Science Goes Hollywood

Despite our prejudices to the contrary, Hollywood and Science have a lot to say to each other. Take special effects: Nothing Disney dreams up can even come close to the fireworks created by exploding stars every day. And what about flesh-eating bacteria? Or clones? Or Schrödinger’s Cat? No wonder authors, filmmakers and even sitcom writers look to science for inspiration. But science also looks to Hollywood for help in getting its magic out. It’s not all that easy to bring the excitement (and most important, the process) of science into our lives through books, TV and film.

Promoting Preconception Health

Iva Schroeder, project manager with Hollywood Health & Society at the Norman Lear Center, will be presenting at this year's Second National Summit on Preconception Health and Health Care at a workshop titled Novel Approaches For Promoting Preconception Health. Presented by the March of Dimes, California Chapter, the summit will take place in Oakland, California Oct. 29-31.

Eighth Annual Sentinel for Health Awards (2007)

The NBC drama Friday Night Lights received first place in the primetime drama category of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center's Sentinel for Health Awards for a storyline about emotional parent-child interactions when a mother learns her teen daughter plans to have sex for the first time. The ABC drama Grey's Anatomy took first place for a primetime minor storyline on breast cancer in a nursing mother, and NBC's Scrubs took first place in primetime comedy for a storyline about postpartum depression. The ABC soap opera General Hospital took first place in daytime drama for a storyline about HIV exposure from a needle stick in a major character. TeleFutura took home its first Sentinel Award, in the Spanish language telenovela category, for Con Dominio Total. The storyline from As' es la Vida discussed issues of safe sex in a variety of characters. Veterans' health, dementia, diabetes, lung cancer and organ donation transplantation were some of the topics tackled in other storylines that were recognized.

Beyond Erin Brockovich: Threats from Our Toxic Environment

Contaminants in the air and water are taking a toll on the health of Americans. But how bad is it really? On this panel, environmental health experts spoke about growing rates of asthma, cancer and other diseases that affect millions of Americans on a daily basis. Experts further exposed the burden environmental toxins place on the health care system, and the quality of life that we enjoy. People who have faced environmental exposures that have changed their lives shared their personal stories. Experts proposed measures that individuals, communities and private industry can take to prevent environmental disease.

Games for Health

At the Games for Health Annual Conference, Hollywood, Health & Society Director Vicki Beck discussed expanding/adapting the HH&S model to serve as a resource to the gaming Industry. The Serious Games Initiative founded Games for Health to develop a community and best-practices platform for the numerous games being built for health care applications. To date the project has brought together researchers, medical professionals, and game developers to share information about the impact games and game technologies can have on health care and policy.

Everett M. Rogers Colloquium (2006)

The 2006 Everett M. Rogers Award for Achievement in Entertainment Education was awarded to E-E pioneer Miguel Sabido on Sept. 27, 2006. Sabido has worked as a producer, scriptwriter, playwright and director in theater, radio and TV. He has produced telenovelas that have resulted in health and social change in Mexico where the programs were broadcast, particularly Ven Conmigo, which encouraged nearly a million adults to go back to school. Geoffrey Cowan, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication, noted that Sabido also worked extensively with Rogers to launch development communications programs that have "changed the world—from Mexico, to India, to the Philippines and beyond." Read the press release

Seventh Annual Sentinel for Health Awards (2006)

The CBS primetime drama Numb3rs received first place in the primetime drama category for "Harvest," a storyline about the critical issue of organ supply for transplantation; ABC's Grey's Anatomy took home second and third place honors in the same category for storylines about organ transplantation, and the decisions patients face with genetic testing for cancer risk. The CBS soap opera As the World Turns took first place in daytime drama for a storyline about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in a major character. The NBC drama ER took first place for primetime minor storyline with "BRCA  Breast Cancer Risks," and ABC's George Lopez took first place in primetime comedy for a storyline about preventing kidney disease, "The Kidney Stays in the Picture." Telemundo took home its second Sentinel Award, in the Spanish-language telenovela category, for "Don Pedro's Diabetes." The storyline from Amarte As? illustrated a major character's struggle to manage his diet, weight and medication to control his diabetes.

SOPHE Midyear Scientific Conference

Hollywood, Health & Society director Vicki Beck gave a presentation and spoke on a panel at the 2006 Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) Midyear Scientific Conference. The overall theme of the conference was Betting on Health Education: Increasing the Odds for Collaboration. It drew several hundred academics, researchers, and practitioners from across the country and in particular from the western region of the United States. The topic of her panel was Health Communication and Health Literacy in a Changing World. Panel members included Jay Bernhardt, CDC's National Health Marketing Center, and Kelley Chunn of Kelley Chunn and Associates. SOPHE, which is made up of health education professionals and students, promotes healthy behavior, communities and environments.

Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die—and Why: Stories Behind Unnecessary Deaths From Violence and Disease in the U.S.

Does your zip code or skin color make a difference in the cause of death on your death certificate? What other factors might play a role in your risk of death—by a gun, a virus or a cancer? Why certain groups in the United States are at much higher risk of death from suicide, homicide, cancer and AIDS, even when they know about their increased vulnerability.

Institute of Medicine Symposium: Childhood Obesity

Hollywood, Health and Society director Vicki Beck gave a presentation and joined a panel  discussion entitled Marketing Communication Strategies: Promoting Healthful Products and Physical Activitiy Opportunitites at the Institute of Medicine Symposium.