André Picard knows something most journalists or historians don't. The majority of us live our lives taking care of each other, – our children, our spouses and partners, our parents, our friends, our neighbours, our co-workers, even strangers. In good times and bad. Through triumphs and tragedies, illness, ageing, accidents and chronic illness.
André's specialty is writing about this dominant arc of our lives – giving and receiving care. The paid professional care, particularly when it goes tragically wrong for example, the tainted blood transfusion scandal. Or when natural, freely given care is under stress for example, family caregiving.
His articles have won numerous awards. Some of his series have been turned into books – three in fact. For a short halcyon period he was the first and only reporter in Canada, whose full time Globe and Mail beat was covering community affairs. People still show me a front page feature he wrote on PLAN in the late 1990's, they've kept folded up as a reminder to join one of our affliate organizations. Today he is the Globe's Public Health reporter. In 2010 he was awarded a National Newspaper Award as Canada’s top newspaper columnist.
Among his other accolades, André was named Canada's first “Public Health Hero” by the Canadian Public Health Association, as a “Champion of Mental Health” by the Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health. He also received the “Outstanding Leadership in Cancer Control Prize” from the Campaign to Control Cancer and the Mitchener Award for Public Service Journalism.
For his passions, diligence and talent André will be honoured Thursday April 28th at the 24th annual Public Policy Forum testimonial dinner . He will receive the 2011 Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism. “His journalism is helping to lead Canadians and their governments towards much needed health-care innovation,” said Public Policy Forum President David Mitchell.
Political, military, business, sport or celebrity figures seduce a disproportionate amount of media and historian attention. Yet the trajectory of their lives will inevitably intersect with ours. And when it does, they and we, can thank André for ensuring that what gives purpose and meaning to everyone's life has been illuminated, preserved and nourished by his talented and thoughtful coverage.