2021 DLH Inspire Awards

Celebrate top Hollywood writers & producers!

Inspire Awards Press Release

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Thursday July 15, 2021

4pm PST / 7pm EST

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Meet the 2021 DLH Inspire Award Winners

B Positive on CBS will receive a 2021 DLH Inspire Award for Season One. This is the first sit-com to ever have a kidney patient as the main character and is based on a real-life story. Drew, a newly divorced dad faced with finding a kidney donor, is at the end of his rope when he runs into Gina, a rough-around-the edges woman from his past who volunteers her own. Drew realizes that despite Gina’s naivete on the process of becoming a donor her selfless resolve inspires him to live life more fully because of her gift and hopeful outcome.
#BeLikeGina featured a PSA that aired three times during National Kidney Month in March 2021 in a partnership between CBS publicity and national organ donation and kidney organizations. The BeLikeGina.org landing page featured stories of altruistic living donors and information about the living donation process.

Andrea Ballas
Andrea Balls serves as VP Communications at CBS where she oversees comedy publicity. She’s worked on many of Chuck Lorre’s comedies for the network including “B Positive,” “Bob Hearts Abishola,” “Mom,” “Mike & Molly” and “Two and a Half Men,” as well as dramas “NCIS” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and primetime specials “The Academy of Country Music Awards” and “The Primetime Emmy Awards,” among others.

Ray Paolantonio
Ray Paolantonio serves as VP, Current Programming at CBS where he oversees primetime, daytime and E/I (Educational / Informational) programming. He has worked on both scripted and unscripted shows such as “Guiding Light”, “As the World Turns”, “The Young and the Restless”, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, “The Price is Right”, “Let’s Make a Deal” as well as Emmy winning children’s series “Lucky Dog”, “The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation” and “Mission Unstoppable.” Ray is a graduate of Hofstra University.

Amy Eicher
Amy Eicher is Director of Social Strategy for CBS, overseeing social media strategy for all primetime comedies. Her projects include “B Positive,” “Young Sheldon,” and the upcoming “Ghosts.” Prior to CBS, Amy produced social strategy and content for Comedy Central on shows including “Drunk History,” “Nathan For You,” and the Emmy Award-winning “@midnight.”
New Amsterdam follows Dr. Max Goodwin as he becomes the medical director of one of the United States' oldest public hospitals, aiming to reform the neglected facility by tearing up its bureaucracy in order to provide exceptional care to patients.
Laura Valdivia
Laura Valdivia is receiving a 2021 DLH Inspire Award for writing a powerful deceased donation storyline on the NBC medical drama New Amsterdam that includes a superhero honor walk, reminiscent of a real-life honor walk coordinated by OneLegacy at a Los Angeles hospital.

Laura began her career producing the feature film In Memory of My Father and appearing in multiple film roles as an actress. She then appeared in sketch television shows Nick Cannon Presents: Short Circuitz and Mad TV in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The following year, she wrote for the Syfy comedy series Outer Space Astronauts and also acted in the recurring role of Andy Matheson. She wrote multiple episodes for the CBS sitcom series “Rob”, the Fox sitcom series “Ben and Kate,” the Fox comedy series Weird Loners and the NBC sitcom series Telenovela.
Members of the city's most highly skilled medical team save lives while navigating their unique interpersonal relationships. The Gaffney Chicago Medical Center's elite team of dedicated doctors, nurses and staff face challenges each day as they do what it takes to treat their patients, sometimes in surprisingly inventive ways. As the city's last line of defense, doctors Charles, Halstead, Marcel, Choi and Manning; nurses Sexton and Lockwood; and hospital administrator Sharon Goodwin embody the heart of Dick Wolf's triad of Chicago series.
Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider
Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider are receiving a 2021 DLH Inspire Award as the showrunners of Chicago Med for their heart transplant storyline featuring the real-life TransMedics Organ Care System (OCS).

Diane and Andrew are veteran TV writers/producers on Magnum, P.I., The Incredible Hulk, Northern Exposure, Alien Nation, and the miniseries V: The Final Battle. They won their first Emmy while writing on Northern Exposure in 1992 and have been nominated several times. Diane and Andrew wrote for HBO’s original program The Sopranos and, along with the rest of the production team, won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for best dramatic series in February 2007. They returned to The Sopranos as supervising producers/writers and won the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. They also won the PGA Award for 2007 Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Drama.
TransMedics is receiving a 2021 DLH Inspire Award for their role in ensuring an accurate storyline on NBC’s Chicago Med featuring their Organ Care System (OCS) technology. Dr. Waleed Hassanein will be accepting the award.
Dr. Hassanein
Dr. Hassanein founded TransMedics in 1998 to revolutionize organ transplant therapy for the treatment of end-stage lung, heart and liver failure. Dr. Hassanein’s pioneering clinical research led to the development of an entirely new living organ preservation field for transplantation. Human organs can now be kept functioning outside of the human body. TransMedics has established itself as the global leader in living organ preservation and the OCS™ technology is becoming the new standard of care. Dr. Hassanein was named as one of the top 50 Global Thinkers in Healthcare by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2015. He was the awardee of the Tribeca Disruptive Innovators Award in 2018 and was a finalist for the European Patent Office Inventor Award in 2017. Dr. Hassanein earned his M.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Black Americans make up one of the largest ethnicity groups in need of an organ transplant in the United States, yet only 39% have registered as organ donors. The film showcases Black Donate Life champions impacted by donation from a myriad of backgrounds and experiences, while candidly unpacking the issues of lingering mistrust in healthcare institutions in the Black community and igniting conversations to give hope to those waiting for a second chance at life.
Mike Freise
Mike Freise and Ayanna Anderson are receiving a 2021 DLH Inspire Award for producing We Speak Life, a short documentary that seeks to spark conversations within the Black community about the importance of organ donation. This film was funded by The California Endowment and produced by Donor Network West.

Mike is the Digital Marketing Specialist for Donor Network West, the federally designated organ procurement organization for Northern California and Northern Nevada. Utilizing his bachelor’s degree in film from Syracuse University, Mike produces and markets videos that highlight organ and tissue recipients.
Ayanna Anderson
Ayanna N.S. Anderson, MPS, MS is a transformational public relations and community engagement leader with more than 20 years of experience driving innovative, multi-channel, award-winning campaigns for clients in healthcare, technology, higher education, and the nonprofit arena. In December of 2020, she became the first Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging for Highwire PR. In this role, she brings the lens of intersectionality and equity to the mission of eradicating the representation gaps in the industry and onboarding more diverse storytellers and creatives. Ayanna also serves as an adjunct Ethnic Studies professor at Laney College in Oakland, California.
Abie Rohrig, Kate Glennon, Khalif Kamil and Emily Greenwell will have their winning DLH Storyteller videos premiered at the DLH Inspire Awards.

High School and college students across America were encouraged to showcase their talents and creativity in a way that can help save lives by participating in Donate Life Hollywood’s (DLH) second annual Storytellers Contest. The 2021 contest invited students to create a one-minute video about living kidney donation and submit it for cash prizes and broad national exposure throughout the DLH network. Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) partnered with Donate Life Hollywood to share this unique opportunity with their 21 chapters on high school and college campuses across the country.