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The Carter Center Awards 2011-2012 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

Contact: Paige Rohe,, +1-404-420-5129

ATLANTA…The Carter Center announced the recipients of the 2011-2012 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism today, one of the only journalism fellowship programs exclusively focused on mental health issues. Selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, the 15th annual class of fellows includes six from the United States and two from Romania. (See below for a full list of fellows and their project topics.)

"At The Carter Center, we have been working for more than a decade to develop a cadre of journalists who can have a significant impact on the public's understanding of mental illnesses," said former First Lady and Carter Center Co-Founder Rosalynn Carter. "I know that these journalists are making important contributions in lifting some of the stigma associated with mental health issues."

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States, yet sensationalized news coverage or under-reporting of these issues can perpetuate public misunderstanding and prevent people from seeking effective treatment.

The Carter Center's fellows receive intensive training from leading mental health and journalism experts and USD 10,000 stipend (or the equivalent for international fellows) to report on a mental health topic of their choice.

Previous fellows have produced more than 300 stories, documentaries, books, and other works. Their projects have garnered an Emmy award, nominations for the Pulitzer Prize, and awards from Mental Health America, the American Psychological Association, Amnesty International, and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

The fellowship program is part of the Carter Center's Mental Health Program, which works around the world to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses and to decrease incorrect and stereotypical information. The program also seeks to increase access to mental health services and inform mental health public policy.

Carter Center Successfully Transfers South African Fellowship Program to Partner Organization the South African Depression and Anxiety Group

After seven years of awarding a total of 14 fellowships in South Africa to journalists reporting on mental health, The Carter Center also announced today the successful transfer of the fellowship program in South Africa to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), through support from Pfizer, S.A. This transition has been the goal of the program from the beginning, and is the second successful establishment of a self-sustaining mental health journalism fellowship program initiated by The Carter Center.  In 2006, the New Zealand Mental Health Media Grants program was established after five years and 10 fellowships awarded by The Carter Center to New Zealand journalists. The Carter Center's involvement with mental health journalism in South Africa concluded with a workshop in Johannesburg in April for journalists from across the country and educated participants about mental health issues.

2011-2012 Recipients of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The U.S. recipients are:

Billy Howard
Freelance Photojournalist
Atlanta, Ga.
Topic: Document the lives and experiences of teens who have received a mental health diagnosis and have actively participated in efforts to manage their illness.

Rebecca Ruiz
Senior Editor,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Topic: Examine the role of epigenetics in mental health outcomes and conditions.

Laura Starecheski
Radio Producer, State of the Re:Union
Bronx, N.Y.

Topic: Explore the work of leaders and innovators fighting stigma in rural communities.

Meghan Sullivan
Supervising Editor,
Washington, D.C.

Topic: Produce a series of multi-platform pieces addressing the mental health of orphans, adoptees, and their families.

Gisela Telis
Online Editor, Arizona Public Media
Tucson, Ariz.

Topic: Examine mental health in Arizona's rural, tribal, and underserved communities.

Jocelyn Wiener
Freelance Journalist
Los Altos, Calif.

Topic: Document California's crisis in mental health care.

The Romanian recipients are:

Alexandru-Cristian Lupşa
Decat O Revista magazin 
Bucharest, Romania

Mr. Lupsa and Mr. Pungovschi are collaborating on a project to shed light on anxiety disorders in Romania.

Andrei Pungovschi
France Presse and Photojournalist 
Bucharest, Romania
Mr. Lupsa and Mr. Pungovschi are collaborating on a project to shed light on anxiety disorders in Romania.

The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships would like to acknowledge their partnership with the Center for Independent Journalism, Bucharest, Romania.

Editor's Note:

Learn more about the Carter Center's Mental Health Program >

Learn more about Rosalynn Carter Fellows for Mental Health Journalism >

Watch the video "Rosalynn Carter Fellows Build Hope in South Africa" >

Learn more about the Carter Center's other health programs >


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.

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