Stanford Medicine wins multiple awards for excellence in communications

Faculty and Office of Communications staff earn nine awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

- By Christina Hendry

A story about barbecuing with his father, who had dementia, earned Karl Lorenz a gold award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. 
Brian Stauffer

Stanford Medicine’s Office of Communications received nine top awards for writing and video production in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ annual Awards for Excellence competition. The office received three golds, two silvers, three bronzes and an honorable mention in several categories for work produced in 2021 and 2022.

Karl Lorenz, MD, professor of population health and primary care, received a gold award in the solicited articles category for his piece, “Adventures of the Mind: Barbecue with Dad, dementia and how our senses contribute to cognition.” Judges called it a richly detailed and sensory story that creates a world we can live in, with many great, immersive details.

In the print and digital publishing category (internal audiences), director Janet Joson and the Stanford Medicine internal communications team received the gold award for their work on the StanfordMed Pulse. The electronic internal newsletter, launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, provides daily updates to approximately 55,000 people at Stanford Medicine. Judges appreciated the data-backed approach to increasing engagement, writing that it was a “great way to evolve a channel created for pandemic communication into the post-pandemic world.”

Clinical assistant professor of pediatrics Maya Adam, MD, and communications manager Lora Ma received a gold award in the electronic communications (audio and video) category for their video on mental health titled A Little Help Goes a Long Way, highlighting the importance of asking for help when feeling overwhelmed. Judges called it “beautiful work,” and an “excellent piece that is simple, relatable, and universally understood.”

Communications director Mandy Erickson received a silver award for her news release on an experimental depression treatment found to be nearly 80% effective in a controlled study of trial participants suffering from severe depression. Judges said that the measurement information was very thorough and well-done.

Communications leader Aris Lazdins, along with his team, received the silver award in the special events, projects, programs or campaigns category for their “Pandemic Puzzle” conference series, which convened leading experts — in government, business, and health care — to discuss the global pandemic. Judges said that “events like this helped academic medicine shine during a dark chapter of our history," and that “the attention to diversity, equity and inclusion issues is impressive.”

Stanford Medicine magazine received a bronze award in the print and digital publishing (external audience periodicals) category. The magazine, available online and in print, features a package of stories on a single theme told from the perspectives of Stanford physicians, researchers, students and patients. Rosanne Spector and Patty Hannon are editors on the publication. Judges wrote that the magazine is a “beautiful and informative publication” and “innovative, both editorially and in its design.”

Science writer Erin Digitale received a bronze award in the news releases category for her article describing a study on how the teen brain tunes in more to unfamiliar voices than its mother’s. Judges wrote that Digitale’s thoughtful approach of having the researchers discuss their work in the context of their own lives as parents made the article highly relatable and positioned the institution well as an expert.

Science writer Bruce Goldman received two awards this year. His article, “From angel to demon: Why some brain cells go ‘bad’,” received a bronze award in the basic science staff writing category. The article “demonstrates a moving example of humanity in medicine, and the story is compelling enough to uphold its own relevance to the audience,” judges wrote.

Goldman also received an honorable mention in the news releases category for his article discussing the dangers of gummy phlegm in severe COVID-19 cases. Judges appreciated Goldman’s “out-of-the-box thinking to target federal regulators, VCs, drug makers, etc.,” and how he “thoughtfully included language that would appeal to each of those target audience groups.”

The awards are given by the AAMC’s Group on Institutional Advancement, which includes communications, development and alumni relations staff at academic medical centers. In 2022, Stanford Medicine was recognized with three gold, two silver and two bronze awards.

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

2023 ISSUE 3

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