liz fowlerThe Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Conference held in Washington D.C. brought together national leaders, elected officials, corporate executives, community activists and educators to discuss critical issues facing the Latino community and the nation. Sandra de Castro Buffington, the director of the Hollywood, Health & Society program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, delivered an address on the power of popular TV health storylines to reach the Latino community at the CHCI conference on Sept. 13. She was joined by moderator Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard; Dr. Elmer Huerta, director of Cancer Preventorium, Washington Hospital Center; Liz Fowler, special assistant to the president for health care and economic policy; and Chef LaLa, a nutritionist.
Sandra de Castro Buffington was an invited guest at Singularity University's "Women at the Frontier 2011: Power and Progress" forum, on Aug. 16, 2011. The panel featured top women entrepreneurs, humanitarians, innovators, scientists and techies, addressing issues relevant to humanity's future. The keynote speaker was Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, a Silicon Valley executive and serial entrepreneur.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington moderated a panel discussion titled "How Youth Drive Change" at the 7th annual UNESCO Youth Forum, held Oct. 17-20 at the organization's headquarters in Paris. Despite their critical roles in the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, young people rarely see themselves reflected in TV and movie storylines as heroes, social activists and vital contributors to the shaping of a collective future. This year’s Youth Forum presented a lineup of speakers that included Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and an Academy Award-winning actor; anti-violence activist César López; and Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.
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."
For two weeks in May 2011, Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington took six TV and film writers on research trips to Johannesburg, South Africa and Mumbai, India, to learn about global health challenges and low cost, effective solutions. The groups explored each city, learning about health problems and social issues and meeting with individuals and organizations working for positive change. The writers also participated in panel discussions in both Johannesburg and Mumbai with local TV and film writers and others involved in entertainment education in each country. All panelists showcased their work and shared their thoughts on how television can educate viewers, and transform society for the good.
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.