Kristen Hwang reports on health care and policy for CalMatters. She is passionate about humanizing data-driven stories and examining the intersection of public health and social justice.
When congenital syphilis rates soared to rates not seen in two decades in California, CalMatters reporter Kristen Hwang was on the case.
Her detailed and human reporting on the subject is widely honored, this time with a first place award from the Asian American Journalists Association. Previously, she has been honored for this work in the national Excellence in Health Care Journalism contest, California Journalism Awards and the Sacramento Press Club awards.
“Sexually transmitted diseases are too often a taboo topic, and rates have only worsened during the pandemic as Hwang expertly covers in her reported feature on congenital syphilis rates in California,” the AAJA judges wrote. “She takes on the discomfort and sensitivity of the subject with great care and empathy, and captures the heartbreak, uncertainty, and fear in pregnant people’s voices as they hear a positive diagnosis of congenital syphilis — highlighting a growing public health issue in a racially, economically diverse landscape of the Central Valley of California.
“Hwang not only describes a public health issue, but shows how health is so intimately tied with other problems within the community, such as homelessness and drug use. She seamlessly ties on-the-ground reporting with legislative, policy, and historical medical context — an incredible feat for just one reporter,” the judges said.
The AAJA has been honoring excellence in journalism since 1987, highlighting insightful stories of underrepresented communities and the journalists who work to bring those stories to light.
Hwang’s award-winning article was supported by the USC Annenberg Center for HealthJournalism’s 2022 California Fellowship.
Hwang reports on health care policy for CalMatters. She is passionate about humanizing data-driven stories and examining the intersection of public health and social justice. Prior to joining CalMatters, she earned a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley, where she researched water quality in the Central Valley. She has previously worked as a beat reporter for The Desert Sun and a stringer for the New York Times California COVID-19 team.