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The Sentinel Awards recognize exemplary achievements of TV and streaming shows that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives. For many loyal viewers, TV provides both entertainment and factual information about a wide range of health topics and social issues. As the entertainment landscape expands and TV programs continue to push boundaries, issues such as disease, injury, national security, addiction, mental health, violence, discrimination and access to healthcare are being explored through original, dynamic storytelling. Through their portrayals of characters' lives, writers and producers have a unique opportunity to touch viewers' lives.

The way a popular character deals with a personal health decision can prompt audience members to think about their own choices. A compelling storyline that demonstrates risky behavior and consequences, or shows how to avoid risk, portrays social determinants of health or examines global health issues, can benefit millions of viewers around the world.

The awards program is administered by Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center that provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for storylines on health, safety and security. 

How Entries Are Evaluated

Each entry is screened by Hollywood, Health & Society staff for eligibility and all qualifying entries are evaluated in two rounds of judging.

In the first round, each storyline is reviewed for accuracy by a panel of topic experts who take the following into consideration. Does the storyline:

1) Demonstrate the causes of the topic
2) Show how it can be prevented
3) Show how a character’s choices can affect their health or safety
4) Explain how the topic impacts the lives and relationships of characters
5) Portray characters at greatest risk from the topic
6) Address and debunk common myths about it
7) Demonstrate professional standards and practices to address the issue 
8) Demonstrate the potential to positively affect viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors 

Finalists from the first round of judging are then reviewed by a second panel of entertainment industry professionals. The entries are evaluated on the following criteria: 

1) The potential benefit to the viewing audience
2) Delivery and presentation of information
3) Entertainment value

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