Jay A. Winsten, Ph.D., is an Associate Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Frank Stanton Director of the School’s Center for Health Communication. The Center’s mission is to mobilize the immense power of mass communication to motivate positive behavior change. The Center’s best known initiative, The Harvard Alcohol Project, demonstrated how a new social concept – the designated driver – could be rapidly diffused through society via mass communication, promoting a new social norm that the driver does not drink. In 1993, the Center created the “Squash It!” campaign to Prevent Youth Violence to reinforce and validate decisions by young people to disengage from potentially violent confrontations. In 1997, the Center launched the Harvard Mentoring Project, a national media campaign to promote the growth of the mentoring movement with the goal of linking large numbers of young people with adult mentors. The Center’s newest initiative is the Harvard School of Public Health–MetLife Foundation Initiative on Retirement and Civic Engagement. This national media campaign contributes to a process of reshaping societal attitudes toward aging, reframing current images of aging, encouraging older boomers to participate in civic life, and promoting healthy aging. The Center also sponsors World Health News, a weekly online news digest for an international audience of policy makers, journalists, and public health researchers, practitioners, and advocates.
Jay Winsten received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from The Johns Hopkins University and conducted cancer research at Harvard Medical School. At the Harvard School of Public Health, he served as co-editor, along with Nobel laureate James D. Watson and Howard Hiatt, of a three-volume Origins of Human Cancer; conducted a three-year study examining how news coverage of science and health is shaped by economic, organizational, and professional incentives in journalism; headed the School’s Office of Health Policy Information, a resource for journalists and policy makers; and served as the Harvard School of Public Health’s director of foundation and government relations.