The Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) has awarded KQED health reporter April Dembosky its top reporter prize as part of this year’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Dembosky received the first place prize in the Beat Reporting category for her “2016 body of work.”
Among her many 2016 stories, the AHCJ highlighted Dembosky’s reporting that exposed how some pharmaceutical companies doubled the price of Seconal, the drug used for aid-in-dying patients; how insurance companies have circumvented mental health laws, making it more difficult for patients to get the mental health care they need; and how the Affordable Care Act has complicated immigration concerns in California’s farming industry. She also reported on a study examining MDMA as a treatment for social anxiety in autistic adults.
The AHCJ award judges noted, “Dembosky’s work shows the true range of a great health care reporter. In one year, she conducted a detailed investigation, broke important news in a closely watched area, and crafted original, human features. Dembosky’s stories were compelling and well-crafted, providing context, emotion, and character, often in just a few minutes. We were impressed by the creativity and breadth of her ideas, and the quality of her execution.”
Dembosky covers health policy and public health for The California Report and KQED News. Her work is regularly rebroadcast on NPR and she has previously received an award from the Association of Health Care Journalists for a story about pediatric hospice. Her radio documentary about home funerals won the Best New Artist award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009. Dembosky also occasionally moonlights on the KQED arts beat. Her 2014 story about the first symphony orchestra at Burning Man won the award for Best Use of Sound from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. Before joining KQED in 2013, April covered technology and Silicon Valley for The Financial Times and freelanced for NPR, Marketplace and The New York Times.
“April is such a distinguished journalist and a masterful storyteller,” says Holly Kernan, vice president, KQED News. “It’s wonderful to see her talents recognized with this honor. KQED is so fortunate to have her working to serve our audiences.”
AHCJ is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With about 1,500 members across the United States and around the globe, its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism provide training, resources and a professional home for journalists. Its offices are based at the Missouri School of Journalism.
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.