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.
COVID-19 infections are sky-rocketing in nursing homes. Deaths among residents are only a fraction what they were in 2020. But staffing shortages have worsened and are affecting the care of residents.
Thousands of schools around the country have once again shifted to remote learning as COVID cases rise. It's taking a huge toll on children.
Daily totals of new coronavirus infections are higher than this past summer's wave, with infection numbers increasing quickly in the Northeast.
A few months after kids returned to classrooms for in-person learning, educators and health care providers are overwhelmed with the number of kids struggling with behavioral and mental health issues.
Americans' life expectancy declined by nearly two years in 2020 compared to the year before, primarily because of COVID-19. The drop in life expectancy was bigger for men, and for Blacks and Latinos.
The Biden administration is putting a quarter of a billion dollars into a new national suicide prevention line. But some say that's not enough to build the infrastructure that's needed.
The World Health Organization has designated a new coronavirus variant a "variant of concern" due to its large number of mutations. The strain has been named Omicron.
The CDC has added mental illness as a risk factor to qualify for a booster. Those with a mental health diagnosis are at a higher risk of getting infected, being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19.
The latest report card from the March of Dimes finds that preterm birth rates increased for Black and Native people. It also finds that the rate of maternal mortality has doubled in the past 30 years.
A Harvard-NPR poll finds American Indians and Alaska Natives were hit by the pandemic's emotional toll the worst. Native researchers say tribal groups have responded with resilience and strength.