Joan Anderson is a Fort Worth author, playwright, actress, and an award-winning medical journalist and video producer who has worked in print, radio, television and theater. She has spent her career in the field of communications and marketing with an emphasis on medical and consumer issues.
Joan and her writing partner, Dorothy Sanders, have been writing and performing together for over 25 years. For more than ten years, they wrote and performed their own plays at local events, for professional groups and on various stages through their traveling theater company, Character Acts.
Their full-length play, “1-800-4Advice,” has been produced on many local stages. Their one-acts and ten-minute plays have won numerous competitions throughout the United States– including "The Primal Scream" and “Waiting for Ruthie” at Denton Community Theatre’s Method and Madness Playwriting Competition and Festival and “The Marriage Game” at Theatre Oxford in Oxford, Mississippi.
As a young mother concerned about the cancer-causing effects of fire-retardant chemicals used in children’s sleepwear and the preservatives used in foods, Joan took her causes to the media. That led to her first position as a television and radio consumer reporter with KERA, the PBS affiliate in Dallas. She also wrote articles for various magazines as well as for the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the Dallas Morning News. From the beginning of her career, she has used her writing and reporting to inform the public about critical issues that impact their lives.
Her award-winning investigative article, “Deep Sleep,” published in D Magazine (Dallas), revealed the cause of an unprecedented cluster of anesthesia deaths and was the impetus for a segment on the ABC show, 20/20 for which she consulted.
Also in D Magazine, her in-depth report, "The Baby Factory," chronicled the dangerous procedures used during the birth of her second child and helped usher in a more natural approach to hospital deliveries in her home city of Fort Worth.
She won The American Cancer Society of Texas Journalist Award for her article, “A Time to Die,” which explained a more sensitive and honest approach to dying offered by a new and controversial program at the time – Hospice.
Her video, Shelter From The Storm of Family Violence, which she produced in the late 1980’s, helped educate the public on this hidden problem, as well as highlighting the important work of the women’s shelter in Fort Worth. The video won an award from the Dallas Chapter of Women in Communication.
Joan left journalism and TV/radio reporting to help start the community cable television channel for the City of Fort Worth where she also produced and hosted several shows and documentaries. From there she took a position as a healthcare administrator for a major Texas health system. But, always a writer at heart, she continued to work on plays and other outside writing projects.
Joan helped co-write two books with a nationally recognized physician and also co- wrote a highly successful children’s book, Diggy Armadillo Goes to the Stock Show and Rodeo. It is a Cowtown (Fort Worth, Texas) favorite. The book was incorporated into the Fort Worth ISD third-grade curriculum. It was also published each year for grades 2-6 by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as part of their "Newspapers in Education" series. Diggy Armadillo received an endorsement from the then first lady, Laura Bush, and from U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger who said it was “my choice to read to students during National Library Week. They loved it.”
Joan’s upcoming book deals with the issue of Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome, a debilitating health condition that is often ignored or mistreated.