Pulitzer Center grantee Amy Maxmen has won the Medical Journalists’ Association (MJA)’s Feature of the Year Award in the specialist audience category. Winners were announced at the MJA Awards ceremony on September 15, 2022, at the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in London.
Maxmen’s award-winning story, “Inequality’s Deadly Toll,” published in Nature in 2021, analyzes how social factors like poverty and discrimination have determined public health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the experiences of agricultural workers in California, the story makes sense of higher death rates and disparities based on race, socioeconomic status, immigration status, lack of access to resources, and historical disenfranchisement. The story also traces the history of health inequality in the U.S. and the organizations that are fighting to change it. Maxmen’s long-form investigative reporting reveals inequality throughout not only the COVID-19 pandemic response, but also the entire American healthcare system.
The MJA called the story an “important, thorough, well-written, and detailed piece tackling the thorny intersectionality of health inequalities that contributed to, and flew from, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quality journalism.”
The MJA Awards recognize and reward outstanding examples of health and medical journalism, according to its website. Since 1967, the MJA has worked to bridge the gap between medicine and media.
Maxmen also won the 2021 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting alongside fellow grantee Helen Branswell. She was recognized for her reporting on “Inequality’s Deadly Toll” as well as another story for Nature, “Coronapod: The Inequality at the Heart of the Pandemic.” Judges said her reporting has held “a massive mirror up to our society as a whole.”
Her most recent Pulitzer Center-supported reporting has focused on how these inequalities affect access to vaccines. In “The Radical Plan for Vaccine Equity,” she examines the divide between countries in the global north and global south in vaccine distribution.
Learn more about Maxmen’s reporting through talks and educational resources from the Pulitzer Center. If you are a journalist working to cover issues of disparities in public health, our vaccine and global health inequity grants are open.
See the full list of award recipients here.