Three staff members in Medical Public Affairs (MPA) at Washington University School of Medicine have received writing awards in an annual national competition sponsored by the Group on Institutional Advancement (GIA) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Kristina Sauerwein, a senior medical science writer, received the top honor, a gold Robert G. Fenley Writing Award for general staff writing; Tamara Bhandari, PhD, a senior medical science writer, received a bronze in the news releases category; and Elizabethe Holland Durando, director of medical news and the Record’s medical editor, received an honorable mention in general staff writing.
Sauerwein was honored for a profile in the Record on Weston McCarron, a former medical student now training as a resident in emergency medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The profile chronicles McCarron’s unlikely journey from Jerome, Idaho, a small town blighted by poverty, unemployment, and a lack of health-care resources, to the School of Medicine, where he received a full scholarship and accolades from faculty and peers. Sauerwein, an author and former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Los Angeles Times, joined MPA in 2015.
Bhandari was awarded for her piece “Mind’s quality control center found in long-ignored brain area.” The news release focused on research led by Nico Dosenbach, MD, PhD, an associate professor of neurology, about the overlooked cerebellum and how it actually has a hand in every aspect of higher brain function. “The cerebellum can’t get no respect,” the release cleverly begins. Bhandari, who has a PhD in infectious disease immunology, worked in laboratories for about a decade before switching to science journalism. She joined MPA in 2016.
Holland Durando was honored for her Outlook magazine story “Unending Trauma,” about the efforts of two faculty members to address mental health and other needs of Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar and escaped to refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh. Holland Durando traveled to Bangladesh with Anne Glowinski, MD, a professor of psychiatry, and Rupa Patel, MD, an assistant professor of medicine, to write about, videotape and photograph their work. A former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Holland Durando joined MPA in 2012.