Established in 2018 to recognize the importance of bringing to light the deep disparities that prevent so many people from enjoying a long and healthy life, the Health Equity Journalism Prize celebrates journalists whose work tackles issues of equity including the structural and symbolic barriers to good health.

The prize is awarded each year to a journalist, or team of journalists, who write or produce one or more stories that unearth and examine health equity issues with a focus on disparities that affect health. With the understanding that health happens outside the doctors office, eligible stories should address multiple determinants of health and their influence.

The call for applications is now closed.

2018 Prize Winners: Nina Martin, Renée Montagne, Adriana Gallardo and Annie Waldman for "Lost Mothers"

The series "Lost Mothers" came out of a unique collaboration between ProPublica and NPR and is an extraordinary multi-media series illuminating the maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. This groundbreaking series has been vitally important in helping move the issue of maternal mortality and its deep disparities to the forefront of public awareness. Told through in-depth reporting as well as narratives from families who lost loved ones, this moving series highlights the issue of preventable death and the staggering inequity and death rates for black women. The Academy extends its congratulations to the following four journalists for their collaboration that has yielded such a powerful series:



Nina Martin covers sex and gender issues for the nonprofit news organization ProPublica. Her Lost Mothers project, examining maternal mortality and life-threatening complications in the U.S. (in partnership with National Public Radio), has been honored with a George Polk Award, a Peabody Award, the 2018 Goldsmith Prize for investigative journalism, and the Council on Contemporary Families Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting, the National Magazine Award for public interest reporting, and the NIHCM Foundation Research and Journalism Award. Before joining ProPublica in 2013, she held editing and reporting positions at San Francisco magazine, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun. She was a senior editor at Health magazine and the founding editor of BabyCenter's print edition. She holds degrees from Princeton and Northwestern and is based in Berkeley CA.



Renée Montagne, one of the best known names in public radio, is a Special Correspondent and Host for NPR News. From 2004 to 2016, Montagne co-hosted NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the U.S., with more than 14 million weekly listeners. Montagne has worked with nearly every desk at NPR News—National, Foreign, Science, Arts, and Investigative—since she, along with Robert Siegel, became a co-host of All Things Considered in 1987. After leaving ATC, Montagne travelled to South Africa in 1990, arriving to report there on the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Four years later, she and a small team of NPR reporters were awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Silver Baton, for coverage of the country’s historic elections that elevated Mandela to the Presidency. Since 9/11, Montagne has made ten extended reporting trips to Afghanistan. Her coverage has been honored by the Overseas Press Club and—for stories on Afghan women in particular—by the Gracie Awards.


Adriana Gallardo is an engagement reporter at ProPublica, where she works to cultivate communities to inform investigative series. Last year, she led engagement for the Lost Mothers project, helping to gather and report on nearly 5,000 stories of mothers who died and nearly died in pregnancy and childbirth. Gallardo has long specialized in community journalism. Prior to ProPublica, she oversaw a reporting series at 15 public and NPR member stations. In 2014, she traveled the country with the StoryCorps mobile booth collecting over 400 stories archived at the Library of Congress. In her hometown Chicago, she spent over a decade working as a journalist and radio producer. She co-founded the Vocalo Storytelling workshop at Chicago Public Media and managed youth media programs at community-based organizations in the West and South side of Chicago.


Annie Waldman is a staff reporter at ProPublica, working on data, health and education projects. For the Lost Mothers series, she analyzed hospital discharge data from three states to illuminate how hospitals fail black mothers. Her previous work has been recognized by the Education Writers Association, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Loeb Awards for business reporting. Prior to joining ProPublica, she was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Israel and a residency at Cité International des Arts in Paris. She graduated with honors from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, where she was the recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship and the Brown Institute Computational Journalism Award. Her stories have been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Vice, BBC News, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Consumer Reports.
Press Release
Prior recipients of the Urban Health Journalism Prize (Predecessor to the Health Eqity Journalism Prize)
2017 Winner:

Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News, "Health Care in Freddie Gray's Neighborhood: Baltimore's Other Divide" (2016 Series)

2017 Finalists:

Nancy Cambria, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "The Crises Within" (February 21, 2016)

Michael Cooper, Springfield News-Sun, "Healthy Springfield" (2016 Series)

Liz Szabo, USA Today, "Zika could hit people in poverty the hardest" (June 30, 2016)

2016 Winner:

Alana SemuelsThe Atlantic, “Aging Pipes Are Poisoning America’s Tap Water" (July 20, 2015)

2016 Finalists:

Deborah L. Shelton, The Chicago Reporter, for her April 27, 2015 article, “Guilty of mental illness” 

Susan DominusThe New York Times, “How Do We Protect New York City’s Pedestrians?”  (April 23, 2015)

Laura Starecheski, NPR, “A Sheriff And A Doctor Team Up To Map Childhood Trauma?”  (March 10, 2015)

2015 Winner:

Brie ZeltnerThe Plain Dealer, “More than half of Cleveland kids live in poverty, and it's making them sick.” (September 30, 2014)

2015 Finalists:

Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, “How Being Poor Makes You Sick.”  (May 21, 2014)

Mike MaciagGoverning, “Pedestrians Dying at Disproportionate Rates in America's Poorer Neighborhoods" (August 2014)

2015-2017 Selction Commitee:

The Academy extends its thanks to the following individuals who participated on the 2015-2017 selection committee: Len Bruzzese, Director, The Association of Health Care Journalists and Associate Professor, Missouri School of Journalism; The Honorable Mick Cornett, Mayor, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Max Gomez, PhD, Medical Reporter, CBS News; Shelley Hearne, DRPH, Visiting Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Senior Advisor, Big Cities Health Coalition, National Association of County and City Health Officials; Howard Markel, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, The Milbank Quarterly, George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor and Founding Director, Center for the History of Medicine, The University of Michigan; David Vlahov, RN, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Urban Health, Professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing; Brie Zeltner (2016-17 committee, Health Reporter, The Plain Dealer, and 2015 Urban Health Journalism Prize Winner; Alana Semuels (2017 committee), Staff Writer, The Atlantic, and 2016 Urban Health Journalism Prize Winner.