Special Interest Magazines: University of Pittsburgh - Bronze Medal

Category 18B: Special Interest Magazines
University of Pittsburgh, Pitt Med Magazine

Contact: Robert Hill, vice chancellor for public affairs, 400 Craig Hall, 200 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260, Phone: (412) 624-8891, e-mail:

Objectives: Pitt Med shares the ongoing intellectual adventure of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine with its readers. Specifically, the magazine seeks to:

  1. Promote the quality and achievements of the school in a smart and engaging way that reflects the school’s rising stature
  2. Create or reinforce a spirit of “connectedness” and “informed good will” among key constituencies, especially alumni as well as potential faculty and student recruits
  3. Raise awareness of the school’s already outstanding reputation and provide a communications tool that contributes to the school’s efforts to build on that reputation

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is a place where great ideas germinate, where many brilliant people begin and build illustrious careers, and where the work of improving the human condition takes place in earnest every day. In short, it is a place of fascinating stories. This magazine’s role is to do justice to those stories by telling them in an engaging and thought-provoking manner, one that is accessible to the educated layperson as well as an MD or PhD graduate. We don’t ignore the humor that may arise in these pursuits, nor the poignancy (though we try to stave off mawkishness).

In addition to the magazine’s primary charges, the dean has requested the magazine build awareness and excitement about the importance of basic science. So, in each issue, we are likely to devote two of four major features (as well as other coverage) to what can be difficult stories to tell. We’ll cover, for example, why the identification of a protease—something most people have never even heard of—can be an important and compelling moment.

Staffing: three full-time editorial staff: editor in chief, senior editor and associate editor - one part-time design staff: art director


  • Alumni, including MD alumni and those who received a PhD or completed their residency training at the school of medicine
  • Faculty, medical students, select staff, and senior University of Pittsburgh administrators
  • Community, foundation, and funding agency leaders
  • Deans, department chairs, residency directors at other medical schools
  • Potential donors
  • State legislators, the governor, and other key government officials
  • Other key players, including new faculty recruits, premed advisors, and journalists

Magazine’s Frequency: Quarterly

Average Pages Per Issue: 40

Circulation: 21,000

Total Annual Budget: $192,000 per year

Average Cost Per Issue & Unit Cost: $48,000 per issue; $2.29 per magazine

Response/Results: Pitt Med is clearly reinforcing a spirit of connectedness and pride in the school. Alumni (of all ages) and students are responding to the publication with an enthusiasm unmatched by any other PR effort the school has undertaken. Participation in alumni activities has increased. Tough to please faculty members use phrases like “it’s inspiring” to describe the publication. Major donors report they always read it. And it has complemented the school’s recruitment efforts: Admissions is pleased with the response from premed advisors (some of whom say they read it cover to cover before sharing it with the students they counsel). When the school sent Pitt Med to all accepted MD applicants, many mentioned the magazine on return visits. The dean has found Pitt Med helpful in convincing top scientists from throughout the world to join his faculty. In 2006, the school’s academic medical center was among the top six mentioned in major national publications.

Last year, it became clear the university was closing in on an overall campaign goal of $1 billion a year early (roughly one-quarter of which was raised for the school of medicine), and Pitt announced it would double its goal to $2 billion.