Medical school news office wins national awards

The Office of Communication & Public Affairs received seven awards in an annual contest sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

- By Susan Ipaktchian

The award-winning story "Of mice, men and women" looked at ways to make research more inclusive.
Gerard DuBois

Writers and editors in the School of Medicine’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs have received top awards for their work in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ annual competition.

The office received a total of seven awards, including three golds in the contest’s writing categories, for work published in 2016-17.

Science writer Krista Conger received the gold award in the basic-science writing category for “Of mice, men and women,” which appeared in the spring 2017 issue of Stanford Medicine magazine. The story led off a themed package about sex, gender and medicine, and examines efforts to embrace and account for sex and gender differences in research. One judge noted that the story covers a critical topic in the world of biomedical research and that it was “presented clearly and creatively.”

Another story in that issue of the magazine earned a silver award in the same category: “Two minds,” by science writer Bruce Goldman, explores the question of whether the brains of men and women are wired differently. “Fresh consideration of an essential topic in neuroscience, presented in a crisp, compelling article,” one judge wrote.

The puzzle solver,” by science writer Tracie White, received the gold medal in the general staff writing category. Published in the spring 2016 issue of the magazine, the story describes a Stanford researcher’s race to solve the biochemical puzzle of chronic fatigue syndrome, a disease afflicting the researcher’s son. One judge said it was a “moving and emotional piece, which was well-conceived and designed.”

Sam and Aruna Gambhir were featured in the award-winning story "And yet, you try."
Timothy Archibald

In the solicited articles category, freelance writer Julie Greicius received the gold medal for “And yet, you try,” published in the fall 2016 issue of Stanford Medicine. The feature describes the experiences of a Stanford diagnostics expert and his wife as they embarked on a quest to save their son after the teenager was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “This piece sensitively addresses the ultimate irony of a father trying to save a son afflicted with the very same aggressive brain cancer he studies,” one judge wrote. “It is told with both sensitivity and a clear explanation of our current understanding of the disease and the research underway to address it. The family’s courage shines through.” 

Stanford Medicine magazine earned a silver medal in the external publications category. Judges praised the look and the content of the magazine, describing it as well-written, artistic and informative. “I would call it the New Yorker or The Atlantic of medical school publications,” one judge wrote. “Articles are insightful and passionately written.” The magazine is edited by Rosanne Spector.

News releases written by members of the office also earned recognition. White received a silver medal for “Unroofing surgery relieves debilitating symptoms of heart anomaly.” The judges praised the release for presenting straightforward information that was easily understandable for a variety of audiences.

And Goldman received an honorable mention in the news release category for “Study shows how slow breathing induces tranquility.” Judges said the writing was effective and informative.

The office’s news releases are edited by John Sanford.

The awards are given by the AAMC’s Group on Institutional Advancement, which includes communications, development and alumni relations staff at academic medical centers. This year’s awards will be presented March 22 at the group’s annual meeting in Seattle.

About Stanford Medicine

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