On a recent morning beneath beautiful blue skies, a bus full of Hollywood writers and producers pulled up to a space-age-looking entry gate, where a sign next to the familiar NASA logo greeted them with the words: “Welcome to Our Universe.” For the latest Storybus Tour organized by Hollywood, Health & Society, this was a mission to learn about climate change from some of the world’s top scientists and engineers at the NASA-JPL complex just northeast of Los Angeles.Through these signature series of research trips, HH&S offers writers and producers real stories about real people and places—unusual, compelling and dramatic—from climate scientists, other experts and community members on the ground.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington gave a presentation at the Cause Placement 2012 conference titled “Entertaining Health: Inspiring Hollywood to Create Stories That Change Lives” in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 11. The conference, which connects entertainment and causes, offered "new insights and strategy, and practical ways both can create big wins for their content and missions.” In her presentation, Buffington discussed how HH&S harnesses the power of the entertainment industry by helping writers with a range of services—including its signature Storybus Tours, briefings and consultations with experts, and panel discussions.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington explored the importance of storytelling and the role of the writer in helping to shape the future during a presentation at the "State of the Arts 2012: Amplify!" conference on Sept. 22 in Los Angeles. The event, described as an "immersive symposium," was an "experiential showcase featuring cutting-edge entertainment, technology exhibits" along with music, dance and film. It was held in the Vortex Dome (pictured) at the LA Center Studios located downtown.
Winners of the 2012 Sentinel for Health Awards for exemplary achievements of television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives were announced at a ceremony Sept. 19 at the Writers Guild of America, West in Los Angeles. The NBC drama Law & Order: SVU received first place in the Primetime Drama (major storyline) category for accurately portraying the emotional effects and legalities around childhood sexual abuse. An episode of Fox’s Touch earned first place in Global Health for a storyline about domestic abuse, and NBC’s hit, Up All Night, won first place in the Comedy category for a storyline about the realities of childbirth.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington delivered a presentation on engaging TV viewers in stories that can improve their health and well-being at the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media in Atlanta on Aug. 9. The conference, co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, brought together representatives from education, government, public health and the private sector, and offered participants “new insights and tools to engage audiences and promote healthy behavior.”
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.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington delivered a talk June 26 on the power of entertainment storylines to bring about global change, at the World Bank-Annenberg Summer Institute being held on the USC campus. The World Bank Institute, in partnership with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, hopes to sharpen the skills of professionals and officials in new techniques in communication and reform implementation—from crafting strategies in building coalitions to measuring impact.