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You’re invited! A free panel on how to obtain public health information in Pa.

A free panel on how to get public health info in Pa.

Mar 13, 2023
Jessica Griffin / Philadelphia Inquirer

IMAGE: Clinical skills space in Philadelphia’s health sciences building.

Spotlight PA Staff

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters.

Open records battles are all too familiar for journalists covering health care in Pennsylvania. In addition to conducting countless interviews, reporters often wrestle with department officials over Right-to-Know requests.

To understand your open records rights and how members of the media tackle transparency on this issue, or the lack thereof, join Spotlight PA’s free panel on the subject March 16 from 6-7 pm EST on Zoom.

Spotlight PA’s Ed Mahon will be there to share his hard-earned tips from a lengthy legal fight for medical marijuana records the Wolf administration sought to keep private.

In 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Health took Spotlight PA to court in an effort to keep hidden information on how often cannabis is approved to treat opioid use disorder in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, an approach with little scientific backing.

A panel of Commonwealth Court judges ultimately ordered the administration to release the records, allowing Mahon to report on how anxiety became the top reason that doctors approve patients for the medical marijuana program.

Join Mahon and our other panelists Thursday, March 16 from 6-7 pm EST on Zoom for a free discussion on health care reporting in Pennsylvania, how we fight for open records, and your rights under the Right-to-Know Law.

This event is a part of Sunshine Week — a national initiative spearheaded by the News Leaders Association to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy.

Our panelists will include:

  • Ed Mahon, investigative reporter covering human services, Spotlight PA
  • Brett Sholtis, reporter, LancasterOnline (LNP)
  • Terry Mutchler, former head of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records

RSVP for free here. Submit your questions in advance to [email protected].

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