellowships


Harvard Medical School’s Media Fellowship program, now entering its 22nd year, is accepting applications for Fall 2019.

The fellowship brings together a small group of medical and science journalists and preeminent researchers and physician-scientists for an immersive, educational five-day session on the Harvard Medical School campus in Boston.

This year, we will host two thematic tracks, one in September and one in November.

  • The Doctor and the Machine: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence in medicine Sept. 9-13 Application deadline: July 31
  • Immunity and Inflammation: A friend, a foe Nov. 4-8Application deadline: Sept. 13

The Program

During each session, media fellows spend time on the Harvard Medical School campus to gain a deeper understanding of the spectrum of research and the state of science in a particular area. Reporters meet with a range of experts on a given topic, including basic scientists, translational investigators and practicing clinicians. Although reporters attend as a group, we try to work with each fellow to tailor the experience to individual interests within the broader theme.

We will choose up to five fellows for each thematic track. Harvard Medical School will pay for each participant’s lodging, meals and ground transportation. Please note that fellows must cover their own travel costs to and from the Boston area.

The fellowships are offered as educational opportunities on a background basis. Over the past 21 years, Harvard Medical School has hosted more than 100 reporters from domestic and international news outlets. Reporters spend unsupervised time with faculty, researchers and physician-scientists from affiliated hospitals and various experts from other Harvard schools and institutes. Fellows often cultivate lasting relationships with scientists and generate a wealth of story ideas.

The Topics:

The Doctor and the Machine: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence in medicine (Sept. 9-13)Application deadline July 31Artificial intelligence has reshaped many aspects of modern life. Yet its promise in medicine is just beginning to be realized. From predicting a protein’s 3-D configuration to gauging a patient’s risk for breast cancer to identifying precancerous lesions before they turn malignant to forecasting how a tumor will respond to treatment, AI is on the brink of transforming both our understanding of biology and the practice of medicine. But what are the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead? What technical and ethical safeguards and policies must be in place to fully optimize the promise of AI? What can policymakers and clinicians do to ensure that the incautious use of AI in medicine does not exacerbate or create health disparities? And can even the most advanced algorithms ever be a substitute for human clinical decision-making?

Harvard Medical School biologists, physician-scientists, biomedical informaticians and legal scholars will explore these questions and more.

Topics include:

  • Machine learning in fundamental biology and synthetic protein design
  • AI in health care delivery and clinical workflow
  • AI in diagnosis, treatment and clinical decision-making
  • AI in drug evaluation, testing and design
  • AI in risk detection, disease progression and response to treatment 

Immunity and Inflammation: A friend, a foe (Nov. 4-8)Application deadline Sept. 13

The immune system—its function and dysfunction—has tantalized physicians and scientists from time immemorial. How does the immune system learn to recognize “self” from “foreign”? Why does it fail to do so? Why does it mount destructive attacks against the body’s own tissues? How do immune cells create long-lasting memories that allow them to recognize and fend off pathogens re-encountered decades later? Why do the very immune cells responsible for seeking and destroying defective, malfunctioning or cancerous cells fail on the job? How does healthy, protective inflammation—a cardinal feature of an activated immune system—become the sparkplug that ignites the development of disease? Many of these questions have been answered. Yet these answers have begot new, even more intriguing questions. 

Basic and clinical immunologists, cardiologists, oncologists, psychiatrists, neurologists and endocrinologists at Harvard Medical School will discuss the fundamentals of immunity and inflammation, the causes and consequences of immune dysregulation, and the latest research on the immune system’s role in a wide range of diseases, including diabetes, cancer, autism and cardiovascular illness.

Topics include:

  • Basics of immunity and inflammation
  • Recognizing “self” from “foreign”: origins of autoimmunity
  • Inflammatory and immunologic aspects of neurologic, neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Inflammatory processes in cardiovascular pathologies
  • Metabolic consequences of inflammation
  • Immunology of cancer: recent, new and emerging cancer immunotherapies

How to Apply:

Please note two separate deadlines by topic.

The Doctor and the Machine” (Sept. 9-13) Application deadline: July 31, 2019Selected participants will be notified in mid-August

Immunity and Inflammation” (Nov. 4-8) Application deadline: Sept. 13, 2019 Selected participants will winners will be notified in early October.

Please email the following to Ekaterina_pesheva@hms.harvard.edu:

  • Three to five relevant clips of stories covering health, medicine or science
  • Two to three paragraphs detailing why you are interested in attending and what you hope to take away from the fellowship 
  • A brief bio sketch (around 250 words)

In addition, please state that you have approval from your editor, or usual freelance clients, to cover the topic broadly at some point in the future. You are not obligated to cover Harvard Medical School’s work in the area, just the field as a whole.

   

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