Director: Jay A. Winsten, Ph.D., Frank Stanton Center Director and Associate Dean for Health Communication

A key challenge facing health professionals is to mobilize the power of mass communication to empower individuals to adopt healthy behaviors, to direct policy makers’ attention to important health issues, and to frame those issues for public debate and resolution. To address this challenge, the Center for Health Communication has helped pioneer the field of mass communication and public health by researching and analyzing the contributions of mass communication to behavior change and policy, by preparing future health leaders to utilize communication strategies, and by strengthening communication between journalists and health professionals.

New Initiatives

Preventing Distracted Driving
The Center has pioneered the development of health communication campaigns, starting 25 years ago when it launched the U.S. Designated Driver Campaign in collaboration with Hollywood studios and TV networks. The Center now is developing a U.S. campaign to prevent injuries and fatalities resulting from distracted driving.

Rick Scott, Joe Sanchez

The Center in collaboration with The Huffington Post produced the month-long — November 2013 — series “Road To Nowhere” to draw attention to the dangers of texting while driving and asked:
How We Can Begin To Curb The Distracted Driving Epidemic?

April 2014 marks the first-ever National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched U Drive. U Text. U Pay. national ad campaign.

Recent Events


Presented by The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
in collaboration with The Huffington Post

April 28, 2014: The Honorable Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Jay Winsten, Frank Stanton Director of the Center for Health Communication at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Associate Dean for Health Communication
MODERATOR:  Lance Gould, Executive Special Projects Editor, The Huffington Post

Read The Huffington Post Op/Ed by Jay Winsten

Center Initiatives

driverThe Center’s best-known initiative, the Harvard Alcohol Project, demonstrated how a new social concept — the designated driver — could be rapidly introduced through mass communication, promoting a new social norm that the driver does not drink. The project represents the first large-scale effort to incorporate health messages within the dialogue of Hollywood scripts.

World Health News
was an online news digest that serves as a resource on critical public health issues around the world for an international audience of policy makers, journalists, and public health researchers, practitioners, and advocates.


National Mentoring Month, launched in January 2002, is an annual month-long campaign which includes a combination of national media, local media, and extensive community outreach.

chc-squash“Squash It!” Campaign to Prevent Youth Violence, seeks to reinforce and validate decisions by young people to disengage from potentially violent confrontations, promote positive alternatives to violence, and empower young people by providing a platform to express their views on violence prevention.


Other Recent Events

Pop Culture, Politics & Public Health Lunchtime Talk with CAA's Darnell Strom
Darnell Strom is an executive at CAA Foundation — the philanthropic arm of Hollywood’s leading entertainment and sports agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA).  The Foundation’s mission is to mobilize popular culture to create positive social change.
(Click image for Citizen University video)

RewireHow to Be a Global Citizen in the Internet Age
A leading digital visionary and activist, Ethan Zuckerman is director of the MIT Center for Civic Media; a principal research scientist at the MIT Media Lab; and a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
(Click image for Berkman Center video)


svuHollywood and Health: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling

Television Executive Producer and Writer, Neal Baer, M.D. (HMS ’96) — promoting health through story-telling.

Recent Projects

EnglishCOVERPage Eat Well Stay Active Have Fun: A Guide for Mentors
Provides information and guidance on how to make healthy eating and physical activity natural parts of the mentor-mentee relationship.

Now available in Spanish.

Other Center projects
involve exploring policy options to curb domestic violence; researching the use of cause-related marketing strategies for health promotion; using mass media strategies to improve early childhood immunization and to curb teen pregnancy; and examining the relationship between science, technology, and the media.

The New Media, Social Networking, and Public Health lunchtime seminar series featured guest speakers from the commercial media and nonprofit sectors.

The Harvard Parenting Project consolidated and disseminated research findings about parenting issues on behalf of the media, policy makers, practitioners, advocates, educators, community leaders, and parents. The Project has produced two reports, Raising Teens (2001) and The Role of the Mass Media in Parenting Education (1997).

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health–MetLife Foundation Initiative on Retirement and Civic Engagement aims to change public attitudes toward aging and motivate baby boomers and retirees to engage in community service. Reinventing Aging: Baby Boomers and Civic Engagement, spotlights key issues that must be addressed to involve large numbers of boomers in strengthening community life.