Globe wins three health journalism awards

The Boston Globe captured three prestigious health journalism awards announced Monday by the Association of Health Care Journalists.

The staff’s coverage of the national fungal meningitis outbreak last year, which was traced to steroid injections made by a Framingham compounding pharmacy, received first place in the public health category. The award recognized stories written by reporters Carolyn Y. Johnson, Liz Kowalczyk, Kay Lazar, Todd Wallack, and Patricia Wen.

Lazar and Matt Carroll won third place in consumer/feature reporting for their series of stories investigating nursing homes’ use of antipsychotic medications on elderly residents, many of whom do not have conditions that warrant use of the powerful drugs. And Johnson, a science writer, received an honorable mention for her beat reporting.

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Other New England winners were Lisa Chedekel of the online Connecticut Health Investigative Team, who received a special citation for investigative reporting for a story about doctors who prescribe large amounts of psychotropic and pain medications; Michael Morton of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, who received second prize in consumer/feature reporting for a story on an autistic child whose parents donated his brain to research after he drowned; and Arielle Levin Becker of The Connecticut Mirror, who took a third place in the same category for stories on home health care.

“Entrants dove into complicated and sometimes heartbreaking issues to produce excellent pieces that are all the more powerful because they could affect any of us,” said contest chair Julie Appleby.

The awards will be presented during a luncheon March 16 at Health Journalism 2013, the association’s annual conference, which is being held in Boston. First-place winners will receive $500.