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Entertaining Health: The Power of TV Storytelling

With Kate Folb

Thursday, April 28, 2022 | 7:00 p.m.

In this presentation Kate Folb, Director of Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), will share how the organization works with the entertainment industry to ensure accuracy in depictions of health, safety and security. Clips of popular shows with which HH&S has consulted will be shown and discussed.  Research on the impact of these storylines will also be explored.

Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the Norman Lear Center at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, was created in 2001 to improve the quality and quantity of health storylines in TV, film and digital media. In recent years, the program has expanded its scope to include issues related to health, safety and security. HH&S provides television writers with free, on-demand access to subject-matter experts to inform and shape storylines as they are being created. Through its existing “hotline,” HH&S responds to hundreds of inquiries from content creators annually. The program is supported by a diverse range of philanthropic and public-sector funders, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The California Health Care Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the John Pritzker Family Fund and the SCAN Foundation.

Kate Langrall Folb, M.Ed., is director of Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), the flagship program of the University of Southern California Annenberg School Norman Lear Center, and a veteran for more than 20 years in the entertainment education field. At HH&S, she leads a team of public health and media professionals to connect entertainment content creators with experts in health, medicine, science, safety and security to ensure accuracy in their depictions. Her team also conducts research on the impact of TV storylines on viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. After an early career in television and music production, Kate joined the Scott Newman Foundation as director of special projects where she worked with top TV shows and films on portrayals of alcohol and other substance abuse, developed a media literacy program for middle and high school students and produced the foundation’s annual public service announcements (PSAs). Later, she served as director of The Media Project, a partnership of Advocates for Youth and the Kaiser Family Foundation, working with entertainment on storylines about HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy prevention, condom use and sex education. She also produced the annual SHINE Awards for sexual health in entertainment and developed a cutting-edge media campaign for Viacom to normalize condom use and encourage healthy relationships. From 2001-2012 Kate led Nightingale Entertainment, an independent consulting firm garnering celebrity involvement, producing PSAs and coordinating national media events for a variety of health-related causes. She joined Hollywood, Health & Society in July of 2012. Kate speaks fluent Spanish, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver, and a master’s degree in education from UCLA.