The founding Director of The Norman Lear Center, Martin Kaplan has been Principal Investigator of Hollywood, Health & Society since its inception in 2001. He was associate dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism for 10 years and holds the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media & Society. A Harvard summa cum laude in molecular biology, he has an M.A. in English from Cambridge University where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a doctorate from Stanford in modern thought and literature. He was Vice President Walter Mondale’s chief speechwriter and deputy national campaign manager of Mondale’s 1984 presidential bid. He was vice president of motion picture production at the Walt Disney Studios; as a screenwriter and producer, his credits include “The Distinguished Gentleman,” starring Eddie Murphy, and the screen adaptation of Michael Frayn’s play “Noises Off,” directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
Sandra de Castro Buffington, named one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" in America by Poder Magazine, is director of Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center that leverages the power of the entertainment industry to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities worldwide. Sandra provides resources to leading scriptwriters and producers with the goal of improving the accuracy of health-related storylines on top television programs and films, resulting in more than 550 aired storyline across 91 shows from 35 networks, over the span of three years. She has nearly 30 years of experience working in global health, entertainment education and emergence technologies; 20 years were spent working internationally, and five of those years were spent in residence overseas. Read more. Contact her at email@example.com.
Erica Rosenthal is the Research Specialist for the Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S) program at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, where she evaluates the impact of health-related television storylines on viewers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behavior, and manages the HH&S TV Monitoring Project. An applied research professional specializing in research design and quantitative analysis, Erica's interests center around the social-cognitive mechanisms underlying the influence of media messages. Her dissertation research, for which she received the Arthur Brayfield Outstanding Dissertation Award, examined the role of emotion-based messages in relation to media literacy approaches. She has also conducted research on the “digital divide” in obtaining health information online and the effects of stereotypical portrayals in reality television. Erica has nearly ten years of experience designing and implementing evaluation studies in the education, health, and human services domains. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Claremont Graduate University (CGU), and a B.A. in psychobiology (concentration in women’s studies) from Swarthmore College. Contact Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Dzialo is the Transmedia Specialist for the Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S) program at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, where he serves as a resource for television writers and new media creators producing accurate and timely health-related storylines and experiences. He holds a PhD in film and media studies with an emphasis in global studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s degree in critical studies from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His dissertation expands the practice of film and media interpretation and reception by examining and taking lessons from medical diagnosis, narrative medicine, and entertainment education. Previously, Chris studied production at Boston University and gained experience in both the London and Hollywood film industries. Contact Chris at email@example.com.
Armine Kourouyan is a program coordinator for the Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S) program at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. She has experience working at the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, specializing in risk communication, where she worked to teach public health professionals how to effectively communicate risk to the public and media in the event of an emergency or disaster. She has a background in entertainment education through her work with The Media Project, a program of Advocates for Youth, providing the entertainment industry with the latest facts, research, and script consultations on sexual and reproductive health issues for adolescents. Armine holds a Master of Public Health from UCLA, from the department of Community Health Sciences. She received a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and is certified as a Community Health Education Specialist (CHES). Contact Armine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sylvia Estafan is a program specialist for the Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S) program at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. Sylvia worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where she led workforce development for the department's health education staff and planned county-wide campaigns. In her position, she also served on the communications branch of the Department Operations Center, where she was mobilized during public health emergencies to craft health education messaging for the community. She worked as a sexual health educator at both UC Berkeley and Berkeley High School Health Center, where she conducted community outreach and clinical health education. Sylvia holds a Master of Public Health from UCLA in Community Health Sciences, with an emphasis in health education. She received a B.S. in Sociology from UC Berkeley. Contact her at email@example.com.
Kate comes to Hollywood Health and Society after working for over twenty years in the entertainment education field. After an early career in television and music production/management, Kate joined the Scott Newman Center as Director of Special Projects. There, she worked with top TV shows and films on issues of alcohol and other substance abuse. Later, she spent nearly ten years as Director of the Media Project, a partnership of Advocates for Youth and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which addressed portrayals of adolescent reproductive health in the media. In 2001 she lead Nightingale Entertainment, an independent consulting firm working with foundations and national non-profits including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Planned Parenthood Federation of America on entertainment education and celebrity involvement in national media campaigns. She now joins Hollywood Health and Society as Program Manager working on health outreach. Kate speaks fluent Spanish, holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Denver, and a master's degree in education from UCLA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Rose is Program Manager for the new Climate Change Initiative of the Lear Center's Hollywood, Health & Society program. Matthew joined HH&S from the U.S. National Park Service Climate Change Program in Colorado where he led a greening initiative; he later collaborated with the Global Business Network and the Monitor Group to develop a simple method for communicating climate change science using storytelling and scenarios. Matthew holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University, a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Richmond, and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional. Contact Matthew at email@example.com
Russell DeVita is the web editor and writer for Hollywood, Health & Society at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. In addition, he oversees all social media outreach for HH&S and designs its communication publications. Before joining the Lear Center, he worked as a graphic designer, award-winning magazine art director and journalist, and spent several years as an editor, writer and designer at the Los Angeles Times, where he was part of an editorial team that shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. He holds a BA in journalism from SUNY College at Buffalo, and a BFA from Art Center College of Design. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle Mengxiao Xiao
Michelle Mengxiao Xiao is the Program Assistant for the Hollywood, Health & Society program at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. A recent graduate of the University of Southern California Annenberg School, Michelle earned her Master's degree in Communication Management, with an emphasis on Health and Social Change Communication. She joined HH&S as a research intern during her last year at USC. Her study and research focused on the entertainment media's impact on people's attitudes towards public health and ethical consumerism issues. Michelle also holds a B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University, and has previously worked in the translation industry. Contact Michelle at email@example.com