The founding director of The Norman Lear Center, Martin Kaplan has been Principal Investigator of Hollywood, Health & Society since its inception in 2001. He was associate dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism for 10 years and holds the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media & Society. A Harvard summa cum laude in molecular biology, he has an M.A. in English from Cambridge University where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a doctorate from Stanford in modern thought and literature.
Kate Folb comes to Hollywood, Health & Society after working for over 20 years in the entertainment education field. After an early career in television and music production/management, Kate joined the Scott Newman Center as director of special projects. There, she worked with top TV shows and films on issues of alcohol and other substance abuse. Later, she spent nearly 10 years as director of the Media Project, a partnership of Advocates for Youth and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which addressed portrayals of adolescent reproductive health in the media.
Armine Kourouyan joined HH&S from the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, where she designed, managed and evaluated full-scale disaster preparedness exercises for federal, state and local public health agencies. She trained county health departments and hospitals on earthquake response through the Joint Information Center (JIC) and effective press and media outreach in the event of an emergency or disaster. Armine created a communication kit for children with special health care needs in Los Angeles County, focusing on children with asthma and diabetes.
Roberta Cruger, senior outreach specialist, has worked in the entertainment business as director of special programming at MTV Networks and at Time Warner’s Manhattan Cable, Columbia Pictures, MCA/Universal Music International, and served as co-executive director of the Grammy Host Committee. She joined HH&S for the Climate Change Initiative and wrote on environmental issues for Discovery Network’s Treehugger.com and Planet Green channel. Roberta also has contributed to Smithsonian, Salon, The Believer, National Geographic, Los Angeles Times, Creem and MSNBC.com.
NamQuyên (Q) Lê, MPH is an emerging filmmaker and public health practitioner based in Southern California. In her role as the transmedia specialist at Hollywood, Health & Society, she merges digital/social media with public health, film theory, and multifaceted communications methods to help bridge gaps between Hollywood film/television writers and STEM (science, technology, engineering & medical) experts.
Russell DeVita's role also includes designing and producing the program's communication content in print and online, and contributing to its social media outreach. Before joining The Norman Lear Center, he worked as a graphic designer, award-winning magazine art director and journalist, and spent several years as an editor, writer and designer at the Los Angeles Times, where he was part of an editorial team that shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes.
Jolie Lowe is a recent graduate of Pepperdine University with a bachelor’s degree in intercultural communication and minors in sustainability and Asian studies. Before joining Hollywood, Health & Society, she spent time at the Center for Resource Solutions, where she worked to increase access to renewable energy. She also interned for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Legislative and External Affairs and for Pepperdine’s Student Activities department, where she strengthened her skills in program support, workshop and discussion facilitation, and event planning.
Brandon Hall comes to HH&S with over 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry and another five as a middle and high school English and history teacher. He is an award-winning screenwriter and producer who also spent years working in unscripted development, helping to shape travel, adventure, renovation, and competition shows for Discovery, NBC, HGTV, and History among others. He has a BA in English Literature and Film Studies from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Film and Television Production from USC.
Aeden comes from the UNDP's Equator Initiative and has led various creative and policy strategies for non-profits and fortune 500 companies including the LA County Office of Sustainability and the GRAMMYs. She was a Film Independent Project Involve and Sesame Workshop screenwriting fellow, has multiple recording albums and directs film/tv projects that uplift environmental practices rooted in Black, brown, and indigenous traditions. Aeden holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Music from Duke University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles.