The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism has named Frontier reporter Kassie McClung as one of 24 journalists from around the country to participate in its 2021 National Fellowship.

Fellows receive training, mentoring and grants to investigate critical health issues in their communities. 

For her fellowship, McClung will report on infant and maternal health in Oklahoma for The Frontier. Babies and pregnant women in Oklahoma have some of the worst health outcomes in the nation. 

Oklahoma is the fourth-deadliest state when it comes to deaths of pregnant women and mothers, and it has the fifth-worst infant mortality rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

A lack of access to health care plays a role in both of these issues: Oklahoma had one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation before Medicaid expansion, and many rural hospitals have closed. 

The problem is much worse for Black Oklahomans and American Indians. 

The Frontier’s project will take a deep dive into the problems that harm Oklahoma’s women and children, and examine their causes and solutions. 

McClung will join a class of fellows at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism that includes reporters from the New York Times, The Washington Post and KOSU in Tulsa among others.