Parenthood and Grey's Anatomy Take Primetime Top Honors in Sentinel for Health Awards

Asperger's, Cystic Fibrosis, and Cancer Storylines Recognized

Sep 28, 2011, 06:00 ET from Norman Lear Center

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Winners of the Sentinel for Health Awards for exemplary achievements of television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives were announced at the Writers Guild of America, West in Los Angeles.

The NBC drama Parenthood received first place in the primetime drama category for accurately portraying the challenges involved in raising a child who has Asperger's syndrome. An episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy earned first place for a primetime minor storyline about cystic fibrosis, and the Telemundo TV series El Clon won first place in the Telenovela category for a storyline about the importance of Pap smears to prevent cervical cancer.

In the children's programming category, PBS's Sesame Street took top honors for a storyline about healthy eating on a budget. And ABC's Off the Map was named the winner in the global health category for excellence in storytelling on the topics of cultural competency regarding childbirth in the Quechua culture, mining health hazards, and the exploitation of hope among terminally ill people.

The awards are presented on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

HH&S recognized the five first-place winners from a field of 26 storylines at the 12th annual Sentinel for Health Awards. Some of the topics tackled in other recognized storylines included Alzheimer's, pediatric brain tumors, and sexual violence.

"Television writers and producers are in a unique position both to entertain and to inform viewers," said Martin Kaplan, the Norman Lear Chair at the USC Annenberg School and Director of the Lear Center. "The Sentinel for Health Awards give us a chance to shine a spotlight on master storytellers who use their power not only to write compelling shows, but also to educate audiences about crucial issues."

"Every day millions of viewers worldwide learn something new about health from TV storylines and take action on what they've learned," said Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of HH&S. "Viewers follow TV stories that touch their hearts and minds and strongly influence the choices they make. Recognizing the profound impact of TV storylines on health knowledge, attitudes and behavior, we honor writers and producers who weave accurate health messages into their storytelling."

First-round judging was conducted at the CDC and partner organizations by more than 55 topic experts on 13 panels who evaluated the accuracy of health depictions. The eight shows named as finalists were then evaluated at USC by an expert panel representing entertainment, academic and public health organizations. These second-round judges scored finalist entries on entertainment value and potential benefit to the viewing audience.

Primetime Drama

  • FIRST PLACE: Parenthood (NBC): "Qualities and Difficulties" (Asperger's); Written by Jason Katims, Bridget Carpenter, David Hudgins, Eric Guggenheim, Kerry Ehrin, Tyler Bensinger, Sarah Watson and Monica Henderson
  • SECOND PLACE: Grey's Anatomy (ABC): Alzheimer's Trial Storyline; Written by Brian Tanen, Austin Guzman, Mark Wilding, Debora Cahn, Peter Nowalk and Bill Harper
  • THIRD PLACE: Private Practice (ABC): "Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?" (Rape); Written by Shonda Rhimes

Primetime Minor Storyline

  • FIRST PLACE: Grey's Anatomy (ABC): "Not Responsible" (Cystic Fibrosis); Written by Debora Cahn
  • SECOND PLACE: Private Practice (ABC): "The Hardest Part" (Pediatric Brain Tumors); Written by Jennifer Cecil

Children's Programming

  • FIRST PLACE: Sesame Street (PBS): "Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget" (Nutrition); Written by Christine Ferraro

Global Health Storyline

  • FIRST PLACE: Off the Map (ABC): "It's a Leaf" (Cultural Competency/Quechua Birth, Mining Health Hazards, the Exploitation of Hope); Written by Gabriel Llanas


  • FIRST PLACE: El Clon (Telemundo): "Once a Year, For Peace of Mind" (Cervical Cancer Screening); Written by Roberto Stopello and Sandra Velasco

HH&S provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for health storylines, including free consultations and briefings with CDC and partner experts. A one-stop-shop for writers, producers and others in search of credible information on a wide range of public health topics, HH&S is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The California Endowment, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the Health Resources and Services Administration's Division of Transplantation, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For more information about resources for writers, visit

The Norman Lear Center is a multidisciplinary research and public policy center studying and shaping the impact of entertainment and media on society. The Lear Center works to bridge the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. For more information, visit

Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism is a national leader in education and scholarship in the fields of communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations. With an enrollment of more than 2,200 students, USC Annenberg offers doctoral, master's and bachelor's degree programs, as well as continuing development programs for working professionals, across a broad scope of academic inquiry. The school's comprehensive curriculum emphasizes the core skills of leadership, innovation, service and entrepreneurship and draws upon the resources of a networked university located in the media capital of the world.

SOURCE Norman Lear Center