Selected Articles

“The Happiness Metric: Bhutan’s experiment in turning principle into policy”
The Happiness Metric_Tricycle article_Madeline DrexlerTricycle, Fall 2014
In late 2012 I traveled to the Kingdom of Bhutan to take a close look at the country’s concept of Gross National Happiness, an alternative measure to gross domestic product. Here are my findings, as reported in the Fall 2014 issue of Tricycle. This story was selected for Best American Travel Writing 2015 (Houghton Mifflin).
Read an accompanying Q&A about the reporting expedition: “Gross National Happiness: On the Ground in Bhutan”
“Guns & Suicide: The Hidden Toll”
Guns & Suicide coverSpecial Report
Harvard Public Health, Spring 2013
In the national debate over gun violence—a debate stoked by mass murders such as the December 2012 massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school—a glaring fact has been eclipsed: Far more people kill themselves with a firearm each year in the United States than are murdered with one. Why is this disturbing public health fact overlooked? Which conditions raise the risk of gun suicide? And what can be done to stop these highly preventable tragedies? This article was the winner of the 2014 Grand Gold Award for Best Article of the Year, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
“Why Your Food Isn’t Safe”
Why your food isn't safe cover title pageGood Housekeeping, October 2011
Each year in the United States, about 48 million people—1 in 6 Americans—get sick from something they ate. Contaminated food sends 128,000 victims to the hospital and kills 3,000 children and adults. This investigative article details serious lapses and failures in U.S. food safety policies and practices. Immediately after the article became public, two federal agencies responsible for different aspects of food safety announced positive changes recommended in the piece. The story received the 2012 Sigma Delta Chi/Society of Professional Journalists Public Service Award in Magazine Journalism and the 2012 Clarion Award for Feature Article.
“18 Stethoscopes, 1 Heart Murmur and Many Missed Connections”
heart-illo GradyNew York Times, February 28, 2011
Illustration at right by Grady McFerrin
After volunteering as a “patient” for second-year medical students learning to conduct cardiology exams, I wrote this essay exploring the essential—but perhaps unteachable—quality of compassion that should be required of all aspiring physicians.
“Swirl, Sip, Spit: A connoisseur of India’s national drink makes a pilgrimage to Darjeeling for the ‘Champagne of teas’”
swirl, sip, spit LA Times articleLA Times, October 16, 2005
My passion for fine tea brought me to the inner sanctum of Darjeeling, India’s professional tea trade—and the lessons were quietly bracing.