Healthy NewsWorks (HNW) empowers elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, critical thinkers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.
Our programs and initiatives
Healthy NewsWorks delivers three school-based programs that improve literacy and health knowledge by transforming K-8 students in the Philadelphia area into journalists who work in teams to research, write, and produce articles and digital materials about health issues that matter to them and their communities. In the process, students become researchers, writers, critical thinkers, and confident communicators who advance literacy and health understanding in their schools and communities.
Core Reporters is delivered to students in grades 3-8 through a series of up to 24 lessons that develop students’ interviewing, writing, reporting, and research skills.
Students then use their knowledge and skills to create and publish health newspapers and digital media that focus on topics relevant to their peers and communities. The Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities book program is integrated into Core Reporters. Students interview local and national health leaders and use the information they gather to write and illustrate book chapters, which are compiled and published in a bound book that is posted on the HNW website and distributed to students, schools, community partners, and others.
Cub Reporters is a junior reporting program for students in grades K-3 that includes two tracks: Hearty Kids (up to eight lessons on heart health) and Kind Kids (four lessons on social/emotional skills). Classrooms may complete one or both tracks. Each lesson includes activities that help students learn and practice reading, writing, research, and reporting skills. With guidance from their teachers and HNW, these young reporters help write and illustrate a junior section for their school’s health newspaper.
Special Lessons are offered to classrooms in participating schools that do not participate in the Core or Cub program. Lesson topics include writing letters to the editor, reducing stress through art, and identifying reliable sources.
In addition to its classroom-based programs, HNW launched By Kids For Kids (BKFK) in spring 2021. BKFK is an online health news site developed by and for children ages 5-14. This site allows children outside of our school-based programs to be published.
Started in 2003 at an Upper Darby, PA, elementary school, Healthy NewsWorks began as a collaboration between journalist Marian Uhlman and second grade teacher Susan Spencer. Healthy NewsWorks offers a unique approach to addressing two significant concerns for children: dire literacy needs and mounting health issues. These issues are inextricably tied together because children need to acquire good writing, listening, and communication skills in order to understand and appropriately use health information during their lifetimes. As of Fall 2021, Marian has since overseen the program in more than 40 schools that have published more than 550 newspaper editions.
- Fall 2003—First newspaper, Hillcrest Healthy Times, is published at Hillcrest Elementary School, Upper Darby School District.
- Fall 2006—Healthy Times begins expansion as a pilot program of The Food Trust.
- Summer 2009—Student reporters cover the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Weight of the Nation conference in Washington, D.C.
- Fall 2009—Student journalists cover the American Public Health Association annual meeting in Philadelphia.
- Summer 2010—Program is renamed Healthy NewsWorks and joins New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator at Resources for Human Development.
- Spring 2012—Healthy NewsWorks student journalists publish first book, Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2012.
- Winter 2013—Healthy NewsWorks launches prescription drug safety program in schools, supported by grant from the American Medical Association Foundation.
- Spring 2014–Healthy NewsWorks publishes its first community edition, Healthy Neighbors, focused on heart health, with stories and illustrations from student health newspapers.
- Spring 2015–Quest Diagnostics features Healthy NewsWorks students in its annual corporate social responsibility report.
- Fall 2015–Updated our Teacher Resource Guide to align with Common Core Standards.
- Spring 2016–Create peer-to-peer videos on handwashing and Ebola that were shown to students in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
- Spring 2016–Recipient of a public health award from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, one of the nation’s oldest professional medical associations.
- Fall 2016–Recipient of a 3-year capacity-building grant from The Grace S. and W. Linton Nelson Foundation.
- August 2017–IRS approved Healthy NewsWorks’ application to become an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
- October 2017–Our Hearty Kids initiative, promoting heart health awareness for students in kindergarten through second grade, is launched.
- March 2018—Healthy NewsWorks graduates from New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator and begins operations as an independent nonprofit organization.
- November 2018—Healthy NewsWorks wins the prestigious GSK Impact Award
- June 2021—Healthy NewsWorks is named a winner of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation’s 2021 Project Innovation Grant Challenge.
- November 2021—Healthy NewsWorks starts a program in Camden’s Catholic Partnership Schools, expanding into New Jersey.
- December 2021—Healthy NewsWorks is honored with a GSK Impact Award, its second time receiving the prestigious award from GlaxoSmithKline.