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Shedden Joins Health News FL

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Mary Shedden, formerly of The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com, has joined the staff of Health News Florida, a multi-platform reporting project of WUSF Public Media.

Shedden, a 20-year veteran journalist, most recently covered the health-care system for the Tampa Tribune, where she worked for eight years. Before that, Shedden worked for Florida Today and the Gainesville Sun.

Her work has been honored by professional organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists, Associated Press Sports Editors, and the Florida Society of News Editors. The award-winning projects concerned retired pro athletes who suffered chronic pain, children poisoned by imported toxic toys and how drug sensitivity can endanger older patients.

A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Mary has lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1999.

Others on the staff of Health News Florida are its founder and editor, Carol Gentry, and editorial assistant/reporter Lottie Watts.

Health News Florida was founded in December 2006 as an independent non-profit organization dedicated to in-depth online coverage of state health issues important to the public, at a time when newspapers' declining profits had caused a serious reduction in the number of experienced health reporters. (It was founded under the name Florida Health News, a name that was changed two years later to avoid confusion with another publication.)

The website was officially launched in March 2007, at the opening of that year's legislative session, along with an email round-up of the day's top stories. While advertising provided some support, it was principally funded by foundation grants and reader donations. Health News Florida became part of WUSF Public Media in September 2012.

The e-Alert is available free by e-mail; the day's top stories are also available on Twitter or on Facebook.

Health News Florida is a member of the Investigative News Network.