Joe Neel

Joe Neel is NPR's deputy senior supervising editor and a correspondent on the Science Desk.

As a leader of NPR's award-winning health and science team, Neel directs coverage of breaking news in health and science, ranging from disease outbreaks and advances in medical research to debates over health reform and public health.

Joe also plays a key role in overseeing the Science Desk's award-winning enterprise reporting. Among his current projects and responsibilities, Neel supervises the Monday "Your Health" segment on Morning Edition. He also directs several ongoing editorial partnerships. One, a partnership with Kaiser Health News and public radio member stations, focuses on health care in the United States. Another is a polling project on health issues with the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Neel has played a key role in expanding the network's coverage of global health and development issues. He is currently focused on domestic health issues, including cutting-edge biomedical research and developments in the health industry, such as the Affordable Care Act.

In 2008, he launched NPR's "Your Health" podcast and helped launch and grow "Shots," NPR's health blog, in 2010.

In addition to his responsibilities at NPR's Science Desk, Neel also regularly serves as newsroom manager, overseeing the network's overall news coverage.

During his tenure as editor, NPR's health reporters and correspondents have won numerous awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award, the National Academy of Sciences Communication Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society for Professional Journalists, the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Journalism Prize, and the Association of Health Care Journalism award. Neel was awarded the prestigious Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellowship in 2007.

Neel started filing stories about medicine and health as a freelancer for NPR in 1994 and joined the staff two years later.

He earned bachelor degrees from Washington University in St. Louis in both biology and German literature and language. He also studied biology at the Universitaet Tuebingen in Germany.

The HIV epidemic in the U.S. started in 1981, mainly in major cities along the East and West Coasts.

The first reports were from Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco among gay and bisexual men. Within months, it was clear that injecting drug users were also getting the virus.

Even now, you can see the lingering geographic contours of how the epidemic unfolded.