2012 Health Communication, Marketing and Media Conference: Hollywood and Public Health Join Forces

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.”

Buffington’s talk, “Hollywood and Public Health Join Forces,” focused on the CDC’s partnership with Hollywood, Health & Society in inspiring 380 TV health storylines in the last two years, and their impact on viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior. She was joined in the session by Dr. Adam Goldstein of the department of family medicine at the UNC School of Medicine; Morgan Johnson of The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit public health initiative; Nedra Kline Weinreich of the Entertainment Industries Council; and John Parmer of the CDC, who served as moderator.

In her presentation, Buffington described how HH&S harnesses the power of the entertainment industry by helping writers—through briefings and consultations with experts—to create dramatic storytelling that influences audiences to make healthy lifestyle choices. She offered story examples from among the many shows it has worked with, introduced techniques for creating transmedia campaigns using social media sites, and explained how HH&S analyzes TV content and audience demographics through its TV Monitoring Project.