Medical scripts to get Hollywood treatment
19 July 2007
A Hollywood organisation that advises TV medical dramas how to accurately portray health issues could be the model for a new Australian centre aimed at improving health and medical information in films and TV shows.
Representatives from All Saints and RPA will join with University of Sydney academics and the director of Hollywood Health and Society to discuss the idea at the Entertainment Education and Public Health in Australia symposium at Sydney University tomorrow.
"Research shows audiences respond better to health information packaged in issues-based entertainment drama than they do to straight 'educational' programs," said Dr Fiona Giles, a convenor of a new Public Health and Media network at Sydney University.
"Since AIDS and many other health issues involve the emotions as well as knowledge, it follows that engaging an audience in a drama around characters they can identify with is crucial to the uptake of information, particularly where it requires behavioural change."
Sydney is the Australian centre for television programming and production, and Sydney University is already renowned for the work of its Centre for Health Promotion, said Dr Giles, a lecturer in media and communications.
"Sydney University is therefore the logical location for a centre to advise script writers, producers and actors. Tentatively titled Centre for Public Health and Media, it would also promote accurate and timely health stories in popular entertainment."
The ABC's Dr Norman Swan will interview Vicki Beck, Director of Hollywood Health and Society, by audio link up at tomorrow's symposium. Other speakers include producers from the shows All Saints and RPA, and Professor Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney's School of Public Health.
What: Entertainment Education & Public Health in Australia Symposium
When: 9.30am- 5pm, Friday 20 July
Where: Darlington Centre Boardroom, University of Sydney
Contact: Kath Kenny
Phone: 02 9351 2261 or 0434 606 100