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.
NPR correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee visited a hit London museum show called "The Offbeat Sari." It showed her how the garment has changed — and made her reflect on what the sari means to her.
Researchers are exploring the impact of interactions with strangers and casual acquaintances. Their findings shed light on how seemingly fleeting conversations affect your happiness and well-being.
Kids love to do things on repeat. The same books read over and over, the same games, the same questions. It can be exhausting for parents, but researchers say repetition is key to childhood learning.
There have been nearly a dozen mass shootings this month and a total 346 mass shootings so far this year — each one leaving a heavy toll for communities around them.
Nearly 39 years after a gas from a pesticide factory poisoned tens of thousands of people in Bhopal, India, a new study finds that it also had health and economic impacts on men born a year later.
Population growth has long been a source of worry in India, which now has more people than China: 1.486 billion residents. But some experts are optimistic about the impact of this population boom.
NPR talked to hundreds of people over the course of the pandemic. As the emergency declaration ends on May 11, we asked some of them for their reflections on the past three tumultuous years.
A new study assesses a low-cost intervention aimed at reducing deaths from bleeding during childbirth. It's remarkably simple — and, according to a new study, quite effective.
UNESCO's new report on child marriages shows signs of progress. Yet each year, 12 million girls marry before they turn 18. And the pandemic, climate change and conflict has only made things worse.
Twelve million girls become brides every year, says a UNICEF report. In recent years, conflicts, climate change and COVID-19 have pushed more families into poverty, driving up child marriages.