The Commonwealth Fund today announced the election of journalist Cristine Russell to its board of directors. Russell is an award-winning reporter who has covered science, medicine, and health for three decades. Currently a freelance writer, she has been a special health correspondent national medical/science reporter for the Washington Post and earlier for the Washington Star. She was a panelist on the Public Broadcasting System show Washington Week in Review from 1978 to 1994. "We are very pleased to welcome Cristine Russell to the board of The Commonwealth Fund. Ms. Russell is a distinguished journalist who has won high praise for her coverage of major health care news," said Dr. Charles A. Sanders, chairman of the Fund's board of directors. "She brings to our board depth of insight and broad scope of knowledge about health and health care issues, and will add tremendously to our deliberations." Ms. Russell is currently an officer of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, a group of journalists and scientists committed to improving science news coverage. She is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers. Ms. Russell has covered a wide range of health and science topics, including the war on cancer, AIDS, genetics, the environment, preventive health, basic research, clinical medicine, government regulation, and the ethics and politics of science, in more than 1,000 news and feature articles for newspapers and magazines. She was a member of the Commonwealth Fund Commission on Women's Health from 1993 to 1999. "Cristine Russell's expertise in communicating significant and complex national and international health issues will be invaluable to fulfilling the Fund's mission of improving quality and access to health care," said Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund. Ms. Russell is currently a member of the Department of Health and Human Services' "Bright Futures for Women's Health and Wellness" Steering Committee and co-edited and contributed to a 1995 Oxford University Press book, Reproductive Health Care for Women and Babies. She has written extensively on media coverage of science and medicine, particularly communication about health risks. In 1987-88, Ms. Russell was an Alicia Patterson Foundation journalism fellow studying comparative health risks and public concern about risk. Ms. Russell is a recipient of several national science writing awards, including the National Association of Science Writers' Science in Society Award. She was the first woman to win the American Chemical Society's James T. Grady Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public (1984). Ms. Russell is a 1971 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mills College (Oakland, CA), with a degree in Biology. She is on the Mills College Board and the Board of Councilors of the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and is a longtime member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She lives in Darien, Connecticut with her husband, Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr., and has two sons attending college.