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Society for Women's Health Research Honors Five Journalists with "Excellence in Women’s Health Research Journalism Awards"

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 15, 2008) The Society for Women’s Health Research honored the work of five journalists today, presenting each with a 2008 Excellence in Women’s Health Research Journalism Award. The awards span all media. The winning entries are from Vogue magazine, KCET-TV, CURE, The Courier-Journal, and healthtalk.com radio.

“Women are turning to the media for assistance in making their healthcare decisions,” Jo Parrish, vice president for institutional advancement of the Society, said.  “We started giving the Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2003 because we feel it is important to honor the journalists who do an outstanding job in reporting women’s health information in a clear and accurate manner for consumers.”

Alexis Jetter won in the magazine category for her article “the Hot Shot,” published in the May 2007 issue of Vogue magazine. The story takes a close look at cervical cancer and the most recent tool physicians have to combat it, the human-papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The vaccine protects against the two types of HPV that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer. Jetter reflects on the controversies surrounding the vaccine, such as potential mandatory vaccinations.

The award for television reporting went to Val Zavala of KCET-TV, a PBS affiliate in Los Angeles, for her January 30, 2007, report, “Women’s Hidden Heart Disease.” Zavala examines how women with heart disease often don’t have the symptoms that men have. Working with Dr. Noel Bairey-Merz, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai’s Women’s Health Center in Los Angeles, Zavala educated her audience on small vessel heart disease, which many women have, but many physicians miss.

Elizabeth Whittington from CURE, a quarterly magazine that presents scientific information on cancer in easy to understand language, is the winner in the trade publication category for her fall 2007 article “A New Era.” The article appeared in CURE’s “Breast Cancer Special Issue.” Whittington examines how researchers are combining both new and older treatments to combat breast cancer. The article suggests there is a shift in thinking to treat the specific needs of each individual tumor.

Laura Ungar won in the newspaper category for her article series “Cervical Cancer: India’s Scourge,” published in The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., on November 18, 2007. Ungar spent three weeks in India speaking with physicians, patients with different stages of the disease, and their families. She came to truly understand the unnecessary burden cervical cancer has on the 120,000 Indian women who are diagnosed every year.

Judy Foreman, host of “Health Now” on healthtalk.com, won in the radio category. Foreman’s June 13, 2007, show “Is Cancer Inevitable?” focused on cancer prevalence and prevention. The show interviewed several health care professionals in a call-in format, so several listeners were able to have their questions answered by the doctors.

The Society launched the annual awards program in 2003 to honor journalists who excel in providing the public with valuable health research information. The awards program draws widespread interest from journalists in the United States, Canada and Britain. The award recipients are chosen by a distinguished panel of health and medical experts selected by the Society. All of the winning entries for 2008 were published in 2007. 


Karen Young
Society for Women’s Health Research
(202) 496-5001 


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