Improve health outcomes by using journalism skills to shape a smarter public discussion on health.

DLSPH, U of T Faculty of Medicine and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy are partnering to offer a 12-month Certificate in Health Impact[1], which you can pursue alongside your other work. As a pilot, this program will also help us gather research data on how best to teach this material to health professionals and scholars in the future.


From Oct. 15, 2018 to Sept. 23, 2019 you’ll work as a real reporter, covering your field for Canadian and US media under the mentorship of four senior journalists. You’ll also join seminars in investigative journalism, podcasting, clean writing and data journalism or long-form journalism.

Tuition is fully funded by the University of Toronto.

You can take this program without interrupting your other work; but you’ll need to spend an average of six to seven hours a week on it — mostly outside class and during working hours, because that’s when you’ll be finding and reporting stories.  There are no tests or exams.

Journalism disciplines will help you:

  • Maximize your public impact by exposing important, underreported issues
  • Get editors and politicians excited about nuanced ideas
  • Compete for research funding, as public impact becomes a key granting criterion
  • Meet professional competencies in Public Health and Medicine including: communications, advocacy, leadership, and knowledge translation in scholarship
  • Explore non-traditional careers in your field


The program is built on two pillars:

  1. A 12-month mentored practicum, covering your field for The Toronto Star, Healthy Debate, CBC News and more than 10 other news organizations. Senior journalists will meet with you twice a month and mentor you continually as you find original stories, pitch them and report them for The Toronto Star, Healthy Debate, CBC News and more than 10 other news organizations. Your mentors will be:
  • Colin Mackenzie, former managing editor of The Globe and Mail,
  • Bruce Wallace, former foreign editor of The Los Angeles Times,
  • Sarah Elton, Canada’s leading food systems journalist, and currently a PhD student at DLSPH
  • Robert Steiner, former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent and director of the Munk School Fellowship in Global Journalism
  1. Four short courses in key journalism skills, which you can attend in person or via live videoconference.


Please click here to see a weekly schedule of all classes and meetings (please note: click on individual classes to see the length of each session).

a) Oct 15 to Oct. 19, 2018: Boot-Camp

You’ll start with a five-day, intensive introduction to journalism thinking, during which you’ll learn:

  • How to generate newsworthy ideas and pitch them to editors
  • How to write clearly for people outside your field
  • How to report a story.

We’ll also work as a whole group to pick reporting themes that suit your background and meet the needs of our media partners.

b) Oct 22, 2018 to March 1, 2019: Session One — Written Features

You’ll meet your mentors twice a month. They’ll help you pitch and report written features for our media partners. You’ll also take short seminars in three key skills:

  • Investigative reporting, six sessions from The Toronto Star’s Rob Cribb
  • Clean writing, three sessions from former Financial Times correspondent Bernard Simon
  • Either Data Journalism with David Weisz, or Long-Form Journalism, with The Walrus’ Brett Popplewell

c) March 4 to March 8, 2019[2]: Re-Boot Camp

Another five-day ‘Re-Boot Camp’ to:

  • Refresh core skills.
  • Start learning basic audio skills.
  • Start learning the elements of political advocacy
  • Generate ideas for new reporting packages

d)  March 18, 2019 to July 8, 2019: Session Two — Audio Features

Back to pitching and reporting stories under mentorship, but now with a particular focus on producing a radio show, producing podcasts, and appearing as an on-air expert for partners like CBC News – on broad themes that we chose in the re-boot camp.

e) July 15 – Sept 23, 2019: Session Three — Open Pitching

In the final two months of the program, you’ll pitch their own story ideas to the whole range of our media partners and to other media they wish to target – unbound by any theme, but continuing to work with your mentors.


In order to complete this certificate successfully, you’ll have to do seven things:

  1. Demonstrate consistent attendance at
  • Two one-week boot camps (October 2018 and March 2019), in person
  • Bureau meetings once every two weeks, in person
  • Four short skills courses, in person or by live videoconference
  1. After the first boot camp, complete a short baseline assessment, describing your personal goals for the program and the ways in which you expect to incorporate the material into their future careers.
  2. Complete two written stories in for the Session One package by the week of February 25, 2019.
  1. After Session One, assess your mid-term progress with program staff.
  1. Complete two audio stories for the Session Two package by the week of July 8, 2019.
  1. Pitch four stories to other partners during the course of the program. Pitches need to have been approved by bureau chiefs before being sent to partners. You should also be ready to execute the pitches as stories if commissioned by our partners.
  1. At the end of the program, students will complete a short exit assessment, reflecting insights gained during the year and an actionable plan to integrate the skills they have learned, into their future career.


Please join Fellowship Director Robert Steiner for a videoconference open house – which you can attend from anywhere. We’ll explain how the certificate works and how this unique approach to journalism training can help you shape the public discussion about the most important issues in your field.

Click here to register

We’re hosting open-houses 12:15 p.m. – 1 p.m . on Aug. 1, Aug 8, Aug 15, Aug 22, and Aug 29. Click here, select a date and reserve your spot.  We’ll send you a link for the videconference after you register.


 We are recruiting up to 16 people affiliated with:

  • the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (graduate student, faculty or alumni);
  • Faculty of Medicine (senior medical resident, or faculty);
  • Other U of T health faculties.


  • You can (1) devote at least six to eight hours a week from Oct 22, 2018 to March 1 2019, and from March 18 to Sept 23, 2019 – holidays excepted, and

(2) attend two five-day intensive boot camps: Oct 15-19, 2018 and March 4-8, 2019.

  •  You’re keen to challenge long-held perspectives in your field.
  •  You are self-motivated, resilient and want to be mentored.


To Please mark the subject line: “LASTNAME, first initial — Health Impact application”.

  1. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  1. Official Academic Enrolment and/or Professional Designation. (PDF scan). Official record of your professional designation and / or current enrolment in an academic or professional training program are required for admission. Please either scan or take a screen shot of those documents and attach them to the application.
  1. Two Story Proposals. Please identify two important stories in your field that have not received enough media coverage. Pitch each of those stories in a separate 200-word proposal, indicating why the story is important and some evidence for the story you are proposing
  1. Personal Essay. Why are you interested in this program, what subject matter do you wish to cover as a reporter during the program, and how do you intend to deploy these skills into your career? (500 words)
  1. One reference. Your referee should attest to your knowledge of the subject matter on which you will be reporting during the program, and your ability to meet the requirements of the program successfully in the context of your other professional or academic commitments.

Please have your referees e-mail their letters directly to us at, using the subject line “candidate’s lastname, candidate’s first initial— health impact reference”

We will also interview shortlisted candidates before admission.

 [1] The certificate is based on the Munk School Fellowship in Global Journalism.
[2] Note that this is one week before Ontario March Break, and should not interfere with school holidays.

This pilot program is funded by U of T’s Office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation. As a pilot, this year’s program will gather research data on how best to teach this material to health professionals and scholars in the future.