Scott Hensley edits stories about health, biomedical research and pharmaceuticals for NPR's Science desk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has led the desk's reporting on the development of vaccines against the coronavirus.
Hensley has worked on award-winning investigations in collaboration with journalistic partners.
He was the lead NPR editor on an investigation with the Center for Public Integrity in 2018 that exposed drug industry influence on the choices of preferred medicines by Medicaid programs. The work won the 2019 Gerald Loeb Award for audio reporting.
In 2017, Hensley was the lead NPR editor on an investigation with Kaiser Health News that showed how the pharmaceutical industry exploits government incentives intended to encourage the development of treatments for rare diseases. The stories won the 2019 digital award from the National Institute for Health Care Management.
Hensley has been editing in his current role since 2019. He joined NPR in 2009 to launch Shots, a blog that expanded to become a digital destination for NPR health coverage.
Before NPR, Hensley was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal. He was the founding editor of The Wall Street Journal Health Blog, which focused on the intersection of health and business. As a reporter, he covered the drug industry and the Human Genome Project.
Hensley served on the board of the Association of Health Care Journalists from 2012 to 2020.
He has a bachelor's degree in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University.
Before becoming a journalist, Hensley worked in the medical device industry. He remains, now and forever, a lover of Dobermans, lacrosse and Callinectes sapidus.
Hungarian-born biochemist Katalin Karikó and American immunologist Drew Weissman found that a chemical change to genetic code called mRNA eliminated a problematic side effect when used in vaccines.
A panel of doctors and scientists advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted to recommend that people 6 months of age and older get new COVID boosters this fall.
At least 58,000 childern younger than 5 years old are hospitalized each year with RSV infections. A Pfizer vaccine given to pregnant people could help protect their infants from severe RSV illness.
A panel of experts voted 8-6 in favor of Food and Drug Administration approval of the first gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal genetic disease.
In a unanimous vote, 17-0, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the agency approve the first over-the-counter birth control pill.
Biden received a new COVID booster as part of the administration's push to increase uptake, but two new research papers cast doubt on whether they are any better than the original vaccines.
A committee of experts voted unanimously to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration authorize COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech for children as young as 6-months-old.
Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly voted to recommend that it authorize Novavax's two-dose vaccine against COVID-19.
The vaccines now in use are based on the form of the virus that circulated at the beginning of the pandemic and are less effective against the omicron variant. New options are in the works.
The approval replaces the emergency use authorizations granted last December and could make it easier for employers, the military and universities to mandate vaccination.