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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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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American Indians and Alaska Natives are disproportionately affected by the pandemic

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Add five-minute stints of fun and easy exercise to your day at home by working with what's around you, says trainer Molly McDonald. Cha Pornea for NPR hide caption

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Why music sticks in our brains

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COVID-19 survivors gather in New York and place stickers representing lost relatives on a wall in remembrance of those who have died during the pandemic. Stefan Jeremiah/AP hide caption

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COVID deaths leave thousands of U.S. kids grieving parents or primary caregivers

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Studies show burnout ran rampant in health care prior to the pandemic. Now it's a full-blown crisis. PeopleImages/Getty Images hide caption

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The Toll Of Burnout On Medical Workers — And Their Patients

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Experts say there are ways that family and friends can support people who may be contemplating suicide. Tara Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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A rapid COVID-19 test swab is processed at Palos Verdes High School in Palos Verdes Estates on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images hide caption

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The James Webb space telescope is an infrared telescope that will observe the early universe, between one million and a few billion years in age. NASA hide caption

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After Years Of Delays, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope To Launch In December

In December, NASA is scheduled to launch the huge $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope, which is sometimes billed as the successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope. NPR correspondents Rhitu Chatterjee and Nell Greenfieldboyce talk about this powerful new instrument and why building it took two decades.

After Years Of Delays, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope To Launch In December

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According to the CDC, between March and May, 2020, hospitals across the country saw a 24% increase in mental health emergency visits by kids aged 5 to 11 years old, and a 31% increase for kids 12 to 17. Annie Otzen/Getty Images hide caption

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A visitor touches a victim's name inscribed on a bronze parapet at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City in 2020. Wang Ying/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images hide caption

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For Many Who Were Present, The 9/11 Attacks Have Had A Lasting Mental Health Impact

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