"Addressing Health in Entertainment Television: An Innovative Model to Reach Millions Through TV Storylines" was presented by Sandra de Castro Buffington, the director of the Hollywood, Health & Society project, at the Social Justice Dialogue and Publication Series at the University of Texas at El Paso on March 24. The university's Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies, which hosted the event, was established in 2002 and named after the ABC-TV news veteran and alumnus. The Donaldson Center provides academic enrichment for communication majors, and fosters research collaboration with other universities across the world.
The AMC drama Breaking Bad received first place in the primetime drama category of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Sentinel for Health Awards for a storyline about the emotional and financial hardships a man endures while battling terminal lung cancer. The ABC drama Private Practice took first place for a primetime minor storyline on teen sex and sexually transmitted diseases, and ABC’s Desperate Housewives took first place in primetime comedy for a storyline about cancer. Telemundo took home its third Sentinel Award, in the Spanish-language telenovela category, for a construction safety storyline in Pecados Ajenos.
At a September 16 briefing in Washington, D.C., the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study, "How Healthy Is Prime Time?: An Analysis of Health Content in Popular Prime Time Television Programs," co-sponsored by the Norman Lear Center's Hollywood, Health & Society program. The report, available for download here, was written by USC Annenberg Associate Professor Sheila T. Murphy, PhD; Heather J. Hether, MA (ASC); and the Kaiser Family Foundations's Victoria Rideout, MA. It examines three seasons (2004-2006) of top 10-rated primetime scripted shows to measure the prevalence and type of health content on entertainment shows. The analysis reveals that an average of six out of ten episodes (59%) had at least one health storyline.
Hollywood, Health & Society conducted the "Impacting the Health of Millions Through Social Marketing and Entertainment Education: The Power of Narratives workshop" at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for 30 scientists and senior health marketing specialists on July 28-29, 2008. An exceptional group of speakers presented original work, including Dr. Tom Valente, director of USC Masters of Public Health Program; Dr. Shelia Murphy, associate professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication; Dr. Neal Baer, executive producer of Law and Order SVU; Dr. Debra Lieberman, researcher at University of California Santa Barbara; and Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of Hollywood, Health & Society. Due to popular demand, HH&S has been invited to return to CDC to conduct the workshop for an additional 50 participants.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington traveled to the Middle East to present three papers at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Strategic Communication for Behavior Change: Youth Pop Culture, Media and HIV/AIDS conference in Muscat, Oman on July 1-4. Conference participants included four-person national teams made up of a celebrity, a journalist, a young adult "Y-PEER" educator, and a UNFPA staff member from nine Arab countries and key Balkan States.
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? 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.
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. The workshop will discuss the importance of promoting compelling and clear messages on preconception health to women.