Cinema, television, and interactive games influence the public’s expectations, beliefs, and knowledge about health and healthcare in both passive and active ways. While health professionals may use these media to influence health behaviors or to disseminate research findings, viewers may also develop their beliefs based on content in media intended purely for entertainment purposes. The course will largely examine material that transmits health information inadvertently because so many health issues provide strong and compelling story lines both nationally and internationally. However we will also view entertainment education material that is more conscious with its health messages and seeks to influence viewers to change opinions and behaviors. We will examine the intersections of media and health from multiple perspectives including public health, media production, critical studies, cultural studies, communications and visual culture studies.
This course focuses on the ways in which entertainment media provide information about health and influence health behaviors.