Lauren M. Whaley

Lauren M. Whaley

Center for Health Reporting

Lauren M. Whaley is a photographer, radio producer and print reporter specializing in topics related to mental illness, reproductive health care and health disparities. She is also a childbirth photographer.

This year, she is working on a series about how low-income parents access care for perinatal mental illnesses. The project is funded by the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.

Whaley was a 2016-17 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

Her work has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) STEM story project. She has contributed radio, video, photography and written stories to KQED Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, the San Jose Mercury News, the New York Times and other media outlets. For six years, I worked as the Center for Health Reporting's multimedia journalist, based in Los Angeles. She is a past president of the national organization Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) and spent her early 20s leading canoe expeditions for young women, including a solo-led 45-trip in the Canadian Arctic. 

Ask Emily

Ask Emily Live: How the "kid glitch" in employer-based health insurance can hurt you

Ask Emily columnist Emily Bazar explains Obamacare at a public forum in Modesto. This is a short video clip from that event.

Ask Emily

Ask Emily Live: What health plan choices does Covered California offer?

Ask Emily columnist Emily Bazar explains Obamacare at a public forum in Modesto. This is a short video clip from that event. 

Ask Emily

Ask Emily Live: Can't I just wait and buy insurance when I get sick?

Ask Emily columnist Emily Bazar explains Obamacare at a public forum in Modesto. This is a short video clip from that event.

Mental Breakdown

Normalizing Mental Illness: One Mom's Hope (Multimedia)

In recent years, a faltering local economy has combined with ongoing state and county budget cuts to severely reduce Stanislaus County’s ability to treat adults with mental illnesses – a trend reflected around California. In four years, the county department of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, which oversees mental health services, has lost more than 200 positions – some 37 percent of its staff. In 2003-4, the department was able to serve nearly 13,000 county residents. Today, that number has dropped closer to 9,000, while the need almost certainly has grown.
Mental Breakdown

Photography Gallery: Faces of Mental Illness

Everyone pictured here has a mental illness. They live in this community. A daughter. An uncle. A sister. A friend. A neighbor. A co-worker.

Update: Midwifery bill moves on to governor’s desk

After months of negotiations, including major amendments added just a week ago, a bill aiming to improve care for women giving birth outside the hospital passed unanimously Thursday night.

Midwives and Docs

California's licensed midwives push for more responsibility

For her second child, Angie Rivera chose to give birth not at a hospital, but at the Community Birth Center on West Florence Avenue in South Los Angeles. Angie’s husband, Joseph O’Day and her midwife, Racha Tahani Lawler, were by her side for the two-day experience.

Recession (still) impacting Medi-Cal expansion

It may now be in our rearview mirror, but the Great Recession is impacting California’s Medi-Cal expansion, slated to start with Obamacare in January.

CA teen births continue to drop. Still high in San Joaquin Valley

Today’s teenagers aren’t having as many babies as their counterparts did 10 and 20 years ago.

Baby Time

California’s generous maternity leave benefits sometimes unknown to working parents

For parents of newborns – or those expecting one – congratulations! And start planning.

Ask Emily

Ask Emily: A new column answering questions about Obamacare

What is this Obamacare-related state health insurance thing called Covered California? How do I find out if it works for me? And if I’m healthy and young, say 28, do I need to get health insurance?

Suicide Prevention

Born again after trying to end it all

John survived his suicide attempt. Martina Castillo threatened to take her own life. Both ended up in Sutter General’s Emergency Department in Sacramento.
Suicide Prevention

Preventing subsequent suicide attempts one phone call at a time

Every day in California, nine people die by suicide. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the state and nationwide. According to a recent study, More than half a million adults in California seriously thought about killing themselves in 2009. It’s such a big problem that just this past fall, the California Mental Health Services Authority launched a statewide campaign called Know the Signs as part of a larger Suicide Prevention Initiative.
Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Resources

US toll-free 24/7 hotline. 1-800-273-8255

Cal State San Marcos launches new palliative care course for chaplains

Father Calin Tamiian hopes one day spirituality will be recognized as a vital sign.

Medicare announces medical equipment prices for expanded competitive bidding program

The prices are in.

If you’re on Medicare, you will soon be getting your pack of mail-order diabetic test strips and lancets for about 72 percent less than you get them now. 

Two years later

Medicare says medical equipment costs down under pilot program in San Bernardino

A two-year Medicare cost-cutting experiment in San Bernardino and other areas has been wildly successful, officials say, reducing the price of certain medical equipment by 42 percent and saving the government and taxpayers more than $200 million nationwide. Those savings, however, have exacted a cost, say some local suppliers, forcing them to close their doors while rewarding large out-of-area companies that finance lower prices through bigger volume.

Study: Our couches are poisonous

I inherited the big foam gray chair during my junior year of college. The guy who gave it to me got it from a friend a few years before and she had been given it by a friend as well. It was meant to be passed on eventually. 

Clinics will continue surging, prepping for January 2014

Dr. Paul Gregerson says November 7, the day after the election, was a “very good day in my life.”

Obamacare Validated

‘Last distraction’ removed as California moves ahead on health reform

First, there was uncertainty over a U.S. Supreme Court challenge. Then came the race for the presidency. Now, California lawmakers say the uncertainty is over and nothing can stop them from bringing health coverage to millions of uninsured Californians under President Obama’s signature health care law.
Booming Clinics

Community health centers on the rise in California

Joe Castel never pictured himself driving to Skid Row to visit his doctor. But the 49-year-old Pasadena resident is a contract employee with the government agency FEMA and that job does not provide health insurance. So when his friend, the CEO of the John Wesley Community Health Institute (JWCH), invited him to visit the clinic, Castel accepted.

Getting fit one burrito at a time

Adriana Churchwell serves me up a lunchtime veggie burrito with guacamole several times a week at the Qdoba restaurant across the street from my Alhambra office.

Palliative care institute to educate workforce, community

When my cousin with advanced melanoma started receiving palliative care at her home, I thought it was hospice. I was wrong. 

Grappling over the elderly

Eligibility requirements haunt elderly at adult day health centers

Irene Nashtut’s adult day health care center lost 62 clients this spring. They have not exactly wandered off, or been recruited by a rival center. They have been declared ineligible.

Grappling over the elderly

Adult Day Health Care, exploring the state’s side

“Those that can stand up, please stand up. Those that cannot stand up, please sing along with us.”

Grappling over the elderly

Who's eligible? State, advocates are at odds over ADHC's disabled, elderly

They're poor. They're elderly. They're disabled. But are they eligible? Advocates and state officials are struggling to determine just who among hundreds will be allowed to continue in the program that replaces Medi-Cal's Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) system. Cash-starved California slashed the optional ADHC benefit last fall and replaced it with a leaner program called Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS).
Staying Alive

Pumping in Peace

When I pushed open the bathroom door, I was surprised to see a woman with tubes sprouting from her unbuttoned shirt. She held a baby bottle in each hand. The tubes connected the bottles to what looked like a black camera bag sitting next to a sink. We were on a break from our computer programmer conference and she was hooked up to a portable breast pump. The machine whirred and hummed as it sucked.
Staying Alive

California faces headwinds in easing doctor shortages

The Supreme Court’s validation of President Obama’s landmark health law sets off a scramble across California to find enough primary care doctors and other professionals to serve an estimated 3 milli

Staying Alive

Ruling green-lights California’s aggressive move on health reform

California’s bold embrace of the Affordable Care Act got a green light from the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, clearing the way for full implementation of a law that could provide health coverage for nearly 3 million uninsured state residents. Although the court opened the door for states not to participate in a massive expansion of Medicaid, political leaders in California, which has been a national leader in pushing President Obama’s signature policy initiative, didn’t hesitate.

What mental illness looks like

I assembled my makeshift photo studio in a windowless office just big enough for a desk and two chairs. Wax paper covered the Home Depot work lights. Electrical tape held up the white sheet I had borrowed from my Modesto hotel room.


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