USC Annenberg School Announces the 14th Annual Sentinel for Health Awards Call for Entries

Recognizing eight categories of exemplary achievements in health storylines

Mar 19, 2013, 17:24 ET from Hollywood, Health & Society

LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hollywood, Health  & Society (HH&S), a program of the USC Annenberg School's Norman Lear Center, announces a call for entries for the 14th annual Sentinel for Health Awards. The deadline for all entries is May 31, 2013.

The Sentinel for Health Awards, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recognize exemplary achievements of television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives. Eight categories of storylines will be recognized: Primetime Drama (major storyline), Primetime Drama (minor storyline), Primetime Comedy, Daytime Drama, Spanish-language Telenovela, Children's Programming, Global Health and Climate Change.

The 2013 winners will be selected through two rounds of judging. Health topic experts from CDC and other partner organizations will review entries for accuracy of health issues. Judges from entertainment and public health organizations will review finalists in each category for entertainment value and benefit to the viewing audience to determine the winners. Information for award applicants can be found here.

"TV writers and producers not only entertain audiences, but they affect them as well," said Martin Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center. "We know this both from our research, and from stories that viewers tell. This award recognizes the responsible and creative use of that power by television writers and producers."

Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of Hollywood, Health  & Society, adds that writers want their storylines to be realistic and accurate. "Writers contact HH&S to access highly credible experts, quickly and free of charge, to ensure a storyline is on track," she said. "We work with dozens of shows and respond to hundreds of requests by writers each year on topics such as birth defects, malaria, tuberculosis, drug abuse, youth violence and organ donation."

Last year, the NBC drama Law & Order: SVU received first place in the Primetime Drama (major storyline) category for accurately portraying the emotional effects and legalities around childhood sexual abuse. An episode of Fox's Touch earned first place in Global Health for a storyline about domestic abuse in an African community, and NBC's Up All Night won first place in the Comedy category for a storyline about the realities of childbirth.

PBS's Sesame Street took top honors in Children's Programming for a storyline about food insecurity and hunger in America, while USA's Necessary Roughness was named the winner in the Primetime Drama (minor storyline) category for its treatment of bipolar disorder. Last year's awards inaugurated a new category for Climate Change, for which Sprout's The Sunny Side Up Show won for a segment on recycling.

Funded by CDC, The California Endowment, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ClimateWorks,
the Grantham Foundation and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Hollywood, Health & Society provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for storylines dealing with health and climate change through consultations and briefings with experts. Based at the Norman Lear Center, HH&S is a one-stop shop for writers, producers and others in search of credible information on a wide range of public health topics. For more information about resources for writers, go to

The Norman Lear Center is a multidisciplinary research and public policy center studying and shaping the impact of entertainment and media on society. From its base in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Lear Center builds bridges between faculty who study aspects of entertainment, media and culture. Beyond campus, it bridges the gap between 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 and Journalism is among the nation's leading institutions devoted to the study of journalism and communication, and their impact on politics, culture and society. With an enrollment of more than 2,000 graduate and undergraduate students (as of Fall 2011), USC Annenberg offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in journalism, communication, public diplomacy and public relations. For more information, visit

SOURCE Hollywood, Health & Society