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UIC Cancer Prevention Champion Receives 'Alternative Pulitzer'

April 10, 2000

Samuel Epstein, professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, will receive what is popularly is known as the "Alternative Pulitzer Prize" for investigative journalism from Project Censored.

Epstein is being honored for his article "American Cancer Society: The World's Wealthiest Nonprofit Institution." The article was published in the fall 1999 issue of the leading peer-reviewed public health journal "International Journal of Health Services."

Project Censored, created by the department of sociology at Sonoma State University, recognizes important news stories that are overlooked by mainstream media. Epstein's article criticizes the American Cancer Society for indifference to prevention, bloated operating budgets, misallocation of funds, as well as links to the cancer drug, mammography and pesticide industries, which, Epstein writes, create conflicts of interest. "My overall objective is to establish prevention as the nation's top cancer policy," Epstein said.

Department of sociology students and faculty at Sonoma begin Project Censored each year by screening thousands of magazine and journal articles and selecting about 100 stories for review by Project Censored judges, nationally-recognized authors, journalists and leaders. The judges select and rank the top 25 censored news stories.

This year's panel of Project Censored judges ranked Epstein's article third. Judges included Howard Zinn, historian and author of the "People's History of the United States," Susan Faludi, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women," and Rhoda Karpatkin, president of the Consumer's Union.

Seven Stories Press, a publishing house in New York City, published the stories in the recently released "Censored 2000: This Year's Top 25 Censored Stories."

The April 12 Seventh Annual Project Censored Awards, held in New York City at Fordham University, will recognize the authors of the top-10 censored stories. The event is sponsored by Seven Stories Press, Project Censored, the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, and the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Fordham University.

Epstein said that he will give a brief presentation on how the "American Cancer Society subverts the democratic process by failing to make available to the public well-documented information on cancer prevention."

"This failure has a tremendous impact on the democratic decision-making process and expresses itself in the fact that one of every two men and one of every three women in America will experience some form of cancer in their lifetime," said Epstein.

The Seventh Annual Project Censored Awards is part of the annual Press Freedom Conference, organized by Fordham and Project Censored. The conference presents panels on journalism, media activism and democracy.

Epstein's presentation, "Failure of the U.S. Media to Cover Important Medical Issues; Needs for an Alternative Press," is part of an investigative journalism panel, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., April 12.

Epstein is a leading international champion of preventing cancer by reducing exposure to industrial carcinogens in the environment, workplace and consumer products including food, household cleansers and cosmetics. He is the founder of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, which aims to influence public policy to place greater emphasis on cancer prevention.

Epstein is the author and co-author of hundreds of scientific articles and many books including "The Politics of Cancer" (1978), the "Safe Shopper's Bible" (1995), "The Breast Cancer Prevention Program" (1997) and "The Politics of Cancer Revisited" (1998). In 1998, Epstein traveled to Sweden to receive what is widely known as the "Alternative Nobel," for his "exemplary life of scholarship, wedded to activism on behalf of humanity" from the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288) 601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

Contact: Jody Oesterreicher, (312) 996-8277, joest@uic.edu


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