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Communications office wins six national awards

Writers and editors in the medical school’s news office were recognized for the quality of the magazine and the news releases they produced in 2016.

- By Susan Ipaktchian

A story about geneticist Ron Davis' search for a cure for his son's chronic fatigue syndrome received the platinum award in the best articles of the year category in a national competition.
Timothy Archibald

The School of Medicine’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs has received national recognition for the quality of its news releases and magazine stories, including the top prize in the “best articles of the year” category.

Overall, the office received six awards — one platinum award, two golds and three silvers — in the 2017 Circle of Excellence Awards contest sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Writer Tracie White earned the sole platinum award in the best-articles category for “The puzzle solver,” which was published in the spring 2016 issue of Stanford Medicine magazine. The article described the efforts of genetics professor Ron Davis, PhD, to find a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, the crippling illness afflicting his son. Contest judges said it was “a powerful story, deeply compassionate and compelling in its expression. The reader feels this family tragedy while also appreciating the science being done at Stanford.” This is the second time that White has won the platinum award in the category.

The magazine also won a gold award for periodical staff writing. Judges said the magazine stories “met the difficult task of relaying complex medical and scientific ideas clearly and concisely, in a way that appeals to both lay readers and a professional audience, and did so while drawing readers in with compelling writing that emphasizes the human aspect behind the science. The articles demonstrated ‘how’ Stanford is on the forefront of medical education, research, and development, yet each story was written with a focus on the human perspective, which demonstrates the ‘why.’”

The five stories in the staff-writing entry included:

  • White’s “puzzle solver” story.
  • And yet you try,” by Julie Greicius, published in the fall 2016 issue, which describes the quest of diagnostics expert Sam Gambhir to save his son after the teen was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Greicius’ story also received a silver award in the feature-writing category.
  • Inflammation implication,” by Bruce Goldman, published in the summer 2016 issue, exploring research into how age-related chronic systemic inflammation may affect your heart.
  • Diagnose this,” by Jennie Dusheck, which tells how researchers in the field of diagnostics are taking advantage of advances in biomedical research, engineering and computer technology to make diagnostics more informative and less invasive. The story led off the fall 2016 issue focusing on the field of diagnostics.
  • Brain waves,” by White. This feature, from the winter 2016 issue on precision health, shows how insights from neuroscience could customize care for people with anxiety, depression and other psychiatric conditions.

The news releases written by the office’s staff earned a gold award in the research, medicine and science news writing category. The judges commended the entry for “high-end writing” that “presents topics in ways in which the average reader can peruse them comfortably. Good use of quotes, which drive but do not overpower the writing.” The news releases were edited by John Sanford.

The five news releases included in the entry were:

This illustration received a silver award in the annual Circle of Excellence Awards.
Jason Holley

Stanford Medicine magazine received a silver award in the special-constituency magazine category. Judges cited the magazine for “deeply personal and affecting” stories and for exploring “pressing issues affecting health care, often detailing the human impact on physicians, patients and families.” The magazine is edited by Rosanne Spector and Kathy Zonana.

An illustration by Jason Holley that accompanied the story “Building a better drug,” in the winter 2016 issue of the magazine, won a silver award in the design category. Judges said the drawing “showed strength in the forced perspective, the asymmetry and the abstract narrative of the background.”

CASE is a professional organization for those in the fields of communications, alumni relations and development at educational institutions. It includes more than 3,600 colleges, universities, and independent elementary and secondary schools in 82 countries. To recognize the best work in these fields, CASE sponsors its annual Circle of Excellence Awards.

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at

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