Global Collaborations Among Media, Governments, Public Health Groups Have Become Powerful Health Communications Tool, USA Today Reports
Collaborations among media companies, governments and public health groups have "turned the entertainment industries on several continents into one of the most powerful public health communications tools of the 21st century," USA Today reports (Sternberg, USA Today, 8/8). One such collaboration, the Global Media AIDS Initiative, was established in January 2004 at a media leaders meeting and conceived of and organized by UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation after a call-to-action by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for world media leaders to use communication resources to help address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Bill Roedy, chair of the initiative's leadership committee and vice chair of MTV Networks, in June said GMAI has assembled more than 130 media companies in 69 countries to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS MTV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/5). Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that more than 10 years ago "we did survey after survey showing the media were the No. 1 source of medical information in this country and around the world, especially for young people." A number of HIV-positive people and HIV/AIDS advocates are planning to meet Sept. 13 with producers and writers of shows on CBS and the CW Network, USA Today reports. This upcoming meeting "reflects a broad shift in the way health experts convey information to the American public on a range of diseases, particularly AIDS," and health information now often is "embedded" in TV programs and other media outlets "in much the same way that marketers prominently place products" on broadcast media, USA Today reports. These "entertainment education" networks, which include "big players" like Viacom with its cable outlets MTV and BET, also go beyond traditional television and radio, USA Today reports. "The goal is not to be TV-centric, but to get the message out through the Internet, texting and mobile TV -- in certain parts of the world mobile TV is racing," said Roedy. In addition, CDC supports collaborations with the entertainment industry, including a $300,000 grant given to the University of Southern California's Norman Lear Center for Hollywood, Health and Society.
GMAI participants and actor and HIV/AIDS advocate Richard Gere plan to highlight many new media partnerships at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, which begins on Sunday, USA Today reports. At the Toronto conference, MTV International will conduct a competition called "fortyeightfest," in which eight young filmmaking teams are given two days to write and produce short HIV/AIDS-awareness films to be judged at the conference, USA Today reports. In addition, MTV will film a documentary with a celebrity host on the competition and air it on its networks, according to USA Today (USA Today, 8/8).
Kaisernetwork.org will serve as official webcaster of the conference and will webcast the media partnerships session with GMAI and Gere. Sign up now to receive free daily e-mail updates during the conference at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006.
The XVI International AIDS Conference program is available online.