Staff Writer Coshandra Dillard was surprised Friday by local and state officials from the Texas Medical Association with an award for reporting on a program that promotes healthy habits in children.
Ms. Dillard received one of the organization's annual Anson Jones, M.D., awards in the category of publications with circulation less than 100,000. The award recognizes excellence in health journalism across the state.
TMA has honored Texas journalists with the Anson Jones, M.D., awards for more than 50 years. Angela Driggs, executive director at the Smith County Medical Society, said Ms. Dillard was the first to be recognized in the Tyler area.
The story, published April 29, 2012, detailed the Ready. Set. StartSmart program at St. Paul Children's Medical Clinic and health officials' goal to stamp out childhood obesity.
Ms. Dillard has covered the medical and health and fitness beat since joining the Tyler Morning Telegraph in 2008. Her stories have focused on obesity, chronic illness and other public health issues.
Among her responsibilities is to cover the efforts of the Fit City Challenge Coalition, which has implemented a communitywide healthy living initiative. Last month, Ms. Dillard received Fit City's Inspiration Award for her health and fitness coverage.
Also a feature writer, she recently earned a third place award by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for her feature series on the 75th anniversary of the New London school explosion. Ms. Dillard is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, and has been awarded fellowships to attend the organization's annual conference for the past three years.