Congratulations to our writer, Sonya Collins, who won third place for consumer features at the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism for her article in Genome, “Growing a family tree: Finding lost relatives is getting easier with genetic testing and social media.” The awards were presented this past Saturday at the annual meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists in Cleveland, Ohio.
I’m not surprised that Sonya is receiving accolades for this feature. She eloquently tells the touching story of how Sonny Varela used direct-to-consumer genetic tests and social media to find the father he never knew. The journey leads Varela to connect with his half-siblings and to learn about his ethnic heritage and genetic predisposition for certain diseases.
Sonya told me, “Writing this feature illustrated what I love most about my work: I get to tell the amazing stories — the kinds that give me goose bumps! — of people I might not have ever encountered otherwise. It was a privilege to learn firsthand about Sonny’s very personal journey to find his father and be trusted to pass that story on to others who may face similar challenges.”
Stay tuned for more award-winning content in our summer issue. Sonya is working on a feature on how researchers have identified about 200 drug-gene pairs in which a particular gene variant affects how a person responds to a certain drug or class of drugs — very important information for us all!