Andrea K. McDaniels of The Baltimore Sun won for her three-part "Collateral Damage" series which told what researchers have been learning about the impact of traumatic stress on children's health and the development of the young brain. Even as shootings, stabbings, and murder trials grab the spotlight, McDaniels wrote, violence in Baltimore "is exacting another insidious, often invisible, toll — warping the health and development of the city's youngest residents."

For more than a year, McDaniels examined the unseen impact of violence on children, caregivers and victims' relatives in the Baltimore area. Elevated levels of stress hormones can reach toxic levels, researchers say, and that can have a lifetime effect on health. "For every child who is shot, provoking public outrage," McDaniels wrote, hundreds more hear gunshots or see fights that can leave deep psychological wounds and can trigger physical ailments. "The children and families I chronicle in 'Collateral Damage' have long suffered from the health problems of living in violent neighborhoods," McDaniels said upon learning she had won the award. "It is the science that has brought validity to the issue and made people pay more attention. I only hope that my work helped to expose the problem even more and will prompt more resources for the communities that need it most." Dan Vergano, a science reporter for BuzzFeed, called the Gold Award series "a distinctive and heartbreaking look at the science behind the toll that violence takes on society's most vulnerable."

Collateral Damage Series overview

 

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Andrea K. McDaniels

Andrea K. McDaniels is an award winning health and medicine reporter at The Baltimore Sun, where she writes about the latest medical advances. She has also covered minority and small business, manufacturing, retail and marketing since coming to the newspaper in 2001. A native of Virginia, McDaniels moved around a lot as a kid. She has lived in Baltimore longer than anywhere else in life. She has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. An exercise fanatic, she's probably tried just about every fitness activity there is.