Category Archives: Health Reporting

Authoritative Ebola Information

Dr. Charles Armstrong, Public Health Surgeon and Specialist on virus diseases, photographed in the laboratory in D.C., 1935. From Library of Congress.

Dr. Charles Armstrong, Public Health Surgeon and Specialist on virus diseases, photographed in the laboratory in D.C., 1935. From Library of Congress. <>

Many thanks to the NN/LM MAR for this timely information on Ebola!

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)
Gobal Alert and Response: Ebola Virus Disease

National Library of Medicine (NLM) MedlinePlus Resource Guides

NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC)
Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health

U.S. Joint Commission
Recommendations for U.S. Hospitals Treating Ebola Patients

CRS Reports: Valuable Sources

Looking for in-depth, expert research on current issues? CRS Reports are a great resource! The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is an arm of the Library of Congress that exists to keep members of Congress informed about issues related to pending legislation. CRS staff are subject experts in a variety of fields and they produce nonpartisan reports that relate these issues in an easily-digestible format.  

CRS Reports can be hard to find. The federal government doesn't currently make them widely available to the public: you must request a CRS Report by title (or report number) from a member of Congress. However, you can find CRS Reports through subscription databases (like ProQuest), for some vendors for a fee, or for free from the following collections. 

CRS Reports on many subjects:

Collections with specific topic areas:

Subscription database for CRS Reports:

Search strategy for finding other CRS Reports:

More about CRS Reports…

This presentation talks more about CRS, summarizes past legislation that attempted to make CRS Reports public, and how to write your member of congress to request a report. For more information about CRS Reports, see this page:

NYC’s Rat Information Portal

RIP mapLooking for NYC Department of Health findings on inspections for rats?  The Rat Information Portal, commonly known as RIP, has information searchable by property address, tax block and lot, or by selecting an area or property from a map.  Information about inspections, violations, compliance, exterminations, and cleanups are available as far back as January 1, 2006. 

For more information, email:

Accident Investigation Search at OSHA

For information on work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths, use the Accident Investigation Search at the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), which allows you to search the text of Accident Investigation Summaries (OSHA-170 form) from OSHA accident inspections.

WHO Resources

The World Health Organization has a variety of information resources for those interested in science journalism and health reporting, including –

  • Health Topics – index of WHO health topics
  • Publications – books, journals, key WHO publications
  • Global Health Atlas – data and statistics for infectious diseases at country, regional, and global levels; mapping resources available

Science Reporting Resources for MA Students

CLIO is Columbia’s library catalog. A journal title search will tell you which journals we receive, print or electronic versions.

General Science Full Text: (access restricted to current Columbia affiliates) A multidisciplinary database that indexes articles in general science periodicals back to 1984 (with full text available from 1995 on for selected titles).

PsycINFO: (access restricted to current Columbia affiliates) The premier database for literature in psychology and related disciplines, PsycINFO includes references back to 1880.

MEDLINE: (access restricted to current Columbia affiliates) The premier database for finding research articles in the biomedical sciences. Columbia offers students and faculty access to Medline via the OVID interface, which has a more sophisticated search mechanism, and which makes locating online full-text versions of articles indexed in Medline simpler, via Columbia’s “e-Link” feature.

Medline is also accessible free to the public via PubMed, at There are not as many bells and whistles in PubMed, and it doesn’t automatically link you to full text of journals, as the OVID interface does.

Ig Nobel Awards: Given each October by the publishers of the science humor journal, Annals of Improbable Research. Note that these awards generate a fair amount of media interest when they are announced, so if you find something you’re interested in writing about, do find out if and where it was already covered!

National Institutes of Health (NIH):  This site provides the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) which is a gateway to NIH research and development activities, searchable by organization.

Scientific American Archive Online: (access restricted to current Columbia affiliates) The full text of the magazine, with images, archived back to 1993.

Web of Science (ISI): (access restricted to current Columbia affiliates) is a workhorse database which compiles bibliographic citations to articles across all disciplines (including the sciences). Using Web of Science, you can find out how many times a particular article has been cited, which is an important measure of its impact.

SCOPUS: (access restricted to current Columbia affiliates) provides indexing, abstracting, and citation linking to journals in many science fields (as well as social sciences, business, and medicine).

Science Libraries at Columbia: The science libraries at Columbia are: Engineering Library, Geology Library, Geoscience Library (at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), Health Sciences Library (at Health Sciences campus, 168th St.), and Mathematics & Science Library.

Covering Health Issues

The Alliance for Health Reform, a nonpartisan, non-profit group that focuses on the American health care system, has released the 5th edition of Covering Health Issues 2009, a sourcebook prepared especially for journalists.

The chapters include information on the uninsured, children’s health coverage, Medicare, and much more. You will find statistics, contact information for experts, and links to useful websites. And best of all, this publication is available entirely free, online, via the link above.

Community Health Profiles, 2006

New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (surely the most excellent name for a health department in all of the U.S.) has just released its 2006 Community Health Profiles. These profiles cover neighborhoods in all 5 boroughs, and also include special reports and maps on topics such as binge drinking, diabetes, and domestic violence. You can search the profiles by zip code, or browse by borough or district. [Thanks to J-schooler Tania Haas for pointing out the update.]