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Winners announced: 2006 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism Date: 03/08/07

March 8, 2007

Charles Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, contest co-chair, 213-237-7969
Julie Appleby, USA Today, contest co-chair, 703-854-5647
Len Bruzzese, AHCJ executive director, 573-884-5606

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A series that revealed how pharmacy chains toss customers' private health records into unsecured dumpsters and a story detailing efforts to save the life of a toddler who had been accidentally run over were among the winners of the 2006 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

The awards will be presented at Health Journalism 2007, the eighth annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists on March 17 in Los Angeles. The awards recognize the best health reporting in nine categories covering print, broadcast and online media. In only its third year, the contest drew nearly 400 entries.

"Across all categories, the entries were outstanding," said Julie Appleby, co-chair of the contest and a USA Today health writer. "This year's winners clearly explained topics that touch so many, from concerns about medical quality and privacy to the heartbreak and confusion surrounding a cancer diagnosis."

The awards program was established in 2004 to recognize top health care coverage. The association created the awards because of concerns that special interest groups were seeking to sway media coverage by awarding large prizes for coverage of medical and health issues. No health care companies or agencies fund the association's awards.

Winners will be recognized at an awards luncheon, with first-place winners receiving $500 plus registration and hotel accommodations for the conference. Winners also will speak on conference panels about their work, which will be available on the AHCJ Web site at healthjournalism.org.

Contest entries were screened and judged by 44 fellow journalists. In another effort to maintain the integrity of the awards, board members and contest committee members were not eligible to enter the contest.

AHCJ, founded in 1998, is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism are housed at the Missouri School of Journalism.

See a complete list of the winners and judges' comments about each winning entry.