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Sentinel for Health Awards

Hollywood, Health & Society, a joint project of the Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has announced 13 finalists for the Sentinel for Health Awards.

In their ninth year, the awards recognize exemplary achievements of television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives.

Six categories of storylines will be recognized – daytime drama, prime-time drama, prime-time comedy, prime-time drama minor storyline, Spanish-language telenovela and children’s programming.

The 13 finalists received the highest scores in a field of 31 eligible entries that were reviewed by topic experts at the Centers for Disease Control and partner organizations. Health topics addressed in the storylines include lung cancer, teen sexual health, HIV and pregnancy, drug addiction, gang violence, oral cancer, sexual abuse and alcoholism.

All finalists will be recognized in an awards ceremony followed by a panel discussion with the writers on Oct. 2 at the Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles.

Artistic Fellows

Eight distinguished mid-career arts journalists have been selected as fellows for the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program.

With support from the Getty Foundation, the program, now in its seventh year, seeks to establish a new standard of excellence in arts and culture coverage.

The fellowship’s philosophy is guided by a core belief in the importance of firsthand encounters with artists and journalism colleagues. The three-week program begins Nov. 1.

The principal topics of this year’s fellowship will be the current state of national and international journalism, the opportunities and ethical challenges presented by the digital media era and the specialized arts and culture journalist’s role within these contexts.

Sickle Cell Grant

Thomas D. Coates, section head of hematology and director of the Red Cell Defects Program in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, has received a four-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Childrens Hospital is one of a dozen basic and translational research programs studying sickle cell disease in the United States – and the only sickle cell basic program on the West Coast.

The new basic and translational project utilizes expertise from collaborators in the areas of biomedical engineering, biophysics and hematology who are working to understand the principles that regulate blood flow in patients with sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder of hemoglobin that causes normally flexible red blood cells to become very rigid and obstruct blood flow leading to ischemia, organ damage and ultimately, death.

A Ford in Our Future

Henri R. Ford has been named to the position of vice dean for medical education at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He succeeds Clive Taylor, who has served as senior associate dean for educational affairs since 1997.

As vice dean, Ford will oversee all aspects of education of medical students, including the offices of admissions, curriculum, diversity and student affairs. Ford also will oversee the Office of Continuing Medical Education, the Division of Medical Education and the Keck School of Medicine’s application for accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Ford has been a part of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Keck School of Medicine since 2005. Prior to that, he was professor and chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery and surgeon-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

In his new role, Ford counts among his early priorities developing a strategic plan for medical education, reviewing and revising the Year III/IV medical student curriculum, strengthening research opportunities for medical students, increasing the proportion of students who spend a fifth year doing full-time research and developing new sources for medical student financial aid.

Energy Buildup

An Energy Corp. of America grant will initiate a research effort at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering on better ways to extract natural gas from “tight” shales.

Kristian Jessen, an assistant professor at the USC Viterbi School’s Mork Family Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, will be lead researcher on the project, according to Dean Yannis Yortsos, who made the announcement.

“Gas shale has been a promising but frustrating energy source for decades,” Yortsos said. “We have the resources to attack the problem and look forward to doing so.”

The Denver-based Energy Corp. has been at the forefront of continuing efforts to find more effective ways to extract the natural gas contained in low permeability reservoirs, one of several “unconventional” sources of natural gas.

The plan is that the advanced analytical work proposed will lead to improved imaging and modeling of the gas resources and increase the productivity and recovery from the tight shale reservoirs.

Besides Jessen, co-principal investigators of the USC Viterbi work will be professors Theo Tsotsis, Don Zhang and Iraj Ershaghi of the Mork Family Department.

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