Patricia Anstett is an accomplished journalist, mentor and leader who worked at major newspapers in three large U.S. cities. Her medical writing is respected for its accuracy, comprehensiveness, reach and helpful storytelling.She broke news, told memorable stories and brought about important changes to questionable, shoddy and unethical practices in medicine.
Anstett’s reporting led to improvements in the quality of mammography standards in Michigan. It explained how medicine failed patients at the end-of-life as the Jack Kevorkian assisted suicide debate raged. It compelled new guidelines at the University of Michigan to guard against fraudulent expense account standards and unethical use of research money for a doctor’s private gain.
Her extensive reporting on all aspects of mammography — compliance with state standards, pricing inequities, insurance reimbursement, access for Medicaid patients and funding for a state and federal program that paid for free mammograms for low-income women — was distinctive, informative, relentless and meaningful. Her stories had such an impact that failing centers closed and hospitals improved staffing and purchased new machines.
Anstett is a champion for change and gender equality in news coverage and hiring in her own newsroom and throughout the industry. She mentored more than a dozen interns, mostly minority women, and taught in classrooms across the country at a time when largely male journalism schools were clamoring to bring more women into the classroom to talk to the growing number of women entering the field.
Anstett retired in 2012 after 30 years at the Detroit Free Press, but remains fully engaged as an author in the most fulfilling mission of her career. She has written two books, including “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,’’ published in 2016 by Rowman & Littlefield. She edits two websites and ranks eighth in the world on Twitter for the hashtags #breastsurgery and #breastreconstruction.