Aneri Pattani

Multimedia Journalist

The Philadelphia Inquirer 

I’m a health reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering health issues in young adults with a focus on mental health and substance use. I often partner with local media like WHYY (NPR affiliate) and NBC10 to produce multimedia packages and amplify stories.

In addition to my reporting on this beat, I created and launched a multimedia series with five of my colleagues called Made In Philly. The series focuses on stories of millennials around the region who are trying to solve challenges in their communities, in small or large ways. The project aims to bring nuanced, solutions-oriented coverage to communities that have historically been neglected by the media or only covered in a negative light. Made In Philly also involves a large community engagement component, which we are building through events like pop-up coffee shop discussions and in-depth conversations between our sources and the public.

In 2019, after less than a year at the Inquirer, I was awarded the Pennsylvania News Media Association’s Keystone Press Award for a diverse journalist, given to a journalist from a historically underrepresented group making an outstanding contribution to their newsroom. I also received an honorable mention in the category of covering diverse sources and stories.

Health Stories

Silenced by fear: Moms with postpartum depression fear having their children taken away

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Women of color are less likely to get treatment for postpartum depression because they fear they'll be judged too quickly or harshly by child welfare services. Research shows those fears may be justified.

This project was a collaboration with WHYY Health + Science. I created a seven-minute audio feature that aired on The Pulse.

I was also interviewed about the project on WURD Radio.

Men’s cuddling group aims to redefine masculinity and heal trauma

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The two-year-old group draws men from various backgrounds: a 37-year-old Mormon who works as an airport gate agent, a 57-year-old married father of three, a 62-year-old retiree.

After I published this story, it was picked up by national and even international outlets from the U.K. and Australia.

She kept losing her eyesight, and no one knew why. Then a doctor asked about her mental health.

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Many clinicians are unaware that Asian Americans often experience physical symptoms of mental illness, so the group of over 21 million goes underdiagnosed and undertreated.

This was one of several stories through which I aimed to diversify the coverage of mental health by examining how different communities experience and respond to mental illness.

 

Binge drinking changes your DNA, and that matters for treating addiction

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Researchers found the genetic changes can make people crave alcohol even more. The hope is to one day reverse those changes to stop addiction.

This story involved reading and synthesizing the findings from a dozen research papers on the genetic mechanisms of alcohol and opioid addiction.

With growing mental-health needs, colleges look to professors for suicide prevention

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As the mental-health crisis grows on college campuses, faculty members are feeling pressure to address it in the classroom, too. But not all of them want the added responsibility.

Youth smoking trends in Philadelphia are changing. Now the city's lost a major tool to stop that.

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Philadelphia teens are increasingly ditching cigarettes in favor of flavored cigarillos, cigars about the size of a cigarette. Policies credited for cutting cigarette smoking, from limits on advertising to higher taxes, have not been applied to cigarillos or other flavored tobacco products. And now Philadelphia has lost the power to do so.

Made In Philly Stories

‘Sex ed isn’t serving young black women.’ These Philly women are trying to fix that.

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Black girls are poorly served by sex-education curriculums tailored for a white majority, experts say. A Philly-based nonprofit called Daughters of the Diaspora is enlisting black medical students to help change that.

Listen to an accompanying audio story I created here, on SoundCloud.

North Philly’s Jr. Barber Academy teaches kids the basics of barbering and entrepreneurship

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P. Michael Boone learned to cut his own hair out of necessity. Now he teaches kids the trade in his North Philly shop. But students also walk away with entrepreneurial skills and big dreams.

‘I suffered in silence for 12 years’: Rape survivor helps black women talk about sexual violence

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Black women are more likely to face sexual violence but less likely to speak out or be believed when they do. LaQuisha Anthony is trying to change that.

This story was also featured on NBC10, for which I was invited as a live interview guest.