Stanford Medicine wins national awards for COVID-19 remembrance project and work by media creators

A COVID-19 remembrance project, two videos, an article about bad brain cells and Stanford Medicine magazine have been recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The COVID-19 remembrance project "Apart-Together," organized by Stanford's Medicine and the Muse program, won a grand gold award from the national Council for Advancement and Support of Education. For the project, more than 3,000 community members painted pieces of wood to commemorate lives lost during the pandemic.
Steve Fisch

Updated Oct. 25, 2022 to include awards announced in October 2022.

Stanford Medicine won five awards for media and institutional programming this year from the national Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

CASE honored the institution with a grand gold-level Circle of Excellence award in the category for multiday, in-person special events for the COVID-19 remembrance project, “Apart-Together.” The program was spearheaded by the Medicine and the Muse program, the medical school’s home for arts and humanities.

“The panel was unanimous in the decision that Stanford’s remembrance of COVID-19 should receive the Grand Gold. It was a creative, accessible and touching monument to those who gave so much during the pandemic, and it honored the loss of life in a beautiful and meaningful tribute,” the CASE judges wrote.

The project had two parts: a community art project and a soundwalk. For the art project, more than 3,000 community members painted pieces of wood to represent a petal. Lauren Toomer, a Stanford lecturer in art and art history, created a treelike sculpture for the project and joined the community-painted petals to create more than 600 flowers to symbolize the more than 600,000 lives that had been lost to COVID-19 at the time. The art project culminated with an installation event that included a dedication of the sculpture, community members “planting” the flowers around the sculpture, live music and remarks from Stanford Medicine leaders.

The soundwalk consisted of a playlist of narration and music by Stanford students and faculty, designed to be listened to while walking in the arboretum area of campus, where the art installation is located.

The project was led by Jacqueline Genovese, executive director of Medicine and the Muse, and Bryant Lin, MD, clinical professor of medicine in primary care and population health, with help from a supporting committee.

“We would love to say a big thank you to the more than 3,000 individuals and more than 125 departments and areas of the university who participated and truly made this a unifying project for Stanford Medicine, Stanford Health and Stanford University,” Genovese said. 

Winning blog post

An article by science writer Bruce Goldman for Stanford Medicine’s Scope blog won a gold medal for “From angel to demon: Why some brain cells go ‘bad.’” The article combines a look at neuroscience research conducted by the late Ben Barres, MD, PhD, with new findings that answer a question he regretted leaving unsolved as he neared the end of his life: Why do certain cells in the brain go from “angel to demon” in some neurodegenerative diseases?

The judges praised the article, writing: “The humanizing element of the personal connection and the passion of the researchers gave it a compelling edge over many others. Strong concept with lots of information and emotion that makes the scientist relatable.”

Two videos by Maya Adam, MD, clinical assistant professor in pediatric infectious diseases, received awards. “Grandma Knows Best” won a silver award. The short, nearly wordless, animated video used humor and culturally neutral characters to encourage vaccination for COVID-19. “The Great Race: A COVID-19 Story,” an animated short that took a similar approach to promote mask-wearing, won a bronze award.

Stanford Medicine magazine won a bronze award in the category for magazines with a targeted audience. The entry included three issues, each focusing on a different theme: COVID-19, racial inequity in medicine, and the brain and nervous system. Judges commented that the magazine has “a distinctive approach to storytelling that appeals to readers beyond the institution.” The magazine is edited by Rosanne Spector and Patricia Hannon.

In October, CASE District VII, which includes Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah, recognized 11 Stanford Medicine entries with Best of District VII awards. The award-winning entries include Stanford Medicine magazine, articles for Scope blog and Stanford Medicine, and videos and events produced by Stanford Medicine faculty, students and staff.

In addition to the entries awarded in the national competition, District VII recognized:


About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

2024 ISSUE 1

Psychiatry’s new frontiers