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Internship Sponsors

Neal Baer, MD, Provides Philanthropic Support to AAAS-Diverse Voices in Science Journalism Internship

Neal Baer, wearing glasses, a blue suit jacket and pale blue shirt, smiles at the camera in front of a white background.

As a proud AAAS Mass Media Fellow alum, Neal Baer, MD, is grateful for the influence his fellowship experience had in shaping his extraordinary career as an award-winning showrunner, television writer/producer, physician, author, and a public health advocate and expert.

Selected for the 1983 fellowship program, Dr. Baer was placed in the newsroom at WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio where he covered a wide variety of subjects and topics that spanned the intersection of science and society. With each story, he began to recognize the power of storytelling to educate and inform audiences about issues affecting their health and lifestyle.

Following his internship, Dr. Baer returned to Harvard Medical School for pediatric medicine from 1991 to 1996. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Los Angeles as a pediatrician and began his work in television by writing and directing an ABC after-school special dealing with sexually transmitted diseases called “Private Affairs.” He then went on to write for “China Beach,” a drama series which aired for four seasons. Soon after, he went on to be an original staff member, writer and producer on the medical television drama “ER,” where he received several Emmy nominations for producing and writing, in addition to a nomination from the Writers Guild of America. He has also served as showrunner for “Designated Survivor,” executive producer and showrunner for “Under the Dome,” “A Gifted Man,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” where he oversaw all aspects of producing and writing the show.  

He is a Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he created a Post-Graduate Intensive Program, Media, Media, and Health, and is also a Lecturer at Yale’s School of Public Health. He is also a Senior Fellow at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism.

Dr. Baer has received numerous awards and commendations, including the Valentine Davies Award in 2004 from the Writers Guild of America; the Special Individual Achievement Award from the Media Project; the Leadership Award from NOFAS; the Loop Award from Lupus LA; the Socially Responsible Medicine Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility; the Feminist Majority Foundation Award for promoting global women’s rights on television; and the John P. McGovern Medal from the American Medical Writers Association.  

AAAS is very grateful to have Dr. Baer’s support for the Diverse Voices in Science Journalism Internship since 2021.

Past supporters have included:

2019: The University of Georgia

2018-2019: Mrs. Sara Lee Schupf is the namesake of the Sara Lee Baking Company, which was founded by her father, the late Charles Lupin, in 1948. Today, Mrs. Schupf’s passion for science and diversifying STEM fields fuels her remarkable engagement in and support for science and technology education. She and her family foundation have endowed academic chairs, fellowships, and scholarships, as well as centers and programs that have enriched STEM education and professional career development opportunities for countless individuals. Mrs. Schupf has also served tirelessly on numerous boards and committees, including the boards of Skidmore College, the New York Hall of Science, Emma Willard School and American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, where she initiated the Weizmann Women and Science Award 1994-2006. Mrs. Schupf’s contribution to the Minority Science Writers Fellowship was made in honor of Dr. Shirley Malcom, AAAS’s Director of Education and Workforce Programs, for her outstanding dedication to growing diversity in STEM fields.

2018: Dr. Jerry Pausch from Leesburg, Ohio received his doctoral degree from Purdue University in analytical chemistry and led the BF Goodrich Research measurement science group in Brecksville, Ohio for 22 years. In the span of his career, he also served on the Grace Commission, a private sector evaluation on operations of the EPA laboratories under President Ronald Reagan. He was also chairman of the Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park Advisory Committee at Ohio State for 20 years, and now currently serves on the Everglades Wetland Research Park advisory committee at Florida Gulf Coast University in Naples, Florida. Along with his commitment to scientific research and wetland conservation, Dr. Pausch is passionate about helping students attain their academic and career goals. In addition to his support of the Minority Science Writers Fellowship, he maintains several endowments and need-based scholarships at area high schools and his undergraduate alma mater, The Ohio State University.

2013-2017: The Pitts Family Foundation funded the Minority Science Writers Internship (2-3 interns per year) for 5 years.  The family continues to be a strong advocate for the program.

The Chief Financial Officer of the Pitts Family Foundation stated that support for these internships comes “from two Black school teachers from Macon, Georgia, my parents.  They moved from the segregated south to southern California in 1956 and still managed to send 4 children to small private colleges on school teacher’s salaries. Dr. Raymond J. Pitts, Sr. my father, lived to be 94 and my mother, Kathleen Pitts lived to be 99. The 4 children (now ages 67 to 75) all had very good lives and did not need anything from my parents when they died. So, the Foundation was established at the wishes of my father. Due to some smart investment decisions and (just) time in the markets, what funds these teachers had, accumulated into a nice sum for investing in the lives and development of others.” 

Therefore, the Pitts Family Foundation was “established for the purpose of supporting creativity in the arts, humanities, and sciences as they relate to cultural diversity in its broadest sense.”

-Dr. Raymond J. Pitts, Sr.