$3.9 million Helmsley Charitable Trust grant helps KFF establish Kaiser Health News rural health reporting desk

Reporters will produce explanatory, enterprise and investigative reporting on rural health care

January 27, 2022  – SAN FRANCISCO AND SIOUX FALLS   KFF is expanding its Kaiser Health News (KHN) operation by establishing a new rural health reporting desk supported by a $3.9 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

KFF will expand KHN’s editorial staff and build a team of journalists and social media experts in states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Full-time reporters and freelancers from those states and KHN’s national newsroom will produce and distribute explanatory, enterprise and investigative stories on health care issues relevant to rural communities.

The team of journalists will provide unbiased, accurate and trusted reporting on a wide range of complex issues, including the ongoing pandemic, access to health coverage and care, the burden of health care costs on consumers, housing and education, the opioid epidemic, mental health, hospital closures, the lack of critical lifesaving equipment and burgeoning changes in telehealth and medicine. KHN will partner with local media throughout the region to produce deeply sourced stories that shed light on underreported issues.

As with all its journalism, KHN stories produced by the Rural Health Desk will be made freely available for publication by media outlets across the country, published on khn.org and distributed through KHN’s social media platforms.

“Rural America’s low population density provides significant challenges in the delivery of healthcare services, yet at the same time dedicated providers are delivering top-notch care through innovative practices, like state-of-the-art telemedicine,” said Walter Panzirer, a Trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “KHN’s new rural health reporting desk will dive deep into these challenges and highlight efforts that ensure a person’s ZIP code doesn’t determine their healthcare outcomes.”

“Rural health needs more attention and with this grant we can deliver that” said KFF President and CEO Drew Altman, who also is KHN’s founding publisher. “We are excited to expand our work in this essential area, and we are grateful for the support of the Helmsley Charitable Trust.”

The establishment of the Rural Health Desk follows news last summer that KHN is opening an Atlanta-based Southern Bureau to produce more journalism focused on health, race, equity and poverty in the region. KHN also operates regional bureaus in California, the Midwest and the Mountain States

Media organizations interested in working with KHN should contact us at KHNPartnerships@kff.org and those interested in joining our efforts to expand and improve health journalism in rural America and beyond should contact KFF at healthjournalism@kff.org. Employment opportunities for the Rural Health Desk will be posted soon at https://www.kff.org/employment-opportunities/.

 About KFF and KHN

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $500 million to organizations and initiatives in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Nevada. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.