TV Storylines About PTSD, Malaria, Mental Illness and Alcoholism Among Finalists for 2013 Sentinel for Health Awards

Aug 27, 2013, 18:40 ET from USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Twelve finalists have been chosen from more than 70 entries for the 2013 Sentinel for Health Awards, showcasing a diverse range of topics such as alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug addiction, depression, malaria, climate change and mental illness.

Now in its 14th year, the Sentinel Awards are presented in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Hollywood, Health & Society, a program of The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

The awards recognize exemplary television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives.  The 72 entries -- the most ever received -- spanned 15 networks and cable channels. All eligible submissions are reviewed for accuracy by experts at the CDC and partner organizations, and for entertainment value and potential benefit to the viewing audience by entertainment, academic and public health professionals.

"We are thrilled with the number of entries this year," said Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of Hollywood, Health & Society. "Every day millions of viewers worldwide learn something new about health from TV storylines and take action on what they've learned. As more shows address health topics, there are more opportunities for people to learn."

The finalists will be recognized at an awards ceremony followed by a panel discussion with the shows' writers on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Taglyan Center in Hollywood.

"We're delighted to shine a spotlight on television writers and producers who both entertain viewers and at the same time provide them with accurate information," said Martin Kaplan, Hollywood, Health & Society's principal investigator and the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at USC Annenberg. "Our hope is that the storylines we honor with this award will spur other TV writers to recognize and use responsibly the awesome power they wield."

The 2013 Sentinel for Health Awards finalists:

EnlightenedCompilation of Levi's Alcoholism (HBO)
Topic: Alcoholism and rehabilitation (Primetime Comedy)
Written by: Mike White

Call Me CrazyA Five Film (Lifetime)
Topic: Mental illness (Primetime Drama/Major storyline)
Written by: Deirdre O'Connor, Howard J. Morris, Jan Oxenberg, Stephen Godchaux
and Erin Cressida Wilson

ElementaryEpisode Compilation/Pilot (CBS)
Topic: Drug addiction/sober companion relationship (Primetime Drama/Major storyline)
Written by: Robert Doherty

Army WivesOnward (ABC)
Topic: Spinal injuries (Primetime Drama/Minor storyline)                        
Written by: Rebecca Dameron, T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson

Grey's AnatomySecond Opinion (ABC)
Topic: Cyclic vomiting syndrome (Primetime Drama/Minor storyline)
Written by: Bill Harper

Doc McStuffinsHot Pursuit (Disney)
Topic: Sun exposure (Children's Programming)
Written by: Noelle Wright

Doc McStuffinsDusty Bear (Disney)
Topic: Allergies (Children's Programming)
Written by: Sascha Paladino

Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Topic: Climate change (Climate Change)
Written by: Adam Felber, Matt Gunn, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Danny Vermont, Bill Maher, Billy Martin and Scott Carter

Married to the Army: AlaskaSalina: Miscarriage (OWN)
Topic: Grief associated with miscarriage (Reality)
Produced by: executive producer Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch; co-executive producer Adriane Hopper; supervising producer Stacey Book

Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (HBO)
Topic: Post-traumatic stress disorder (Reality)
Produced by: Maggie Burbank

Mary and Martha (HBO)
Topic: Malaria (Global Health)
Written by: Richard Curtis

Days of Our Lives:
Caroline Brady (NBC)
Topic: Alzheimer's (Daytime Drama)
Written by: Gary Tomlin (head writer), Christopher Whitesell (head writer), Lorraine Broderick, Rick Draughon, Christopher Dunn, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan and Fran Myers

Hollywood Health & Society is a one-stop shop for entertainment industry professionals, providing them with accurate and up-to-date information on a wide range of public health topics and climate change through free consultations and briefings with experts. Its funders have included the CDC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, ClimateWorks, The California Endowment and the Grantham Foundation. HH&S and the CDC are co-sponsors of the Sentinel Awards. For more information about resources for writers, visit

The Norman Lear Center – the home of Hollywood, Health & Society – is a multidisciplinary research and public policy center studying and shaping the impact of entertainment and media on society. Based at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Lear Center works to bridge the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. For more information visit

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, located at the University of Southern California, 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. For more information visit

SOURCE USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center