Neal Baer and the Storybus Tour
The new issue of Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America, West, has a good profile of Dr. Neal Baer, which talks about his advocacy for social change and his role in creating the Storybus Tour, the signature program of Hollywood, Health & Society that helps entertainment industry writers find inspiration on the streets of Los Angeles and all over the world.
Baer, who’s co-chair of HH&S, is a Harvard-trained pediatrician and the writer-producer of ER, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and A Gifted Man. On a recent story tour, he was joined by HH&S Director Sandra de Castro Buffington and a busload of writers, health researchers and producers to explore how the environment affects the health of community residents in South Los Angeles and along the 710 Freeway corridor. Baer was in his element, telling the assembled about the power of storytelling.
From the magazine piece, which was written by Louise Farr:
"When you go yourself and see the story, you take away something more,” Baer said, standing at the front of the bus and speaking through a PA system as the vehicle navigated potholes and sharp corners. ... All of it became merely another day out of a life Baer has spent helping to illuminate the otherwise hidden worlds of medicine, disease, and poverty.
In a sidebar to the story, Buffington, who’s made a big part of her mission at HH&S to bring writers and producers together to explore new worlds—whether in Los Angeles or farther afield in India and South Africa—talked about the role of Hollywood, Health & Society to "inspire" writers and her working relationship with Baer:
“No matter what I pitch to Neal, he thinks all the ideas are great, and he says let's make it bigger. ...We simply need to bring [writers] the most exotic stories we can, related to health and climate change, and they take it from there.”