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There’s no bigger compliment for a journalist than an envious competitor.

So we’re putting aside our egos (at least for the holidays) and giving shout-outs to stories that caught our eye in other publications. Here’s our list, along with the reason each piece stuck with us.

Oh, and while we’re fessing up, we got this whole idea from Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual jealousy list. And, yeah, we wish we’d thought of it first.


We hope you enjoy STAT’s picks — as well as our own work in the year to come.

“Last Men Standing”

By Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle

This project examines the stories of a group of men who have lived with HIV or AIDS for decades, much to the surprise of their health networks — and the men themselves. Given that we now think of HIV as something people can live with and not die of, it’s fascinating and heartbreaking to hear the stories of people who, decades ago, thought they, like many of their lovers and friends, would not survive long but who are alive today. As Allday writes, “Many men had the remarkable luck — and often brutal misfortune — to struggle on.” (Contributed by Andrew Joseph)


“Intake: Locked On The Psych Ward”

By Rosalind Adams, BuzzFeed News

An exhaustive investigation of a terrifying phenomenon: people seeking psychiatric help, often just a mental health screening, and being locked up in a for-profit mental hospital against their will and with no medical justification — sometimes so inescapably that not even the police could get them out. (Contributed by Sharon Begley)

“How Trump Could Wage a War on Scientific Expertise”

By Ed Yong, The Atlantic

While no one can say precisely what will happen to science in a Trump administration, Ed Yong has put together a carefully documented road map, showing how science could be systematically separated from policy-making, on everything from ozone emissions to antibacterial soaps. (Contributed by Carl Zimmer)

“A Positive Life: How a Son Survived Being Injected with HIV by His Father”

By Justin Heckert, GQ

It’s a horrifying medical crime story — a phlebotomist father who injected his infant son with HIV-positive blood. That alone is unforgettable. But the journalist Justin Heckert focuses instead on what happened next: how, against the odds, a dying child not only lived but grew up to become someone remarkable. “Badger” Jackson’s story lingered with me long after I read it. (Contributed by Rebecca Robbins)

“Women Balancing Work and Family”

By Alice Proujansky, The New York Times

“Pictures Show How Dangerous It Can Be to Give Birth”

By Becky Little, photographs by Lynsey Addario, National Geographic

Alice Proujansky’s series is a smart look at both the quiet and frenzied moments that make up modern pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Lynsey Addario’s images draw attention to the issue of maternal mortality worldwide. Her photos are a stark reminder that birth without access to modern medical facilities is a precarious balance of life and death. Both of these photo essays are particularly timely as both reproductive health and parental leave have become increasingly important issues in the United States. (Contributed by Alissa Ambrose)

“‘How’s Amanda?’: A story of truth, lies and an American addiction”

By Eli Saslow, The Washington Post

I couldn’t put down this excruciating tale of Amanda Wendler’s struggle to get clean. It brought me fully into her world. (Contributed by Stephanie Simon)


By Eyal Press, The New Yorker

This piece tells the compelling story of psychiatric staff in prison hospitals, who are given one of the hardest jobs in the world: care for people with mental illnesses in a system that doesn’t want them to get better. It takes people we might normally vilify for being complacent in a destructive system and helps us understand why it’s so hard to improve medical care in prisons. (Contributed by Ike Swetlitz)

“Addiction Treatment: Inside the Gold Rush”

By the Palm Beach Post staff

This is classic investigative reporting, exposing all the hallmarks of corruption — self-dealing, kickbacks, human brokering, and more — in the context of a modern addiction epidemic. (Contributed by Leah Samuel)

Brokers of junk science?

By Jie Jenny Zou, The Center for Public Integrity

This story, by the Center for Public Integrity, shines a light on the shadowy business of science for sale. (Contributed by Sheila Kaplan)

“Setting the Body’s ‘Serial Killers’ Loose on Cancer”

By Andrew Pollack, The New York Times

This was a superbly sourced look at one of the most cutting-edge new treatments in cancer. Pollack talked to basically every important player in CAR-T, as well as several patients, and took a nuanced look at this therapy’s promise and pitfalls. (Contributed by Meghana Keshavan)

“Proof of evolution that you can find on your own body”

By Joss Fong, Vox

Evolution is staring at you every day. Just look at your own body. This fun, accessible video reminds us of that. It leverages research (and cute animals normally wasted on the Internet for cheap clicks) for something deeper — an appreciation of how humans where built over eons, as well as some of the evolutionary leftovers we have kept. I have a vestigial muscle in my forearm. Do you? (Contributed by Jeff DelViscio)

“How black-market OxyContin spurred a town’s descent into crime, addiction and heartbreak”

By Harriet Ryan, Scott Glover, and Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times

This investigation paints a comprehensive picture of how the black market for painkillers can inflict untold damage on a single town. There must be hundreds of cities and towns like Everett, Wash., across the country. (Contributed by Dylan Scott)

“Fight: Two men entered the ring for their first professional fight. Then something went wrong.”

By Dan Barry, The New York Times

This portrait of a tragic boxing death is beautiful, haunting storytelling built on a foundation of first-rate reporting. (Contributed by Bob Tedeschi)

“For Native Americans, Health Care Is A Long, Hard Road Away”

By Misha Friedman, NPR

Native Americans face significant hurdles to getting health care, from long drives to the hospital to a lack of resources at underfunded clinics. This story gets into the details of those challenges and illustrates the issue with some beautiful photojournalism. (Contributed by Megan Thielking)

“The true story of America’s sky-high prescription drug prices”

By Sarah Kliff, Vox

I loved this explainer (complete with stick figure illustrations!) on drug prices. It really cut through all the clutter and gave clear-eyed insight about our insanely complicated drug pricing system. (Contributed by Stephanie Simon)

“A Biotech Evangelist Seeks a Zika Dividend”

By Andrew Pollack, The New York Times

This story pulls back the curtain on one of biotech’s most fascinating eccentrics, following billionaire R.J. Kirk as he hunts alongside falcons, promises to change the world, and counters claims that his cut-and-paste empire is heavier on hype than substance. Also, someone calls him “a mix of Leonard Cohen and Prince,” which is thought-provoking in its own right. (Contributed by Damian Garde)

“Autism—It’s Different in Girls”

By Maia Szalavitz, Scientific American

This important story points out something we rarely talk about: how diagnostic structures for autism spectrum disorder are set using behavior in boys. It causes parents an untold amount of grief and frustration as they try to get diagnoses for their daughters as they run up against checklists that don’t apply to them. The story synthesizes experience and data and creates a call for change. (Contributed by Megha Satyanarayana)

How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards Came Tumbling Down

By Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair

John Carreyrou and the Wall Street Journal have driven the exceptional coverage of Theranos, documenting how the high-flying biotech and its celebrity chief, Elizabeth Holmes, had built a company based on a discredited blood-testing technology. So it was all the more impressive that Nick Bilton of Vanity Fair, undeterred by the unflagging and impressive reporting from the Journal, burrowed his way into Theranos. His piece is packed with compelling details about how Theranos operated under Holmes and brings important context to the entire saga. He doesn’t shrink from documenting the Journal’s role in the piece, to the point of noting that, internally, company leaders had an anti-Carreyrou chant: “Fuck you, Carreyrou!” (You didn’t read THAT in the Wall Street Journal!) Both the Journal and Vanity Fair are another reminder to us all that we need to look skeptically behind the glitz of corporate America. (Contributed by Rick Berke)