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Public Citizen Honors Long-Time Dedication to Public Interest Movement

Nov. 30, 2004

Public Citizen Honors Long-Time Dedication to Public Interest Movement

Sally Whelan to Receive Second Annual Phyllis McCarthy Public Interest Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A program manager who has devoted a quarter century to women’s health education will receive the second annual Phyllis McCarthy Annual Public Interest Service Award today from Public Citizen.

Public Citizen created the award after Phyllis McCarthy, a 24-year employee of its Health Research Group, died in November 2002. The award is intended to recognize people who have worked long and hard in a public interest group, performing critical functions, as did McCarthy, but who have not received public credit commensurate with their contributions.

The recipient is Sally Whelan, a founder and 25-year staff member of the leading international women’s health education and advocacy organization, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, which produces the bestselling “Our Bodies Ourselves.”

Whelan ran the Boston’s Women’s Health Book Collective’s Women’s Health Information Center and for six years coordinated the International Women and Health Documentation Center Project, which provided a computer and communications infrastructure for women’s health information centers in Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico and the United States.

“Sally Whelan has very little public visibility although she has been key to the women’s health movement in so many ways for 25 years,” said Judy Norsigian, executive director of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. “She is a great team player and has been incredibly committed to improving the health of women and families for more than three decades.”

Phyllis McCarthy began her career with Public Citizen’s Health Research Group in 1978 as a typist, intending to devote her career to public interest work. She became the group’s detail-oriented office manager and managing editor of all of the Health Research Group’s publications, ensuring that the group’s many publications – which included books, monthly newsletters and more than 1,000 reports, medical journal articles and petitions to governmental and health safety agencies – were error-free and published on time.

The award will be presented at a 4 p.m. reception today at Public Citizen’s office at 1600 20th Street NW.