Henry Brannan covers rural healthcare in the Shenandoah Valley and outside of Charlottesville for VPM News and WMRA. Before joining Report for America, he was the 2022-23 Jim Lehrer fellow at the PBS NewsHour, where he produced stories on topics ranging from the disparities driving a projected surge in U.S. heart disease rates to the future of military recruiting as officials struggle to attract Gen Z recruits. Brannon got his start reporting at Street Roots, a weekly investigative street paper in Portland, Oregon. While there, he reported on the housing crisis, racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes and Oregon’s struggling behavioral health system. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and History from Grinnell College. While in school, he researched corporate landlords’ use of LLCs to obscure political contributions as an intern for the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. He’s also a proud Pell Grant recipient and alumnus of Portland Community College.
Beat: Rural healthcare
This beat focuses on areas west and south of the Charlottesville metro area, and some rural communities in the Shenandoah Valley where internet access is spotty. Rural healthcare access includes many topics such as facilities, health care costs, rural vs. metro attitudes, differences in rates of health outcomes, community based providers versus HMOs, lack of specialists, reported metrics versus real experiences, telemedicine access (lack of broadband), language barriers and how tech leaves rural communities behind. While exploring these issues, the journalist focuses on the solutions that are being pursued and grassroots efforts that might exist.