Hollywood, 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.
Hollywood, 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.
Cancer does not discriminate. The disease affects young and old, rich and poor, from all walks of life. In this invitation-only event—presented by Hollywood, Health & Society in partnership with the Writers Guild of America, West—top-notch screenwriters, medical experts, cancer survivors and educators will discuss the science, stories and solutions regarding this pervasive disease. Dr. Lisa Richardson, Associate Director for Science, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will deliver the keynote address.
Following the presentations for the 2011 Sentinel for Health Awards, the winning writers participated in a panel discussion that offered behind-the-scenes looks about their respective shows and the genesis of some of their TV stories. Taking part in the conversation were Bridget Carpenter, co-executive producer of Parenthood (NBC); Zoanne Clack, co-executive producer of Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Jennifer Cecil, co-executive producer of Private Practice (ABC); and Gabriel Llanas, a writer for Off the Map (ABC). Joining them were Martin Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center, and Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of the Lear Center's Hollywood, Health & Society program.
Hollywood, Health & Society brought together top entertainment experts at Writers Guild of America, West to share their inspiring stories from a research trip to India and South Africa. Saying that there was nothing more powerful than "direct experience," Buffington shepherded a group of directors, producers and studio executives on an inaugural "Tales from the Field" visit to Mumbai and Johannesburg, staying one week in each location. The panel included Karen Tenkhoff, development partner at Walt Disney Feature Animation; Jennifer Cecil, co-executive producer, Private Practice; and Michael Nash, director of Climate Refugees.
During their trip to India, members of the entertainment community participated in an inspiring panel discussion in Mumbai titled From Hollywood to Bollywood: How Film & TV Reach Global Audiences on Key Health Topics. American writers and producers were joined by representatives from the local entertainment community to share their thoughts on writing about health topics, their approaches to writing dramas with impact; and TV as a vehicle for education and social change. Panelists included director and producer Ramesh Sippy; Jennifer Cecil, co-executive producer, "Private Practice"; and Amole Gupte, writer, director and producer, "Stanley Ka Dabba."
During their immersion in South Africa and India, members of the entertainment community participated in two successful, inspiring panel discussions with local TV and film writers, and others involved in entertainment education in-country. The South Africa panel was titled From California to Cape Town: How TV Reaches Global Audiences on Key Health Topics. The panel members for the Cape Town discussion included producer and writer Carol Barbee; Harriet Perlman, senior executive, Soul City Institute for Health and Development Regional Programme; and Makgano Mamabolo, co-executive producer, Puo Pha Productions. The two meetings have forged lasting relationships among the participants, which allow American TV writers to feel more connected globally, and more sympathetic to the pressing health issues of the developing world.