The Association of Health Care Journalists has hired broadcasting veteran Andrew Smiley as its next executive director, the association’s board of directors announced today. Smiley succeeds Len Bruzzese, who is stepping down after 15 extremely successful years as AHCJ’s executive director to serve as senior adviser to the organization.
Smiley, who begins his new role September 1, most recently served as coordinating director of the Golf Channel in Orlando, Fla.
“Len’s departure left some very big shoes to fill,” AHCJ Board President Ivan Oransky said. “Following an extensive national search, we are very pleased to have Andrew joining us, and know that he will bring his decades of experience in television journalism and management to a strong organization poised for continued growth at a critical time.”
Smiley, 41, spent nine years with the Golf Channel and NBC Sports. Before that, he spent nine years in various directing positions with ESPN, where he won an Emmy, and a short stint with the PBS affiliate in Chattanooga, Tenn. Smiley holds communications degrees from Berry College in Georgia and the University of Hartford in Connecticut, and is in the final stages of coursework toward an executive MBA degree from Washington State University.
“I am extremely excited to transition from nearly 20 years in corporate media to the nonprofit world and to join AHCJ as executive director,” Smiley said. “Health care journalism is of the utmost importance in all our daily lives, and I cannot think of a better time to join such a successful and vitally significant organization. “
“I know that succeeding Len in this role will be no easy task, as his tenure has helped grow the organization into the success it is today,” he continued. “I am excited to work with the talented membership, staff and board to build on the existing momentum of the organization and to help shepherd AHCJ into the future.”
AHCJ is one of several professional journalism organizations housed at the Missouri School of Journalism. AHCJ moved to Columbia from the University of Minnesota with the hiring of Bruzzese in 2005. Smiley will carry a secondary appointment as an assistant professor/professional practice at the University of Missouri.
“Through the School’s partnership with AHCJ, Missourians and others around the world benefit from health news that reflects the latest scientific research, the opinions of leading experts and information that is accurate and factual,” said David Kurpius, the dean of the Missouri School of Journalism. “Our students learn from top health media professionals who provide the depth of their experience, significant resources and high-level training. I would like to thank Len for his leadership over the past 15 years and we look forward to working with Andrew to continue this important work.”
The Association of Health Care Journalists 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. It is a community of about 1,500 members across the United States and a dozen other countries committed to the highest standards of reporting, writing, editing, and broadcasting in health care journalism for the general public and trade publications.
The Association hosts a resource-laden website, offers numerous fellowships for journalists, conducts training to help journalists improve and advance their coverage and advocates for the free flow of information to the public.