Hope For A Healthy World Competition

I was sitting in my office last week working on a few things when I received a phone call from Ken Greenberg, a Campaign Manager at BD, a company that makes medical devices.  I don’t know Ken but he was very friendly on the phone and asked how my day was going. I said it was going fine. “Well, it is about to get a whole lot better”, he heartily replied and proceeded to tell me that I had won the “Hope For A Healthy World” photo competition, placing first in the Best Global Health Picture Story category for a story I had completed late last year called “Polio’s Line In the Sand.”

We haven’t had a case of naturally occurring polio in the US since 1979 and few Americans realize it still exists, let alone continues to cripple children in developing countries like Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Congo and Nigeria.

In October, Betsy Pisik, a 2010 International Reporting Project Fellow, and I ventured to northern Nigeria to report on vaccination efforts in an area that has been hard-hit by the virus.  Religious zealotry and misinformation have coerced villagers in the predominantly Muslim region into refusing polio vaccinations and led to the reemergence of polio only a few years after it nearly joined smallpox on the CDC’s list of eradicated diseases.

The competition was sponsored by a medical technology company called BD that according to their website: “develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents.  The company is dedicated to improving people’s health throughout the world.  The power of a photograph cannot be overstated, and BD relies on imagery to tell stories about a wide range of diseases in which its people, products and initiatives play a significant role.”

Judges for the competition included MaryAnne Golon, Consulting Director of Photography & Multimedia at AARP, and former Director of Photography, TIME magazine, Holly Hughes, Editor, PDN and Scott Thode, Editor, VII The Magazine.

Posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 under Blog. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

10 responses to “Hope For A Healthy World Competition”

  1. Brien Aho says:

    Congrats!!! That is Awesome Mary and well deserved.

  2. Ken Kobre says:

    Mary, Fantastic. Congratulations!!!! Your pictures look really powerful. Love
    Ken Kobre

  3. klika says:

    Congrats Mary…

  4. Arnold Drapkin says:

    Congratulations for compelling images bringing to light a situation that few
    realize exists…and I am sure that you appreciate the honor coming from such a distinguished group of judges as MaryAnne, Scott and Gary.

  5. Jill Hennessy says:

    Mary! I am so proud of you! I love to show your work off to my California peeps.Congratulations. You will be getting that Pulitzer Prize yet!

  6. Laurel Ritter says:

    Thank you, Mary, for your physically and emotionally courageous coverage of polio’s heartache. My husband contracted polio as a baby while his parents were at UCLA in 1948. He was “lucky” to have just one leg affected. However the emotional toll, despite parents who worked tirelessly to lessen the impact on him, has been a lifelong issue for him. Through your photographs, we have reawakened to the need for vaccination efforts in third world countries.
    I am a former fellow teacher and friend of your sister, Jill Hennessy. She has mentioned you many times in conversation. Now I know better where the depth of affection she has for you comes from. Thanks again for your talent and dedication. Sincerely, Laurel Ritter

  7. Nick says:


  8. Rod says:

    I lived in Liberia West Africa for a year and can relate to the photos that are represented here. This is a normal every day sight in many African countries. Thank God that someone wants to reach out to these dear children of God.

  9. Annie Griffiths says:

    Congrats! The story is wonderful. An honor well deserved. Best,


  10. Congratulation Mary, you have done a very great job. I can feel the sense what’s going on with the polio effected child and the people. Your photographs has the power to convey the messages to all the parents and healthcare center in the world how important is the child getting polio vaccinations.

    May God Bless You and i wish you will win many of this competition.

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