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    “What’s the Deali-O With New Weight Loss Drugs?” by Krista Conger

    Stanford University School of Medicine  
    The Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards: General Staff Writing 

    This two-part series tackled the growing public interest in Ozempic, a diabetes drug that can cause significant weight loss, even in people who are not diabetic. It describes how semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, was discovered and traces its path from a diabetes drug to the hottest (and quickest) way to shed unwanted pounds. In the series, Stanford Medicine experts in diabetes, obesity, weight loss, and psychiatry weigh in on the drug’s promise and pitfalls, and provide thoughtful commentary on the ethics of its use and our societal bias against obesity, a health condition that deserves effective medical treatments. 
    What was the most impactful part of your entry? 
    From Krista Conger: When a drug becomes a fad so hot that it’s part of patter at the Academy Awards, and online practitioners are offering quick and easy prescriptions, it is important to help the public see behind the buzz and understand the scientific and medical facts. I interviewed a variety of experts at Stanford Medicine to get a full picture of the drug, how it works, and who might benefit from its use. I believe the most impactful part of this series is not just the information it provides to members of the public who are considering whether to try semaglutide-based drugs for weight loss, like Ozempic or its sister medication, Wegovy, but also the more nuanced perspective on obesity as a medical problem rather than a moral failing for which people should be shamed. 
    What challenge did you overcome? 
    From Krista Conger: Ozempic and other semaglutide-based diabetes and weight loss drugs are so firmly entrenched in popular culture that it was difficult to find a novel way to cover them. I chose to write about the topic with a lighthearted approach to draw the reader in while also seeking out world class Stanford Medicine experts with meaningful expertise in obesity, diabetes, and weight loss for comment. The series covers a wide range of topics, from the drug’s discovery to bariatric surgery to attitudes about obesity in this country, and a discussion about health care access and economic and health disparities. In this way, we provided thoughtful, well-rounded expert coverage rarely seen from other outlets. 
    Contact: Krista Conger