Notable Quotes

The following list of notable quotes was compiled by Jay A. Winsten as part of Highlights From the First Thirty-Five Years. To request the original PDF, contact the Center for the History of Medicine. 


Harvard Alcohol Project: Designated Driver Campaign

The New York Times, Front Page, August 31, 1988:

 “The three major television networks and the Hollywood studios that produce most of their programming are joining in a coordinated attack against drinking and driving that will include dialogue in popular entertainment shows as well as public-service advertising…The Harvard Alcohol Project, as the cooperative effort is called, is intended ‘to model a new social norm.’  While there have been informal attempts in the past to coordinate advertising and entertainment programming, ‘there has never been anything this organized,’ said Grant Tinker, former chairman of NBC.”

U.S. News & World Report, September 12, 1988:

“It may be first time since ‘Love Story’ that Harvard and Hollywood have teamed up on anything.”

The New York Times, EDITORIAL, January 17, 1989:

“[T]he Harvard Alcohol Project and the television industry have been trying to combat drunken driving by promoting the designated driver concept. Both partners deserve credit for the effort…Jay Winsten, director of the Harvard Alcohol Project, persuaded the three big television networks to produce and air public service announcements pushing the idea of the designated driver, the member of a group at a party who purposely abstains so that he can safely drive his drinking friends home. Last fall, in a new phase of the project, Mr. Winsten won commitments from producers of at least 30 prime time entertainment programs to write into their scripts dialogue promoting the designated driver. By one estimate, the television industry has given $100 million of airtime to the designated-driver idea because of the Harvard project. Lives have probably been saved; consciousness has surely been raised.”

The New York Times, September 11, 1989:

“Originally, Mr. Winsten considered approaching the networks in the traditional way, seeking free public-service announcements for his campaign. But Frank Stanton, the former president of CBS, who is a member of advisory board for the Center for Health Communications at Harvard, suggested that a message would have far more effect if it could be placed into the programs themselves. After a year of working on the campaign, Mr. Winsten is convinced that Mr. Stanton was right. 'The audience is connected to the subject matter,' he said. 'They're engaged in the dramatic development. They identify with the characters. And if a character has a commitment to a message, it's far more effective than a talking head lecturing you in a public-service announcement.'”                                              

The New York Times, May 27, 1990:

“Dr. Winsten has become a familiar figure to virtually every producer in town, prodding them to be careful about how they portray drinking in general and specifically asking for help in pointing out the perils of drinking and driving…’They are extremely effective lobbyists,’ said [Caryn] Mandabach of Carsey Werner about the Harvard Alcohol Project. ‘They have a way of making you feel really bad if you don’t get involved.’“

The New York Times, December 20, 1990:

“President [George H.W.] Bush will join the three major television networks and most of Hollywood’s major television producers this week in urging Americans to prevent traffic deaths by having drinkers designate a sober person to drive them home after holiday parties…Mr. Bush taped the spots at the behest of the Harvard Alcohol Project, a campaign by the Harvard School of Public Health.”

Policy Guidelines, U.S. Office for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1989:

“Materials recommending a designated driver should be rated unacceptable. They encourage heavy alcohol use by implying that it is okay to drink to intoxication as long as you don't drive.” (Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, 1989.  Prevention Plus II: Tools for Creating & Sustaining Drug-Free Communities (DHHS Publication No. (ADM)89-1649), pg. 392. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.)

USA Today, August 13, 1991:

“For the first time, Random House’s new Webster’s College Dictionary includes the definition of ‘designated driver’.

Los Angeles Times, February 23, 1992:

“Q. What are the most important health measures that you would like to deliver to all Americans?

A. U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop: “Stop smoking. Don’t drink if you have a problem with it. And for those who don’t have a problem, drink only in controlled moderation. The best thing that could happen in that area is an absolute commitment to the designated driver.”

[Martha’s] Vineyard Gazette, July 3, 1992:

“The Harvard University School of Public Health came to the Vineyard in the summer of 1990 to plant the seed of a life-saving idea. The team called itself the Harvard Alcohol Project, and its intent was nothing less than to change a community's social norms: Specifically, the goal was to plant the idea that driving after drinking Is a tragic mistake, and to build acceptance for the new role of the designated driver.”

Letter to J. Winsten from Walter Annenberg, former U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, March 31, 1992:

“Because the Princess of Wales is going to be speaking in Glasgow during the month of August at The 36th Annual International Congress on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, I have written her and sent all the material you sent me, urging that she consider getting into the subject of the "designated driver" during her remarks at the Congress. My wife joins me in saluting you for this practical thought.”

J. Winsten letter to Patrick Jephson, private secretary to HRH Princess Diana,  September 17, 1992:

“I am deeply indebted to you for having made it possible for me to be received by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales last month in Glasgow. The program proposal that I described to Her Royal Highness at that time is summarized in the enclosed [document] …I want to thank you as well for the valuable insights and guidance that you shared with me over lunch in London. It was a great pleasure to meet you. I hope that we will have the opportunity to work together on the development of the proposed program.”

P. Jephson letter to J. Winsten, May 17, 1993:

“Sorry to have been off the air for a while. Life has been quite busy here, not least with considering the implications of the information you kindly let me have by telephone a couple of weekends ago. Though naturally disappointed, I'm sure it is best to be circumspect when dealing with the diverse range of interests about which you told me. I hope there may yet be ways in which we can take what I think remains a most worthwhile idea forward. Timing however is plainly all important…Do call me when next you are over—your education in English pubs is surely not yet complete!”

Joint Policy Statement, Center [previously Office] for Substance Abuse Prevention and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1993:

"By encouraging drivers to remain alcohol-free, the designated driver [concept] both promotes a social norm of not mixing alcohol with driving and fosters the legitimacy of the non-drinking role. . . The use of designated drivers by the public and designated driver programs by servers of alcoholic beverages is encouraged for those over age 21.” [Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 1993. Statement on Designated Drivers. Rockville, MD: US DHHS, CSAP]

U.S. Senate Sub-Committee Hearing, 1994:

 QUESTION, Senator Lautenberg: Is the Office of Substance Abuse and Prevention (OSAP) issuing safety messages that are in conflict with those issued by NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]?

ANSWER, NHTSA: NHTSA and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) , formerly the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP) , have been working closely together to develop a joint Designated Driver statement. Both agencies have concluded that the designated driver concept promotes a social norm of not mixing alcohol with driving and fosters the legitimacy of the non-drinking role. The agencies agree that the use of designated drivers by the public and designated driver programs by servers of alcoholic beverages is encouraged for those over age 21. (United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Appropriations, Department of Transportation and related agencies appropriations for fiscal year 1994 : hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, on H.R. 2490/2750 ... (Volume Pt. 3, Page 2137)

James W. Dearing, Everett M. Rogers, 1996:

“The Harvard Alcohol Project has implications for agenda-setting research. Entertainment media and advertising (such as the PSAs for the designated driver concept) can play a role in agenda-setting, along with the news media. Past communication research has looked only at the amount of news coverage given an issue. Further, Jay Winsten's designated driver campaign suggests that a media advocate working as an issue proponent can boost an issue up the media agenda, especially if the advocate has a marketable “product” (in this case, the designated driver concept), knows powerful people, and has several hundred thousand dollars to spend.” [James W. Dearing, Everett M. Rogers, Agenda Setting, SAGE, Aug 28, 1996]

Report to U.S. Department of Education, 1996:

The most common criticism leveled against the designated driver concept is that it might encourage or give tacit approval to high-risk drinking by the driver's companions. Critics also argue that the designated driver concept might undermine a strong no-use message for underage youth, since messages to promote the idea cannot be targeted narrowly to adults over age 21…Recent research suggests that…[t]he use of designated drivers is associated with non-driving students drinking excessively, but only to a limited extent. This is far outweighed by the number of students who normally binge drink but do not do so when they serve as the designated driver.” (Guide for Program Coordinators. Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, Mass.; Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, Newton, MA. U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC.ED/OP-95-14; ISBN-0-16-048439-1[96]).

W. DeJong and R. Hingson, Annual Review of Public Health, 1998:

Despite its widespread public acceptability and use, the designated driver strategy has been criticized by some public health advocates. One of their chief concerns has been that having a designated driver might encourage excessive drinking by the driver’s passengers...[but] recent data from a national study of college student drinking suggest that the designated driver campaign is having a net beneficial effect. A representative national sample of over 17,000 four-year college students completed questionnaires in 1993. Among drinkers, those who had consumed alcohol in the past year, 36% (4746 students) said they served as a designated driver in the past 30 days. Of these, 40% (1908) said they usually binge drink but did not do so the last time they served as the designated driver, with the vast majority either abstaining or having one drink. Among drinkers, 37% (4676 students) reported riding with a designated driver in the past 30 days. Of these, 22% (1031) said they did not usually binge drink but did so the last time they had a designated driver, because of having one or more extra drinks...On balance, these findings provide strong evidence of a sharp drop in the number of impaired drivers on the road as a consequence of the usage of designated drivers. (W. DeJong, R. Hingson, Strategies to Reduce Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Annual Review of Public Health, 1998.19:359–78).

Patrick O’Malley and Lloyd D. Johnston, American Journal of Public Health, 1999:

“The rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities declined substantially between 1984 and 1992; the rate of decline slowed noticeably after 1992. These trends correspond closely with the observed declines in self-reported drinking and driving by high school seniors. Both indicators accord with broader societal events, including the substantial national attention given to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving efforts (which peaked around 1984), the increases in minimum drinking ages (which occurred primarily between 1984 and 1987), and the national campaign for ‘designated drivers’ (which occurred primarily between 1989 and 1992).” (Patrick O’Malley and Lloyd D. Johnston, “Drinking and Driving Among U.S, High School Seniors, 1984-1997,” American Journal of Public Health, May 1999, Volume 89, Number 5, p. 684.) 

Arvind Singhal and Everett M. Rogers, University of California, San Francisco, 1999:

“The Harvard Alcohol Project represents a rare case in which the effects of a Hollywood lobbyist’s activities were evaluated.” (Arvind Singhal and Everett M. Rogers, Entertainment-Education: A Communication Strategy for Social Change (1999))

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health, 2000:

“The use of designated drivers has been widely promoted in the United States since 1988, when Jay Winsten at the Harvard School of Public Health initiated a national campaign with the television industry. For 6 years, more than 160 prime-time U.S. television networks, with audiences of 45 million people, showed subplots, scenes, and dialogue in their regular programs as well as 30- and 60-minute episodes supporting the designated driver campaign. The major networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS, also aired public service messages promoting the designated driver concept (Winsten 1994).  Two Roper Organization surveys (1991) showed strong recognition and acceptance of the concept: 93 percent of Americans thought the use of designated drivers was an excellent or good idea, and 46 percent of drinkers reported being a designated driver in 1991 versus only 35 percent in 1987. However, recent national surveys (Voas et al. 1997c) revealed a drop from 42 percent in 1993 to 39 percent in 1995 in the percentage of drivers 16 through 64 years of age who said they had been a designated driver. Whether this change reflects reductions in drinking is not clear. In 1996, the National Roadside Survey stopped drivers at 211 locations in 24 cities or counties on weekend nights, when drinking is most likely to occur. Of the 6,480 drivers stopped, nearly all of whom were breath tested, 24.7 percent reported being designated drivers (Fell et al. 1997). This is a sharp increase from 5 percent who were self-reported designated drivers in a similar survey in 1986 (Lund and Wolfe 1991). In the 1996 study, most of the designated drivers (82 percent) had BAC’s between zero and 0.02 percent. In all, about a third of designated drivers consumed some alcohol before driving, but most (95 percent) remained at BAC’s below the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Also of note in this study, a far greater proportion of non- designated drivers left bars with BAC’s of greater than 0.10 percent, compared with designated drivers (8.0 percent of non-designated drivers vs. 1.5 percent of designated drivers).”

Report to: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, September 2001:

“Canadian reductions in youth drinking and driving, measured both by fatal crash data and by surveys, followed virtually the same pattern as in the United States. But the Canadian reduction was not due to laws directed at youth: the drinking age did not change during this time, and zero tolerance laws were implemented after the reduction had occurred. This means that the changes must have resulted from some combination of the difficult-to-assess educational and motivational programs and from other factors outside of traffic safety. This conclusion suggests that a substantial portion of the reduction in the United States also resulted from these same causes.” (J.H. Hedlund, R.G. Ulmer and D.F. Preusser, Determine Why There Are Fewer Young Alcohol-Impaired Drivers, DOT HS 809 348 FINAL REPORT, September 2001)

Report: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004:

“The Harvard Alcohol Project’s National Designated Driver Campaign, developed by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication, is widely considered to be the first successful effort to partner with the Hollywood community to promote health messages in prime-time programming. During the 1988–1992 TV seasons, more than 160 prime time shows, such as The Cosby Show, Cheers, and L.A. Law, included subplots, scenes, dialogue, and even entire half-hour or hour-long episodes devoted to the campaign theme. By 1990, public opinion polls indicated that 9 in 10 adults (89%), and virtually all (97%) young adults 18–24 were familiar with the designated driver concept and rated it favorably. In 1991, the term “designated driver” was included in the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. (Issue Brief: Entertainment Education and Health in the United States, Spring 2004, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).

Report: USC Norman Lear Center and the Council for Excellence in Government, 2004:

“The earliest large-scale effort to mobilize the Hollywood entertainment community, the Harvard Alcohol Project was launched in November 1988, spearheaded by the Harvard School of Public Health Center for Health Communication. The goal of the campaign, based on Social Learning Theory, was to change social norms with regard to drinking and driving. Three distinct social norms were promoted: ‘If you choose to drink (reinforcing social legitimacy of nondrinking), drink only in moderation (addressed to the driver’s companions) and choose a designated driver who doesn’t drink at all (promoting the norm that no drinking is acceptable before driving).’…The campaign was endorsed by renowned leaders in virtually every professional field in the country.” (How Pro-Social Messages Make Their Way Into Entertainment Programming: A Final Report of the Media, Citizens & Democracy Project, a joint project of The Norman Lear Center and the Council for Excellence in Government, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (2004).

Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University, 2004:

“Whatever the initial resistance to their ideas, individuals like Albert Einstein or Charles Darwin, Carol Gilligan or Judith Rich Harris, Marcel Proust or Martha Graham, come to exert an influence on a wide audience. Their names become known; their ideas spread, with or without public awareness of the identity of their creators. Still, initially, these creative individuals are directing their efforts to an audience that is limited, domain-restricted, indisputably expert, essentially homogeneous. Darwin had to convince the biologists, Freud the psychologists… When it comes to the commercial sphere, however, such limited audiences are neither necessary nor desirable. Individuals who invent a product or develop a new policy seek from the outset to reach the widest possible public, to change the minds of millions. The story of Jay Winsten is a good case in point. A professor at Harvard's School of Public Health, Jay Winsten is an ‘indirect’ leader who has marshaled the media to bring about social change on a large scale. Through his creative use of the resources available to him and through ‘representational redescription’, Winsten has helped to bring about large-scale changes in public attitudes and behaviors. His primary resource? The producers of leading television shows and mass-market films. Winsten convinced these media experts that it would be possible to include redeeming social messages in their cinematic or video presentations.” (Howard Gardner, Changing Minds : The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People's Minds, Harvard Business School Press, 2004.)

Journal of Health Communication (2010):

“The project reported here was initiated in 1996 by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in collaboration with the California Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch. The original mandate for the project was to raise popular awareness of immunization and influence cultural norms in a way similar to the Harvard Alcohol Project Designated Driver program (Winsten, 1994) by infusing certain prime-time and daytime shows with messages about the importance of immunization.” [Deborah Glik , Emil Berkanovic , Kathleen Stone , Leticia Ibarra , Marcy Connell Jones , Bob Rosen , Myrl Schreibman , Lisa Gordon , Laura Minassian & Darcy Richardes (1998) Health Education Goes Hollywood: Working with Prime-Time and Daytime Entertainment Television for Immunization Promotion, Journal of Health Communication, 3:3, 263-282, DOI: 10.1080/108107398127364]

[Journal of] Traffic Injury Prevention, 2014:

The 2007 National Roadside Survey (NRS) “randomly stopped drivers, administered breath tests for alcohol, and administered a questionnaire to drivers and front seat passengers… When comparing the results of the 2007 NRS with those of the 1996 NRS, we found that, in 2007, 30% of nighttime drivers reported being a designated driver, whereas in 1996, 25% of nighttime drivers reported doing so (Fell, 1997). In 2007, 84% of nighttime designated drivers registered a BAC of zero, an increase of 2 percentage points over the 1996 NRS results. These results suggest that the concept of designated driving remained popular over the decade from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s and that the majority of designated drivers heed the advice to remain alcohol free.” (Gwen Bergen, Jie Yao, Ruth A Shults, Eduardo Romano, John H Lacey, Characteristics of designated drivers and their passengers from the 2007 National Roadside Survey in the United States, Traffic Injury Prevention 2014;15(3):273-7.)

Norman Lear, renowned TV producer (All in the Family) and co-founder, Environmental Media Association, 2015:

“The logline for the episode is quintessential Happy Days: “Richie goes to a local college and Fonzie takes him to the library to meet some girls.” For a sitcom in the 70s, this is standard stuff, but what happens after this episode airs on September 27, 1977 is far from standard. Millions of kids watching the show see the Fonz take out a library card — his first, mind you, which is a big deal by Happy Days standards. Younger viewers are duly impressed. In the days that follow, according to the series creator, Garry Marshall, requests for library cards zoom by more than 500% nationwide.

“Dissolve to eleven years later. Dr. Jay Winsten, director of The Harvard Alcohol Project, comes to Hollywood with a new idea: the “designated driver.” Winsten meets with writers and producers of The Cosby Show, Cheers, LA Law and dozens of other prime time series. He asks them to incorporate story beats that will introduce this new concept to the drinking public. The TV community responds, and starting in November 1988, over 160 prime time episodes include subplots, scenes, or dialogue telling viewers it’s okay to party as long as someone stays sober for the drive home. One year later, a Gallup poll finds 67% of adults surveyed recognize the term “designated driver.” In 1991, Winsten’s new idea is a listing in Webster’s College Dictionary.

“The following year, the Environmental Media Association applies Winsten’s technique for a campaign on recycling. EMA asks TV shows to depict recycling on camera to convey that this can be a simple, routine behavior in any American household… EMA has been working with prime-time TV series since 1989. We provide accurate information when stories deal with environmental issues, and we encourage writers to address this subject whenever possible — but never at the expense of story, character, or the entertainment value of the episode. Our annual Environmental Media Awards recognize programs that convey environmental messages in the most entertaining and creative ways, because we understand a critical fact: if the audience isn’t entertained, they won’t stay around for any message.” [Excerpted from Environmental Media Association (EMA) historical timeline. ]

Harvard Business School Case Study: Jay Winsten and the Designated Driver Campaign, Howard Koh and Pamela Yatsko, Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, President and Fellows of Harvard College, March 6, 2017.

“The international export of popular U.S. television series carrying the designated driver message helped to propagate widespread diffusion of the designated driver concept, as did international press coverage of the U.S. Designated Driver Campaign. In continental Europe, traffic safety agencies in sixteen countries, starting with Belgium in 1995, launched designated driver campaigns in conjunction with nonprofit and industry partners. In the U.K., the Coca-Cola Company joined with the British government in a highly publicized campaign that offered free nonalcoholic drinks to designated drivers in pubs and restaurants, crediting the Harvard Alcohol Project as the campaign’s inspiration. Many of these campaigns were still ongoing in 2022. Designated driver initiatives also were launched in Australia, New Zealand, and (more recently) China.”

James C. Fell,, Journal of Safety Research, 2020:

Between 1982 and 1997, effective DUI laws were adopted by most of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a result, the proportion of traffic fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver decreased during that time period and in subsequent years. One reason for this change was that alcohol consumption per capita decreased. Another important reason was the rise in the social acceptance and use of designated drivers in the 1980s and early 1990s. (James C. Fell, Jennifer Scolese, Tom Achoki, Courtney Burks, Allison Goldberg, William DeJong, The effectiveness of alternative transportation programs in reducing impaired driving: A literature review and synthesis. Journal of Safety Research 75 (2020) 128-139.)

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review, 2020:

“Winsten wanted to involve the biggest players reaching the largest audiences. He knew none of them. He used classic networking principles: find people who know people; every contact leads to another; and don’t ask too much from any single contact. Winsten went outside his home base to knock on doors in New York, Los Angeles, and wherever media influence was found. He built a wide circle of support from Hollywood moguls, television networks, advertising agencies, the press, and politicians. He improvised, seizing opportunities. Winsten told his story to a top advertising executive who happened to be in the next seat on a flight to New York; she offered to provide her agency’s services pro bono, which resulted in the Designated Driver Campaign’s widely praised poster and slogan. He dined at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s famed Spago restaurant in Hollywood and approached Puck and his then-wife, co-owner Barbara Lazaroff. Spago ended up sponsoring a Hollywood reception for the embryonic Designated Driver Campaign, and Lazaroff became an adviser…Small asks of many people proved helpful. A former CBS president introduced Winsten to a one-time rival, the former chairman and studio founder of NBC, who agreed to edit the campaign’s outreach letters to fit the Hollywood creative community’s values. Keeping requests modest makes it easier to get people to say yes and join coalitions with competitors. Tangible demonstrations of impact justify the faith of early supporters and attract new ones. Small ripples grow into waves of change.” (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Networking Doesn’t Have to Be Self-Serving, Harvard Business Review, March 6, 2020)

Youth Violence Prevention: Squash It!

Ellen Goodman, Syndicated Columnist, December 19, 1993:

“For five years, the combined force from Harvard and Hollywood has worked through media messages to create a new social role: the designated driver…Now, those who see [youth] violence as a public health catastrophe hope to use the same approach to change attitudes and behavior on the streets…What [Harvard] wants to do is nothing less than create a new norm that says it’s smart to walk away from a fight.”

President Bill Clinton, speech to members of the Hollywood creative community held at Creative Artists Agency, December 4, 1993:

“Now, the designated driver is a household phrase. And when people go out to have a good time, one person is now more likely to stay sober and drive…You helped to reshape attitudes and thousands of lives are being saved. You helped to make a positive impact. But conversely, when you've got car chases, bloody shootouts, murders, and often just amoral behavior as a regular feature in prime time, in the movies and throughout the entertainment media, how can anyone say the impact is not negative? How can anyone say it doesn't reinforce the worst expectations of a child who doesn't have a lot of hope to grasp onto in the first place? I call on you to bring your creative talents together, as you have done in the past ... to shed some light on the parts of life many children don't often see. I calI on you to help send a new message to these children ... not just a message of anti-violence... but a message that is pro-hope. We can show these young people how to resolve conflict with words instead of guns ... and if we show them the downside of life, we can also show them positive role models.”

The New York Times, October 6, 1994:      

“An ambitious effort to encourage young people to avoid violence, particularly gun-related violence, is turning to the methods of Madison Avenue to help achieve its aims. The Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health is sponsoring a campaign to persuade youth to shun conflicts before they escalate into violent confrontations. The campaign is called ‘Squash it,’ after a term already popular among youth in inner-city neighborhoods when they determine they can withdraw from a potentially perilous incident without losing face. In addition to traditional tactics like public service announcements, the public health school is adapting the advertising practice of product placement, whereby marketers arrange for their brands to make identifiable appearances in films, television series, video games and other media. ‘Squash it’ is being treated as if it were a soft drink or a soap, with one difference: Advertisers pay to have their products placed, while the ‘Squash it’ project is depending on the kindness of script writers and producers to disseminate its message without charge.”

President Bill Clinton, quoted in TV Guide, March 26, 1994:

 “’I know that Dr. Winsten, the fellow who developed the designated driver, is working on that ‘Squash It!’ project.  That’s intriguing to me. I understand that the networks may be reluctant to incorporate some of those things into their scripts. I’d like to see them really take it seriously and see what can be done about it.  When people see it unfold in the drama of television, the power of example is more powerful than people just preaching at you.’

Roll Call, April 19, 1996:

“Vice President Al Gore is scheduled to conduct a dialogue with DC young people as part of the Squash It! Campaign launched by the Harvard University School of Public Health. According to Harvard associate dean Jay Winsten, Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill) and Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) are urging colleagues to attend, and Clinton has been working behind the scenes to get media executives to contribute.”

Press release, Office of Rep. Charles E. Schumer, April 27, 1996:

“Rep. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the House Crime and Criminal Justice Subcommittee, led a bipartisan group of forty U.S. Representatives in sending a letter to network presidents asking them to air new public service spots aimed at reducing violence among teenagers. The spots called ‘Squash It’ were developed at Harvard University.”

Boston Globe EDITORIAL, November 24, 1997:

“A thoughtful and unsentimental report on methods to reduce youth violence, ‘No Time to Lose’, is scheduled for release today by [Massachusetts] Attorney General Scott Harshbarger and Jay Winsten of the Harvard School of Public Health…The findings provide a solid ground plan for the entire state.”

Frank Stanton Directorship

Harvard Gazette, December 4, 1997:

“The School of Public Health has announced an endowed directorship in the Center for Health Communication named in honor of Frank Stanton, the pioneering broadcaster who built CBS with William Paley and became television's leading statesman. The directorship is made possible by a gift from Stanton that will establish a $1 million endowment fund. Jay Winsten, founding director of the Center, will serve as the first incumbent of the Frank Stanton Directorship of the Center for Health Communication. Winsten also serves as SPH associate dean for public and community affairs and member of the-Faculty.

“President Neil L. Rudenstine commented, ‘Frank Stanton is one of Harvard's outstanding citizens, and I am delighted that his name will now be permanently associated with the innovative work of the Center for Health Communication.’

“Provost Harvey Fineberg, the former HSPH Dean, said, ‘In my current role, and throughout my deanship at SPH, I have always counted on Frank Stanton as a wise counselor and trusted friend. In 1985, when I established the Center for Health Communication under Jay Winsten's leadership, Dr. Stanton agreed to serve on the Center's Advisory Board. From that day forward, he has made critically important contributions.’

Harvard Mentoring Project

The New York Times, November 7, 1997:

“The ability of the communications industry to persuade Americans to modify their behavior for what are deemed laudable causes is being tested again by an ambitious project to sell the concept of [youth] mentoring.  It is being brought to you by the same people who successfully sold the concept of the designated driver.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Report, 2004:

“The [Harvard Mentoring Project] grew out of the 1997 Presidents’ Summit on America's Future.  At the summit, Presidents Clinton, Bush, Carter and Ford and Mrs. Reagan representing her husband joined 30 governors, 100 mayors and scores of corporate leaders and others in calling American citizens to volunteer their time to address the nation's problems — with a special emphasis on service aimed at America's children. General Colin Powell chaired the summit, and Jay Winsten, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health Communication, head of the Harvard Mentoring Project, and associate dean at Harvard University School of Public Health co-chaired its national media task force.

“To sustain the momentum from the summit, Powell agreed to head up a new national nonprofit, America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth.  [General] Powell and philanthropist Raymond Chambers asked Winsten to take the lead in promoting mentoring through the national media. The Harvard Mentoring Project invited MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership to serve as its lead partner.  [Campaign] staff began in 2001 to lay the groundwork for a National Mentoring Month, which would focus national and local media attention on mentoring during January of each year. The annual event, endorsed by White House proclamation and Congressional resolutions, would help to establish a long-term commitment to mentoring and energize and empower community and statewide mentoring initiatives. During this phase, the project focused special attention on developing the capacity of state and local mentoring programs. In more than 40 states and cities, local partnerships of mentoring programs convened a steering committee of community leaders; created an action plan for National Mentoring Month; secured media commitments in their market; provided a local telephone number for prospective mentors to call; responded to inquiries from the public; and referred prospective volunteers to appropriate mentoring agencies… For the 2002 National Mentoring Month, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 34-cent ‘Mentoring A Child’ postage stamp; 125 million stamps were printed.”

USA Today, January 26, 2004:

“Economist and Nobel Prize winner James Heckman of the University of Chicago, who has researched the development of non-cognitive abilities such as motivation, persistence, and self-discipline, says the mentoring approach is uniquely effective, not only for the individual, but also for society as a whole.  ‘The implications are enormous when you think about the prevention of crime, the importance of returning to schooling, the reduction of poverty, the various overall effects on income and social inequality in the United States,’ he says.  It is those societal benefits that Jay Winsten of the Harvard Mentoring Project believed in when he created National Mentoring Month. He's the same man who was tapped to develop the national designated driver campaign in the late '80s. The aim is to make the concept of mentoring a part of the ‘cultural expectation’ Winsten says. For his previous campaign, ‘the idea was to promote a new social role — that of the designated driver — and along with it a new social norm and expectation, that the driver doesn't drink,’ he says. ‘The question was: Can we, in similar fashion, promote the social role of the mentor, and in so doing promote a social norm and expectation about giving back to the community?’

Variety, October 26, 1998:

“Gen. Colin Powell came to town Monday to praise Hollywood for its efforts in mentoring at-risk youth and urged it to continue. Speaking to the Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s second Newsmaker Luncheon this season, and later to a smaller group of industry players at Creative Artists Agency, the popular retired military commander highlighted the industry’s role in helping young people who might otherwise be bypassed by society. As part of America’s Promise—The Alliance for Youth, the national nonprofit organization he co-chairs, Powell has teamed with the Harvard Mentoring Project to promote mentoring through the national media. The group has already recruited ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, 37 cable networks, the NAB, the NCTA and leading Hollywood studios, writers, producers, and actors. Advisors include Michael Crichton, Barry Diller, Quincy Jones and Grant Tinker.”

President Bill Clinton, State of the Union Address, January 27, 2000:

“I ask all of you to help me double our bipartisan Gear-Up program, which provides mentors for disadvantaged young people. If we double it, we can provide mentors for 1.4 million.”

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, CASE STUDIES: SHOUTING TO BE HEARD:

Public Service Advertising in a New Media Age, 2002:

“’The idea of [youth] mentoring in the late ‘90s did get more firmly implanted in the public’s mind,’ stresses Jonathan Alter of Newsweek. ‘There were several contributing factors: Colin Powell, Jay Winsten’s work, Ray Chambers. You now see presidents talking about the importance of mentoring, and it is mentioned more in the popular media.’”

Presidential Proclamation, President George W. Bush, January 2, 2003:

“During National Mentoring Month, we recognize the vital contributions of dedicated mentors, and we encourage more Americans to make a difference in the hearts and souls of our communities by volunteering their time to meet the needs of America’s youth.”

President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003:

“I propose a $450-million initiative to bring mentors to more than a million disadvantaged junior high students and children of prisoners. Government will support the training and recruiting of mentors; yet it is the men and women of America who will fill the need. One mentor, one person can change a life forever. And I urge you to be that one person.”

FOX News, December 11, 2006:

“Quincy Jones' stockpile of awards is about to grow higher--he's been named "Mentor of the Year," by Harvard University's School of Public Health. The music mogul, 73, is the inaugural recipient of the honor, which will be presented during National Mentoring Month in January 2007.  ‘Quincy Jones' entire life is a testament to the power of mentoring,’ Jay Winsten, associate dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement Monday. ‘He has served as a role model for using the power of celebrity to improve the lot of humankind.’  National Mentoring Month, now in its sixth year, aims to recruit volunteer mentors to work with young people. The theme of the month is ‘Pass it on. Mentor a child.’ The month-long effort also includes ‘Thank Your Mentor Day’ on Jan. 25.”

The New York Times, December 18, 2008:

“A print advertisement featuring [President-elect] Obama has been created to promote the idea of becoming a mentor to a child. The campaign…is timed for National Mentoring Month, which has been observed each January since 2002. Mr. Obama is not the first president-elect to appear in public service advertising. In December 1992, Bill Clinton filmed a commercial that encouraged drinkers to have a designated driver, which was made available to broadcast television networks to run from Christmas to New Year’s Day. The precedent is no coincidence, because the same person helped line up the presidents-elect for both campaigns: Dr. Jay A. Winsten of the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health.

First Lady Michelle Obama, East Room, The White House, January 20, 2010:

I'm thrilled to be here with all of you as we celebrate National Mentoring Month. Mentors have played an incredibly important role in my life and in the President's life. That's why last November, the women, we started a leadership and mentoring program here at the White House for some of the most promising students in Washington, D.C.”

President Barack Obama, East Room, The White House, January 20, 2010:

“I'm glad you all could join us today as we mark National Mentoring Month here at the White House…We know the difference a responsible, caring adult can make in a child's life: buck them up when they're discouraged; provide tough love when they veer off track; being that person in their lives who doesn't want to let them down, and that they don't want to let down; and refusing to give up on them -- even when they want to give up on themselves. Studies have shown that young people in mentoring relationships get better grades in school, they're less likely to drink, they're less likely to do drugs. And you ask any successful person how they got to where they are today, chances are they'll tell you about a mentor they had somewhere along the way.”

Presidential Proclamation, President Barack Obama, December 31, 2013:

“In every corner of our Nation, mentors push our next generation to shape their ambitions, set a positive course and achieve their boundless potential. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate everyone who teaches, inspires, and guides young Americans as they reach for their dreams.”

Tobacco Smoking in Movies

TIME Magazine, April 12, 2007:

“The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)--the folks behind the designated-driver campaign--are pushing to get the smokes off the screen. ‘Some movies show kids up to 14 incidents of smoking per hour,’ says Barry Bloom, HSPH's dean. ‘We're in the business of preventing disease, and cigarettes are the No. 1 preventable cause.’  Harvard long believed that getting cigarettes out of movies could have as powerful an effect, but it wouldn't be easy. In 1999 Harvard began holding one-on-one meetings with studio execs trying to change that, and last year the Motion Picture Association of America flung the door open, inviting Bloom to make a presentation in February to all the studios.”

Los Angeles Times, Front Page, May 11, 2007:

“Under a policy announced Thursday, the Motion Picture Association of America said its movie raters would take into account ‘depictions that glamorize smoking or movies that feature pervasive smoking outside of a historic or other mitigating context.’


The Harvard Crimson, November 30, 2020:

The COVID Collaborative — a coalition of experts in health, education, and the economy — launched a $50 million vaccine education campaign with nonprofit advertising group the Ad Council on Nov. 23. The effort aims to inform Americans about COVID-19 vaccines and their benefits. Harvard School of Public Health Dean Michelle A. Williams co-founded the Collaborative alongside former Domestic Policy Council and USA Freedom Corps director John M. Bridgeland ’82 and current World Health Organization Ambassador for Global Strategy Ray G. Chambers. Chambers is a member of the School of Public Health Communication Advisory Board. Several other Harvard faculty members serve on the National Advisory Council to the Collaborative, including University Professor Danielle S. Allen, University Professor Paul E. Farmer, Former University Provost Harvey V. Fineberg ’67, and School of Public Health Associate Dean Jay A. Winsten.

Coronavirus News, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, February 2021:

“The Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative have unveiled a new public service ad campaign aimed at building trust among Americans who may be hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Jay Winsten, director of the Initiative on Communication Strategies for Public Health at Harvard Chan School and a member of the COVID Collaborative’s advisory council, said he thinks that people will be open to the new messaging now that millions of Americans have been vaccinated without serious side effects.”

Coronavirus News, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, October 1, 2021:

Q&A with Dr. Jay Winsten

Q: You were quoted in the Washington Post as saying that communication experts should be more involved in discussions surrounding major public health recommendations regarding COVID-19. In what ways could they contribute?

Winsten: Setting policy is only the first step. Selling the policy, especially to a diverse, highly- polarized society, is the hard part. When the public health stakes are as high as they are right now, a war-room mentality is required, as in a political campaign, with seats reserved at the table for seasoned communication strategists. There exists a rich body of research in health communication that offers deep insights into reaching and influencing diverse segments of society. Those insights typically have been absent from key levels of decision-making.”