Enter the Untold Global Health Stories of 2017 Contest

A Nigerian woman with fistula waits for surgery in Niger.
Image credit
Alison Heller/Washington University in Saint Louis/Photoshare.

Do you know an important global health story that’s been overlooked by the media and deserves special notice? 

NPR’s "Goats and Soda" blog, which covers global health and development, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH)and Global Health NOW from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are pleased to announce the 2017 Untold Stories of Global Health Contest. The contest is designed to give a platform to important but underreported global health stories. 

CUGH, NPR’s Goats and Soda Blog, and GHN share the goal of raising awareness about health— issues around the world. We invite you to nominate an issue you feel deserves urgent attention, whether you’ve worked on it firsthand or come across it in your travels. The best nominations for the Untold Stories focus on a specific issue in a specific location (i.e., not global chronic disease) and should include available data and evidence, as well as contact information—like konzo, one of the top 2 winning stories from last year.

Send us your ideas, and if we choose your issue, we’ll help you expand the audience for your issue. Entrants can submit a nomination here, with a short (150-word) statement describing the story and why it deserves more coverage and support.


  • Submissions Open – October 3, 2016
  • Nominations Deadline Extended - December 6, 2016
  • Judging Complete - December 14, 2016
  • Winner Notified - December 22, 2016 

The contest will be jointly judged by NPR’s Goats and Soda blog, CUGH and GHN, based on the entries’ newsworthiness, creativity and feasibility for coverage. 

The winning entry will be covered by NPR as a news report and a text story (or stories) that will appear in both NPR and GHN. At least 10 runners up will also be recognized. All winning entries will be shared on CUGH's website and bulletin. 

NPR and GHN will consider and share the runners up entries as sources for possible stories for coverage. GHN will cover at least one runner-up idea as a story or series of stories in GHN. 

The winner will be announced publicly in April 2017 at the CUGH conference in Washington, DC (April 7-10, 2017).

  • Runners-up will have short summaries included on the GHN website.
  • The winner (maximum of 1 nominee per entry) will receive free registration for the CUGH conference.

After reviewing more than 180 entries for the 2016 Untold Global Health Stories Contest, Global Health NOW of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, NPR's Goats and Soda blog, and the Consortium of Universities for Global Health could not choose just one winner. In the end, we selected a grand prize winner, to be covered by NPR's Goats and Soda blog, and a first-prize winner, covered by Global Health NOW. 

The grand prize untold story is infection-related cancers in the developing world, which was nominated by Susan Keown, a science write from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The first-prize winner is for a story about the paralytic disease konzo, submitted by Desiré Tshala-Katumbay, of Oregon Health & Science University, who has worked extensively in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). GHN sent writer Amy Maxmen to DRC this past summer to cover the story, and the resulting series Bitter Harvest: Cassava and Konzo, the Crippling Disease was published in early October. You can read more about last year's winners on Global Health NOW's website

In 2015, Amy Maxmen covered the grand prize untold story on the chronic inflammatory disease mycetoma, leading to a 3-part series titled The Most Neglected Disease, published by GHN in December 2015.

About NPR’s Goats and Soda Blog: NPR launched Goats and Soda in 2014 to cover thought-provoking and underreported stories related to health. 

About CUGH:
Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) builds interdisciplinary collaborations and facilitates the sharing of knowledge to address global health challenges. It assists members in sharing their expertise across education, research, and service. It is dedicated to creating equity and reducing health disparities everywhere. CUGH promotes mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships between universities in resource-rich and resource-poor countries, developing human capital and strengthening institutions' capabilities to address these challenges. It is committed to translating knowledge into action. 

About Global Health NOW: 
Global Health NOW from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is a free news service designed to inform the global health agenda, delivering the day’s most interesting and essential news every weekday. We aggregate and summarize the latest global health news, and publish original news stories and commentaries with leading global health experts. Subscribe to Global Health NOW for free.

Contest rules are posted here.

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