Medical experts, policy specialists and TV writers who've turned stories about addiction into top-rated television shows offered compelling stories about addiction from substance abuse to treatment and recovery at Writers Guild of America, West. The keynote speaker was Dr. Timothy Condon, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is in touch with heroes on the front lines of health and medical crises worldwide, and our keynote speaker Tachi Yamada oversees the largest health portfolio in the world. This special event featured compelling global health stories from experts in the heart of the action overseas, and TV writers who have turned stories on global health topics into top-rated shows. It was held at Writers Guild of America, West.
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. The moderator was Neal Baer, the executive producer of Law & Order: SVU.
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.
As scientists learn more about the human genome, important and challenging questions continue to arise. If you carry a gene mutation linked to cancer, can you do anything to prevent or delay the onset of the disease? Could genetic information be used against you by insurers or employers? What are the latest options for couples who have a family history of a genetic disorder like Tay-Sachs and worry that they may pass it on to their children? Is new genetic knowledge also leading to new treatments? Difficult ethical issues are also surfacing. Why do babies in some states receive screening for certain genetic disorders while infants in other states don’t? Will genetic testing and treatment be available only to those who can afford it? Will human cloning and selective reproduction become commonplace?
Every week the latest study tells you about a new threat to your health and a new way to prevent it from killing you. It can be confusing when the studies switch back and forth. Once meat was bad, but now it's good; carbs were out, but now they're in. Can you really prevent diseases like cancer and diabetes through diet and exercise? To what degree do any diets—or stop-smoking programs—truly add years to your life? What about fast foods? Are they paving the way toward obesity and early onset of heart disease and diabetes for our kids? What's wrong with a little pleasure?
Hollywood, Health & Society hosted a panel on multicultural audiences and health messages in TV storylines at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, November 15-19, 2003.