Rhitu Chatterjee Rhitu Chatterjee is a health correspondent with NPR, with a focus on mental health.
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Rhitu Chatterjee

Rhitu Chatterjee

Health Correspondent

Rhitu Chatterjee is a health correspondent with NPR, with a focus on mental health. In addition to writing about the latest developments in psychology and psychiatry, she reports on the prevalence of different mental illnesses and new developments in treatments.

Chatterjee explores the underlying causes of mental health disorders – the complex web of biological, socio-economic, and cultural factors that influence how mental health problems manifest themselves in different groups – and how our society deals with the mentally ill. She has a particular interest in mental health problems faced by the most vulnerable, especially pregnant women and children, as well as racial minorities and undocumented immigrants.

Chatterjee has reported on how chronic stress from racism has a devastating impact on pregnancy outcomes in black women. She has reported on the factors that put adolescents and youth on a path to school shootings, and what some schools are doing keep them off that path. She has covered the rising rates of methamphetamine and opioid use by pregnant women, and how some cities are helping these women stay off the drugs, have healthy pregnancies, and raise their babies on their own. She has also written about the widespread levels of loneliness and lack of social connection in America and its consequences of people's physical health.

Before starting at NPR's health desk in 2018, Chatterjee was an editor for NPR's The Salt, where she edited stories about food, culture, nutrition, and agriculture. In that role, she also produced a short online food video series called "Hot Pot: A Dish, A Memory," which featured dishes from a particular country as made by a person who grew up with the dish. The series was produced in collaboration with NPR's Goats & Soda blog.

Prior to that, Chatterjee reported on current affairs from New Delhi for PRI's The World, and covered science and health news for Science Magazine. Before that, she was based in Boston as a science correspondent with PRI's The World.

Throughout her career, Chatterjee has reported on everything from basic scientific discoveries to issues at the intersection of science, society, and culture. She has covered the legacy of the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the world's largest industrial disaster. She has reported on a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka and India. While in New Delhi, she also covered women's issues. Her reporting went beyond the breaking news headlines about sexual violence to document the underlying social pressures faced by Indian girls and women.

She has won two reporting grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and was awarded a certificate of merit by the Gabriel Awards in 2014.

Chatterjee has mentored student fellows by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, as well as young journalists for the Society of Environmental Journalists' mentorship program. She has also taught science writing at the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop.

She did her undergraduate work in Darjeeling, India. She has two master's degrees—a Master of Science in biotechnology from Visva-Bharati in India, and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.

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May Nast arrives for dinner at RiverWalk, an independent senior housing facility, in New York, April 1, 2021. COVID-19 infections are soaring again at U.S. nursing homes because of the omicron wave, and deaths are climbing too. That's leading to new restrictions on family visits and a renewed push to get more residents and staff members vaccinated and boosted. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption

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Seth Wenig/AP

What nursing homes have been like with the spread of omicron

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Students wearing masks board a school bus outside a Manhattan school on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, in New York. Brittainy Newman / AP hide caption

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Brittainy Newman / AP

How the current COVID surge is hurting learning and kids' mental health

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As students have returned to school this year, mental health issues related to the pandemic are surging. Cavan Images RF/Getty Images hide caption

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Kids are back in school — and struggling with mental health issues

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A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) flies around a residential neighborhood in Silver Spring, Maryland, on April 28, 2012. The non-migratory Pileated woodpecker is the largest of the common woodpeckers found in most of North America. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

2021: Celebrating The Joy Of Birds

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This pandemic winter looks a lot like last year's, but vaccines are saving lives

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There's a surge of mental health issues for kids back for in-school learning

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Memorials hang from the front gate of Greenwood Cemetery during an event and procession organized by Naming the Lost Memorials to remember and celebrate the lives of those killed by the COVID-19 pandemic on June 8 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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COVID sent last year's U.S. death rate soaring, especially among people of color

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The Biden administration is launching a new phone number for mental health crises

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New COVID-19 variant, Omicron, sparking concern with its speed and reinfection rate

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Native tribes have responded to the pandemic with creative ways to stay connected. Veronica Concho and Raymond Concho Jr. grew traditional Pueblo foods and Navajo crops with their grandchildren Kaleb and Kateri Allison-Burbank in Waterflow, N.M. Joshuaa Allison-Burbank hide caption

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Joshuaa Allison-Burbank

Why COVID poses a greater risk to people with a mental health diagnosis

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U.S. pregnancy-related deaths have doubled in the last 30 years

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