Hollywood Health & Society

Providing the entertainment industry with free, expert information for storylines on health and climate change.


Marty Kaplan
Principal Investigator, Hollywood, Health & Society

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.

Director, Hollywood, Health & Society

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.

Project Manager, Hollywood, Health & Society

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.

Research Specialist, Hollywood, Health & Society

Erica Rosenthal evaluates the impact of health-related television storylines on viewers' knowledge, attitudes and behavior, and manages the HH&S TV Monitoring Project. An applied research professional specializing in research design and quantitative analysis, Erica's interests center around the social-cognitive mechanisms underlying the influence of media messages. Her dissertation research, for which she received the Arthur Brayfield Outstanding Dissertation Award, examined the role of emotion-based messages in relation to media literacy approaches.

Program Specialist, Hollywood, Health & Society

Roberta Cruger, who's with the Climate Change Initiative, has written on environmental issues for Discovery Network’s treehugger.com and Planet Central channel, and has contributed to Smithsonian, Salon, The Believer, National Geographic Traveler and MSNBC. She has worked in the entertainment industry as director of special programming at MTV Networks and Time Warner’s Manhattan Cable TV. She also headed the U.S. office of MCA Music International and served as co-executive director of the Grammy Host Committee. Roberta holds a B.F.A.

yasmine zavahir
Program Coordinator, Hollywood, Health & Society

Yasmine Zavahir comes to HH&S from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, where she worked as a health scientist in the Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services. She holds a bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University in public health and natural sciences, and a Master's of Health Science Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in international health and nutrition.

russ devita
Web writer/editor, communication design, Hollywood, Health & Society

Russell DeVita's role also includes designing the program's communication in print and online, and contributing to its social media outreach. Before joining the 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. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from SUNY College at Buffalo, and a bachelor of fine arts from Art Center College of Design.

zach gonzalez-landis
Transmedia Specialist

Zach Gonzalez-Landis joins HH&S from NBC where he worked as a content writer in the digital marketing department and helped develop and maintain online content for well over a dozen NBC series and specials. His handiwork included language and concepts for branded apps, weekly blogs, recaps, social media campaigns, video mashups, and interactive digital experiences. Prior to NBC, Zach lived in Chicago where he worked in nonprofit marketing at the Steppenwolf Theatre and the Art Institute of Chicago while he wrote and performed sketch comedy and improv.

Program Assistant, Hollywood, Health & Society Global Centers and The Norman Lear Center

Elliott Scher is a Baltimore native whose professional background consists of a career in the entertainment industry, having worked for several bi-coastal talent agencies and management companies. He also has professional experience working in brand development, social media and public relations. Elliott is a graduate of Wagner College where he studied theatre arts. In his spare time, Elliott is also a professional dance teacher and acting coach and has taught at studios throughout Los Angeles, New York City and Baltimore, MD.

Administrative Assistant, Hollywood, Health & Society

Rachel Lipari was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California and holds a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in pre-law studies. Rachel assists Kate Folb, director of Hollywood, Health & Society. In this role, Rachel organizes the administrative aspects of the office of the director. Contact her at rlipari@usc.edu