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“Grey’s Anatomy,” “black-ish” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” are among 11 honorees for the 2017 Sentinel Awards that will be presented Wednesday to recognize television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives.

The awards are presented in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Hollywood, Health & Society, a program of The Norman Lear Center at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

A record number of entries were received in the 18th year of the program, and the winning storylines showcase a wide range of topics, including maternal health, opioid abuse, autism, sexual assault and mental health.

“Entertainment television is a powerful resource for information, and compelling storylines can motivate millions of viewers worldwide,” said Kate Langrall Folb, director of HH&S. “Every year the quality and quantity of entries increases.”

This year, entries were submitted from broadcast networks, cable channels and streaming services, and storylines are being recognized in the categories of Drama, Comedy, Children’s Programming, Documentary, Short Documentary, Talk Show and Unscripted Series.

According to HH&S, all eligible submissions are reviewed for accuracy by experts at the CDC and partner organizations. A second round of judging by entertainment professionals looks at the entertainment value and potential benefit to the viewing audience.

Martin Kaplan, director of the Lear Center and HH&S’ principal investigator, said: “We’re delighted to shine a spotlight on writers and producers who entertain viewers and at the same time provide them with accurate information. We hope the shows and storylines we honor will spur other writers to recognize and use responsibly the power they wield.”

HH&S is a free resource for writers, producers and others in search of credible information for storylines dealing with health, safety and security. Funders include the CDC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The SCAN Foundation, N Square, the California Health Care Foundation and the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

The Norman Lear Center, based out of USC Annenberg, is a multidisciplinary research and public policy center that studies the impact of entertainment and media on society.

Here is the full list of honorees, to be recognized during the ceremony at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood:


— “Grey’s Anatomy”; Maggie’s Mom; storyline topic: inflammatory breast cancer (ABC)

— “This Is Us”; Jack Pearson’s Son; topic: mental health (NBC)


— “black-ish”; Sprinkles; topic: preeclampsia (ABC)

— “You’re the Worst”; Twenty-Two; topic: mental health (FX)

Children’s Programming

— “Sesame Street”; Meet Julia; topic: autism (HBO)


— “Audrie & Daisy”; topic: sexual assault (Netflix)

— “Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric”; topic: gender identity (National Geographic)

Short Documentary

— “Open Your Eyes”; topic: eye health (HBO)

— “Extremis”; topic: end-of-life care (Netflix)

Talk Show

— “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”; Episode 86; topic: opioid abuse (HBO)

Unscripted Series

— “Born This Way-Dream Come True”; topic: Down syndrome (A&E)

—City News Service

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