For Writers

Panel Discussions with Writers

We present entertaining programs on a range of public health issues for TV writers and producers. Our discussions feature health experts who talk about the challenges of addressing difficult health issues that are of interest to writers. Writers and producers who have grappled with these topics talk about the challenges and responsibilities they face when bringing them to the screen. Past topics have included bioterrorism, the impact of television on kids, the uninsured, youth mental illness, disease detectives and the role of nutrition in preventing diseases like cancer.

Friday, September 19, 2014 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm

HH&S will hold a panel at the Writers Guild of America, East in New York on Sept. 19 titled “What’s So Funny About Climate Change?” that features TV legend Norman Lear. Co-sponsored by the WGAE, the panel will also feature top comedy writers Rory Albanese, showrunner for The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore and former showrunner, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart; Chris Albers, writer for Borgia and writer/producer, Late NightThe Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, and Late Show With David Letterman; Sidney Harris, science cartoonist for The New Yorker,The Wall Street Journal and other publications; Lyn Lear, environmental activist and producer; Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D., of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication; and Lizz Winstead, co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and author of Lizz Free or Die: Essays.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

patrick sean smith thumnbailHollywood, Health & Society held an invitation-only panel titled Affordable Me: The Face of Obamacare on the Ground & On the Air on Tuesday, July 22 at the Writers Guild of America, West, featuring TV writers/producers, health experts and community storytellers. Panelists included Dr. Zoanne Clack, executive producer, Grey’s Anatomy; Dr. Zachary Lutsky, writer, The Night Shift; Meg Marinis, story editor, Grey’s Anatomy; Hayley Schore, writer/director of development, Black Box; and Patrick Sean Smith (pictured), show runner and executive producer, Chasing Life.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 7:00pm - 9:30pm

brig. gen. chris king (thumbnail)HH&S presented an invitation-only screening of "Extreme Realities," a new installment of the acclaimed series Journey to Planet Earth, at the Linwood Dunn Theater on April 30. The documentary, narrated by Matt Damon, explores how severe weather brought on by climate change can cause food shortages and other threats to global and national security. It was followed by a panel with the filmmakers Marilyn and Hal Weiner, who were joined by NASA-JPL climate scientist Mike Gunson and Brig. Gen. Chris King (R), the chief academic officer for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and a member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change. Marty Kaplan, the director of USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, served as moderator.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

wendell potter thumbnailLost in all the white-hot noise over the recent rocky roll-out for Obamacare enrollment was an overlooked but important fact: the Affordable Care Act had fundamentally changed how health insurance companies could operate. The fact that Obamacare has caused a sea change in the country’s health care system that essentially affects everyone was underscored in the recent panel conversation, "The Affordable Care Act: Comedy, Drama & Reality—Portraying Obamacare in TV and Film," presented by Hollywood, Health & Society in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East at the WGAE headquarters in New York. Panel members were Julie Green Bataille, director of the Office of Communications, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS); Wendel Potter (pictured), former head of communcations for CIGNA and author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans; and Trudy Lieberman, a veteran journalist who has written extensively about health and health-care coverage. Marty Kaplan, director of The USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, and Michael Winship, president of the WGAE, served as co-moderators. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

gaaba thumbnailA panel and Q&A at the Directors Guild Theater followed an invitation-only screening of the award-winning film "Inuk," which was presented by Hollywood, Health & Society as part of its storytelling initiative to increase the number of climate change storylines in TV, film and new media. The special evening drew industry writers and producers along with the film’s makers and cast, including director Mike Magidson, producer Anne Andreasen and the movie’s two young leads—Gaaba Petersen (pictured), who plays Inuk, and Sara Lyberth. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013 - Saturday, July 27, 2013

young girl thumbnailHollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington and HH&S program administrator Chris Dzialo recently traveled to India for the public launch of its global center called The Third Eye, bringing in local writers for a series of panels, classes and storytelling workshops, and taking them on a research trip to explore the kinds of health-related challenges facing young girls and women in a remote village.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm

peter lee, executive director, covered california state health exchangeHollywood, Health & Society presented a panel titled "Stayin' Alive: The Truth About Obamacare" on June 27 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. Guest speakers for the panel were Peter Lee (pictured), executive director of Covered California, the state's health benefit exchange; Dr. Victoria Sorlie-Aguilar of the Centers for Family Health; Dr. Zoanne Clack, executive producer for Grey's Anatomy; and Dr. Neal Baer, executive producer for Under the Dome. HH&S Director Sandra de Castro Buffington served as the evening's moderator.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

chasing ice poster_thumbnailAn invitation-only audience was treated to a special screening of “Chasing Ice,” photographer James Balog’s hauntingly powerful 2012 documentary about Earth’s disappearing glaciers, on May 23 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. Co-sponsored by Hollywood, Health & Society, a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, and the Environmental Media Association, the event featured a panel conversation with Paula DuPre Pesmen, a producer for the documentary, and the film’s writer, Mark Monroe. They were joined by two climate scientists—Dr. Josh Willis of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Dr. Paul Bunje, senior director for prize development at the XPRIZE Foundation and a founding executive director of UCLA’s Center for Climate Change Solutions. HH&S Director Sandra de Castro Buffington and EMA President Debbie Levin served as the evening’s moderators.

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

ben lewinHollywood, Health & Society held a panel discussion on the portrayals of people with disabilities in television and film on Feb. 11 at the Writers Guild of America, West. "People First: Real Disabilities, Reel Stories" featured guest speakers Ben Lewin, writer and director of The Sessions (pictured); Margaret Nagle, writer and producer of Warm Springs; Eric Guggenheim, writer and co-producer for Parenthood; David Radcliff, writer and producer; Auti Angel, actress in the docu-series Push Girls; and keynote presenter Ann Neville Jan, an associate professor of occupational science and therapy at USC. Hollywood, Health & Science Director Sandra de Castro Buffington was the moderator.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

jose antonio vargasHollywood, Health & Society and the CAA Foundation co-sponsored a panel discussion titled “I Am a Citizen (and So Can You!) on June 27 at the agency’s Ray Kurtzman Theater in Los Angeles. In announcing the event, the CAA Foundation—the philanthropic arm of the legendary Hollywood talent agency—cited the polarization of American politics in Washington, D.C., as a major obstacle to addressing the nation’s problems, such as health care, social justice and the political system itself. “But all around us citizens are fixing what’s broken and reclaiming democracy,” CAA said. Moderated by HH&S Director Sandra de Castro Buffington, the panel included Mark Meckler, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots; Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote; Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American, whose goal is to elevate the debate around immigration; and Dr. Zoanne Clack, co-executive producer and medical adviser for the hit ABC series Grey's Anatomy.