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.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington traveled to the Netherlands to deliver a presentation on TV health storylines June 21 at a communications workshop held at the University of Amsterdam. Buffington’s address, “Is Hollywood Good for Our Health? Inspiring Hollywood’s Scriptwriters to Craft and Air Over 200 Compelling TV Health Storylines in 2011,” was presented as part of a workshop about using stories to make communication more entertaining and effective. The event was organized by StoryNet and the Amsterdam School of Communication Research.
Hollywood, Health & Society took top entertainment industry writers and producers to get a look at what a ZIP code reveals about someone's health. From the St. John's Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles, with its mission of quality medical care and efforts to improve tenants' housing conditions, to the communities along the 710 Freeway corridor threatened by toxic waste and pollution, the Storybus Tour participants were given a first-hand look by visiting sites and listening to activists and organizers working on the front lines for change.
Hollywood, Health and Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington delivered a special briefing at the Roybal Campus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on May 22, exploring strategies, case studies and best practices used to incorporate public health messages into television storylines. On March 23, Buffington was the guest speaker at a HIV/AIDS presentation sponsored by the Prevention Communication Branch of CDC, where she talked about "Stories That Change Lives: Increasing Accuracy in TV Storylines and Measuring Impact on Viewers."