Contact Our Staff
California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting
USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
The Alhambra, Building A-0, 2nd Floor
1000 South Fremont Avenue, Unit 83
Alhambra, CA 91803
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Michael Parks, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and longtime reporter, editor and educator, is founder and director of the center. Parks was editor of the Los Angeles Times from 1997 to 2000, a period during which the Times won four additional Pulitzer Prizes. Parks joined the USC Annenberg faculty in Fall 2000. In Fall 2001, he became interim director of the School of Journalism. He was named director of the school in March 2002 and finished his term June 30, 2008. From his first overseas assignment covering the war in Vietnam as the Baltimore Sun's Saigon correspondent, Parks reported on major international news events from a variety of international capitals, including Beijing, Moscow, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and Jerusalem. He joined the Los Angeles Times in 1980 and in 1995 was promoted to deputy foreign editor and later managing editor, before taking the helm as editor in 1997. At USC Annenberg, Parks guided the creation and adoption of an innovative core curriculum that trains students to report stories for print, broadcast, and new media.
Richard Kipling is editor-in-chief of the Center. He was the Center's managing editor since its inception in 2009. During a 30-year journalism career, Kipling has held various newsroom management positions at the San Diego Union and at the Los Angeles Times, where he was city editor of the San Diego County Edition and editor of the Times Orange County Edition. For several years, Kipling was director of the Tribune Company’s Minority Editorial Training Program (METPro), where he recruited, trained and placed at daily newspapers almost 200 minority journalists. He has taught journalism at USC, Occidental College and Caltech. Kipling holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara and pursued a PhD degree in Government at the Claremont Graduate School.
Roger Smith, managing editor, joined the Center in 2013 after 35 years as an editor and reporter with the Los Angeles Times. He became national editor of the Times the week after Barak Obama was elected president, and closely supervised coverage of the Affordable Care Act from inception to implementation. For a decade he was editor of the Column One feature on page one, the Times’ premier spot for narrative stories. He also directed coverage of two presidential campaigns, and was principal editor on two Pulitzer Prize-winning projects. Before becoming an editor he reported for the paper’s business and metro sections. He joined the Times from Business Week magazine. He is a graduate of the USC School of Journalism.
Senior writer Emily Bazar is based in our Sacramento office, where she covers stories about the federal health care overhaul, Medi-Cal budget cuts, children's dental care and variation in the use of medical treatments. Prior to joining the Center for Health Reporting, Bazar was a national reporter for USA Today, where she covered immigration, the effects of the current economic recession and other topics. Her first journalism job was at The Sacramento Bee. Over nine years, her beats included transportation, higher education, California politics, the energy crisis and immigration. In 2003, she was one of two reporters who produced an award-winning special project, “Liberty in the Balance,” which explored civil liberties after Sept. 11, 2001. She appears regularly on KQED’s Forum, Capital Public Radio’s Insight and other radio shows to discuss health policy. Bazar graduated from Stanford University.
Senior writer John Gonzales specializes in the demographics of health policy. He was most recently based in New Orleans as Southern Regional Correspondent for the Associated Press. He covered efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, as well as immigration and the shifting demographics of The South. Gonzales previously was Hispanic Affairs reporter at Newsday -- a beat that took him from New York's emerging Mexican neighborhoods, to the U.S. border region, to rural Mexican towns. His "Texas Smuggling" articles won the National Association of Hispanic Journalists best breaking news award in 2004. He was also awarded The Freedom Forum’s North American Journalist Exchange fellowship in 2001. Gonzales spent the early part of his 15-year journalism career on the staffs of The Daily Breeze and the Gardena Valley News. He is a USC Annenberg graduate, with honors, and a dual major in political science. He is also a Spanish speaker and graduate of the Los Angeles Times Minority Editorial Training Program, or METPro.
Senior writer Deborah Schoch reports on hospitals and health care delivery, nursing homes, environmental health and food. Her most recent articles have examined patient safety and hospital infections. She was a founding writer with the Center’s pilot project. Schoch spent 18 years as a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, covering public health and the environment. She was a member of the Times newsroom teams that won Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news in 1992 and 1994. Schoch graduated from Cornell University and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1999-2000, studying science, law and policy. Her work at the Center has won several honors, including first place in the 2010 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She sits on the AHCJ board’s Right-to-Know Committee, which works to improve access to public health records.
Lauren M. Whaley
Multimedia journalist Lauren M. Whaley is the president of the national Journalism & Women Symposium. For the Center and its partners, she produces videos, radio stories, photographs and other multimedia and written poeces. She covers topics ranging from childbirth policies to mental illness to dialysis and diabetes. She's interested in sound-rich radio stories, character-driven photography essays and everything in between. She has contributed stories to Southern California Public Radio, KQED Public Radio, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among others. While living in Wyoming, she worked as a newspaper reporter, blog editor and freelance magazine writer. She earned her master's degree in specialized science journalism from the University of Southern California, her bachelor's from Bowdoin College and spent summers in her early 20s taking high school girls on Arctic canoe expeditions. She hails from Baltimore.
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Bobby Kirkwood is program coordinator at the center, handling all of the logistical duties that make the operation work – budgeting, bill payment, travel coordinator and financial liaison with USC and the California HealthCare Foundation. She serves a similar role with the Alhambra Project, another USC Annenberg initiative aimed at providing news and information in the city of Alhambra. She was previously program coordinator for USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism.
David Westphal (Editor Emeritus)
David Westphal assumed the role of editor emeritus in June 2013 after leading the Center for three years. He joined the Center in 2010 as editor-in-chief following a nearly four-decade career as a newspaper reporter and editor. Westphal came to USC after serving as deputy bureau chief and then bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers’ Washington Bureau from 1995 to 2008. Prior to that he worked as a reporter and editor at The Des Moines Register for 17 years – the last seven as managing editor. He holds the National Press Club's Washington Correspondence award and is two-time winner of the John Hancock Award for Business and Financial Reporting. While he was managing editor of The Des Moines Register, the newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.