Let Us Entertain You! And Promote Healthy Lifestyles at the Same Time

Conference on the importance to Americans of public health as the first line of defense against illness and to promote a healthier lifestyle

In 2007, Population Media Center hosted a conference designed to explore the potential of partnerships between the entertainment and public health communities to promote healthy lifestyles. Attendees included representatives from public health research and academic institutions and the entertainment industry. The keynote speaker was Albert Bandura, PhD, professor of psychology at Stanford University.

Population Media Center, based in Shelburne, Vt., works to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, such as serialized dramas on radio and television in which characters serve as role models for positive behavior change.

Key Results:

  • The Entertainment-Public Health Summit took place on May 17, 2007, in Atlanta, Ga. Approximately 100 people attended, chiefly representatives from public health research and academic institutions and the entertainment industry.

    Goals of the conference included:
    • An overarching goal to explore the potential of partnerships between the entertainment and public health communities to promote healthy lifestyles.
    • A second objective that unfolded over the course of the conference: to better inform the public health community about the power inherent in storytelling. As addressed through the conference's panel presentations, examples included:
      • A case study of an HIV storyline in an American soap opera and its impact on television audiences in the United States and Botswana.
      • Communicating with special populations, including children and minority markets.
      • Approaches to evaluating and measuring the impact of entertainment on behavior change.
    • A final goal of creating an ongoing association between the entertainment and public health communities.

The entire conference is viewable through streaming video, online at the website of the Population Media Center.

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