About AHCJ: General News

2013 winners named in top health journalism awards Date: 03/11/14

March 11, 2014

See more about each winner, including a summary of the entry. AHCJ members can click on the title of the entry to see the questionnaire about how the story was reported.

Tune in for the 2013 winners

AHCJ webcast
AHCJ announced the 2013 winners of the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism in a webcast.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – An investigation that found criminals running diet supplement companies, a series revealing the failure of hospitals to provide life-saving newborn screening tests and an examination of efforts to prevent childhood deaths in Africa and Asia were among the top winners of this year’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

First-place awards also went to articles that looked at the potential dangers of acetaminophen, the reasons behind a high suicide rate in Montana and what happens to veterans who lose their health benefits when they are discharged for minor offenses.

Elizabeth Rosenthal, a reporter for The New York Times, won first place in beat reporting for a series exploring why the United States has the most costly medical care in the world.

The 2013 awards, announced today by the Association of Health Care Journalists, recognize the best health reporting in 12 categories. This year, the contest’s 10th, had reporters compete across mediums in topic area categories, including public health, business and health policy. More than 475 entries were received, marking a new record.

"From international reporting to deep dives into regional issues, this year’s winners reflect the broad scope of excellent reporting being done today,” said contest chair and AHCJ board member Julie Appleby, a senior correspondent for the nonprofit Kaiser Health News.

AHCJ launched the awards program amid growing concern that too many journalism awards are sponsored by special interest groups that seek to sway media coverage. No health care companies or agencies fund AHCJ's awards program.

Contest entries were screened and judged by more than 50 working journalists or journalism professors. AHCJ board members and contest committee members were not eligible to enter the contest.

In addition to Appleby, the contest committee includes AHCJ members Naseem Miller, Cate Vojdik, Blythe Bernhard and Andy Miller.

The awards will be presented during a luncheon March 29 at Health Journalism 2014, the association's annual conference, taking place this year in Denver. First-place winners will receive $500 plus registration and hotel accommodations at the conference. Those winners also will speak on conference panels about their work. 

AHCJ is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With more than 1,500 members across the United States and around the globe, 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 provide training, resources and a professional home for journalists. Its offices are based at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The winners are:

Beat Reporting

First: Elizabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times

Second: John Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Third: Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times

Investigative (Large)

First: Deadly delays; staff, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Second: Supplement shell game: The people behind risky pills; Alison Young, John Hillkirk and Shannon Rae Green, USA Today

Third: Nevada buses hundreds of mentally-ill patients across country; Phillip Reese and Cynthia Hubert, Sacramento Bee

Investigative (Small)

First: Other than honorable; Dave Philipps, (Colorado Springs) Gazette

Second: Children are dying; Alexandra Robbins, Washingtonian Magazine

Third: Special report: Scientists critical of EU chemical policy have industry ties; Brian Bienkowski and Stéphane Horél, Environmental Health News

Consumer (Large)

First: Overdose; Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller, ProPublica

Second: Life and death in assisted living; A.C. Thompson and Jonathan Jones, ProPublica and Frontline

Third: The course of their lives; Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Third: Exploring our microbes; Rob Stein, Jane Greenhalgh and Joe Neel, NPR

Consumer (Small)

First: Suicide epidemic in Montana; Cindy Uken, The Billings Gazette

Second: Planning for the end: A look at advance directives in New Hampshire; Todd Bookman, New Hampshire Public Radio

Third: Have a heart: Organ donation & transplantation in Louisiana; Karen Stassi, Healthcare Journal of New Orleans

Business (Large)

First: Supplement shell game: The people behind risky pills; Alison Young, John Hillkirk and Shannon Rae Green, USA Today

Second: Life and death in assisted living; A.C. Thompson and Jonathan Jones, ProPublica and Frontline

Third: Dirty medicine; Katherine Eban, Doris Burke and Frederik Joelving, Fortune

Business (Small)

First: BioBeat; Luke Timmerman, Xconomy

Second: Venture philanthropy: A new driver for research; Lauren Arcuri Ware, Proto

Third: Getting Stuck; Dianna Wray, Houston Press

Public Health (Large)

First: Step by step: The path to ending child mortality; special reports team, GlobalPost

Second: ADHD nation; Alan Schwarz, The New York Times

Third: Two lives: Why are you not dead yet?; Laura Helmuth, Slate

Public Health (Small)

First: The art of eradicating polio; Leslie Roberts, Science Magazine

Second: The cost of diabetes; Rhiannon Meyers, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times

Health Policy (Large)

First: Sex and dementia in nursing homes; Bryan Gruley, John Brecher and Cecile Daurat, Bloomberg News

Second: Chronic crisis; Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Third: Overdose; Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller, ProPublica

Health Policy (Small)

First: The robot will see you now; Jonathan Cohn, The Atlantic

Second: Bitter pills; John Ramsey, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer

Third: Understanding Obamacare; Laurence Hammack and David Ress, The Roanoke (Va.) Times


First: Rethinking the formula; Roxanne Khamsi, Nature Medicine

Second: Telltale hearts; Jeanne Erdmann, Nature Medicine

Third: When the smoke clears; Sonya Collins, Georgia State University Magazine