Health & Fitness

New reporter covering children’s health brings experience as pediatrician, journalist

Modesto Bee’s new health reporter talks of switch from doctor to journalist

ChrisAnna Mink, The Bee's new reporter, discusses her decision on becoming a journalist after years as a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area. She joins The Bee on Monday, June 17.
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ChrisAnna Mink, The Bee's new reporter, discusses her decision on becoming a journalist after years as a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area. She joins The Bee on Monday, June 17.

ChrisAnna Mink has a passion for helping children and writing.

As a clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA, she’s focused on providing care for immigrants and the underserved in Southern California.

Her other passion is writing and reporting, evidenced by her master’s degree in specialized journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Mink will combine her talents at The Modesto Bee starting in June, when she begins her one- to two-year tenure as a children’s health reporter. It’s a partnership between The Bee and Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to supporting journalists and matching them with news organizations that are seeking to fill gaps in coverage.

“Most of my medical career has been spent caring for the underserved,” Mink said. “In some ways, the role of local newspapers parallels that because they are most effective at providing readers with news that is relevant to, and reflective of, their lives.”

Mink received her journalism degree in May 2015 after more than 20 years as a pediatrician. She formerly was medical director of the K.I.D.S Foster Care Clinic at Harbor-UCLA, where she developed, implemented and managed a specialized clinic for children.

She’s most recently written for the Center for Health Journalism and the California Health Report while continuing her work in pediatrics at Harbor-UCLA.

“I’m a pediatrician and relatively new to journalism,” she said. “I’m excited to join The Modesto Bee because they’re committed to tackling the complex health issues, including those focused on children of their community.”

As part of the Report for America program, Mink also will participate in a public service project of her choice that serves children in Stanislaus County.

“This was an extremely fortunate find for us,” Editor Brian Clark said. “When we sought a reporter to cover what I feel is an increasingly important topic in our community, we couldn’t have imagined we’d receive a doctor who also happens to be a journalist.”

In January, The Bee was chosen among 50 newsrooms to host a reporter as part of the program. More than 1,000 journalists applied, and the field was narrowed by RFA, which forwarded finalists to the news organizations that best fit the position.

Among other McClatchy news organizations receiving reporters are The Sacramento Bee and The Fresno Bee.

Cell phone addiction, asthma, obesity, bullying and food insecurity are among the myriad issues that have real consequences inside the home and at school, child health experts told The Bee. Stanislaus County also has a high rate of children winding up at emergency rooms with dental problems. A big problem, too, is that many parents don’t know what services are available to them.

In addition to print and its website, The Bee will leverage its large social media footprint, which includes more than 120,000 likes on Facebook, 64,000 followers on Twitter and 14,500 followers on Instagram. It also will rely on its video work to further its message.

The Bee also plans to hold listening events, making Mink available to answer questions and speak on important topics.

Recently, The Bee’s coverage and commentary led to Sprint removing a cell tower from a Ripon elementary school campus. Many in that community feared the tower was linked to the cancer diagnoses of some students. The news organization is a finalist for 13 California News Publishers Association awards for work done last year by its newsroom staff, including the coveted General Excellence honors.

“Our goal through ChrisAnna’s reporting is to make us a healthier and happier community,” Clark said. “Our hope is to bring knowledge — and solutions — to parents, educators and health professionals as it pertains to the physical and mental well-being of children throughout Stanislaus County.”