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

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health is offering an eight-month Certificate in Health Impact, which you can pursue alongside your other work.


From November 1, 2021 to June 24, 2022 you’ll work as a real reporter, covering your field for news organizations under the mentorship of senior journalists. You’ll break your own stories, produce a radio show, have the chance to do investigative reporting for major media, and help editors at a Canadian health publication review op-ed submissions they receive from contributors.

You’ll also join seminars in investigative journalism, podcasting, clean writing and data reporting or long-form journalism. Our mentors and instructors will coach you individually on both your journalism, and on ways to integrate these skills into your unique health career.

Tuition is $6000 (Canadian dollars). (Please scroll down for application directions.)

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. You can also take this program from anywhere: This year, all of our instruction will be done via live videoconference.

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 three pillars:

  1. An eight-month mentored practicum, covering your field for news organizations like CBC News, the Canadian Press, HealthyDebate, and TVO.
  • Senior journalists will meet with you twice a month and mentor you continually as you find original stories, pitch them and report them for our media partners and others. All of our mentors and instructors are experienced journalists, led by Robert Steiner, former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent and director of the Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
  • Under our mentorship, you will also learn news judgment by reviewing submissions to HealthyDebate – one of Canada’s leading on-line health publications.
  • You’ll produce an hour-long documentary radio show for CIUT, the University of Toronto’s community radio station. Past students have used this experience as the first step towards producing their own podcasts.
  1. Seven short courses in key journalism skills, which you will attend via live videoconference:
  • Clean writing
  • Investigative journalism
  • Data journalism or Longform journalism
  • Radio production
  • Podcasting
  • Political advocacy
  1. Special practicum opportunities:

In addition to reporting your own stories for media, and producing your own radio show, you can participate in two other new practicum opportunities:

  • Investigative journalism practicum. The Dalla Lana School is launching an Investigative Journalism Bureau to undertake major reporting projects in partnership with media across North America and around the world. You can learn the mechanics of investigative journalism by participating in these projects, alongside students and researchers from across U of T and other universities. The IJB is led by The Toronto Star’s Rob Cribb, one of Canada’s leading investigative reporters.
  • You can learn how editors think, by reviewing submissions yourself for one of Canada’s leading health care news services.


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).

  1. November 1 to November 5, 2021: 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
  1. November 12, 2021 to March 7, 2022

You’ll meet your mentors twice a month (every other Friday morning, starting November 13). 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
  • Clean writing
  • Either Data journalism with David Weisz, or Long form journalism with Brett Popplewell
  1. March 7 to March 11, 2022 Radio Boot Camp

Another five-day ‘Boot Camp’ to start learning basic audio skills, which you’ll use to produce a radio documentary and podcast concept.

  1. March 16 to June 24, 2022:

You’ll continue meeting your mentors twice a month to pitch and report stories.

You’ll also take short seminars in:

  • Radio skills, and produce a radio documentary
  • Podcasting, and produce a podcast concept
  • Political advocacy


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

  1. Demonstrate consistent attendance at:
  • Two one-week boot camps (November 2021 and March 2022)
  • Bureau meetings once every two weeks
  • Short skills courses
  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 your future career.
  1. During the Radio Camp, assess your mid-term progress with program staff.
  1. Pitch four stories to other partners during the course of the program. Pitches need to be 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 Program Director Robert Steiner for a video conference 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.

  • Wed, August 25, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT)
  • Wed, September 1, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT)
  • Tues, September 21, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. (EDT)

Click to register.



  • You can devote at least six to eight hours a week to this program and attend the bootcamp and radio camp.
  • You have academic or professional qualifications in your field, and are keen to deepen the public discussion about it.

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021-22 academic year. If you would like to apply for entry in November 2022, please check our website in 2022 for more information. 

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

  1. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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 Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism.
[2] Note that this is one week before Ontario March Break, and should not interfere with school holidays.