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The series of webinars—most of them on topics related to COVID-19—was a collaboration between Hollywood, Health & Society and the Writers Guild of America.

Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), in partnership with the Writers Guild of America, presented a timely series of online conversations on topics related to the pandemic, bringing together storytellers and experts. The popular series of evening webinars, held every Tuesday, covered topics in the age of COVID-19 such as addiction, Black maternal health, criminal justice, older adults and caregiving, mental health, reproductive rights, and lupus and hydroxychloroquine.

A May 19 discussion on whether our democracy can survive the pandemic, which had more than 500 audience members, featured guest speakers Stacey Abrams, chair of Fair Fight Action, a voting rights advocacy organization; Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania; and Norman Lear, a TV/film producer, philanthropist, and World War II veteran who flew more than 50 combat missions. The webinar event on racism and maternal health—how the pandemic is deepening the childbirth crisis for Black women—drew 600 RSVPs. The series concluded July 28, 2020 with a look at TV and film production.

As part of a project in collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Public Health, HH&S is providing Covid-19 messaging guidelines for PSAs and TV content that builds on the successful “designated protector” behavior storylines. Find out more on our Tip Sheets page.

Covid-19 Messaging

TV can use messaging guidelines to create content and help slow the spread of the virus, and encourage people to get vaccinated.

Mental Health

Our webinars began on the topic of mental health, with virologist Dr. Paula Cannon and mindfulness teacher Brian Shiers.

Addiction & Recovery

The pandemic has disrupted support lines for those in need, and has made treatment and recovery more challenging.

Lupus & Hydroxychloroquine

Our virtual talk focused on people living with lupus, an autoimmune disease, and the role of hydroxychloroquine, a vital medication.

Older Adults and Caregiving

Dr. Bruce Chernof of The SCAN Foundation joins a panel about the challenges facing those who are caregivers for older adults.

U.S. Prisons

Our panel spotlighted the pandemic's deep impact on the health of those who are incarcerated in the U.S. prison system.

Race Inequity

The series continues with a conversation about how underserved communities of color are feeling the pandemic's impact the most.


Voting rights organizer Stacey Abrams and TV producer Norman Lear took part in this talk about the state of American democracy.

Reproductive Rights

Our panel of experts discussed whether the pandemic provides new options for reproductive rights and abortion care. 

Racism & Maternal Health

Journalist Priska Neely moderated this discussion on how COVID-19 deepened the childbirth crisis for Black women.

The Search for a Vaccine

Our panel explores the all-out search for a vaccine. Does early research indicate that immunization could be within reach?


Do the lessons learned from the 40-year battle against the HIV/AIDS epidemic offer any help in the current global crisis?

U.S. Security

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman discusses the pandemic's effect on national and nuclear security issues.

Criminal Justice Reform

What would it take to make our criminal justice system more humane, and is there a supporting role that TV can play?

TV & Film Production

Our final panel in the series explores how the pandemic will shape life on Hollywood sets. What will the "new normal" look like?