Conferences & Related Publications

The following list of conferences and related publications was compiled by Jay A. Winsten as part of Highlights From the First Thirty-Five Years. Related primary source material is likely present in the historical collections for the Center for Health Communications (see Collections). To arrange for access, submit a request to the reference team at the Center for the History of Medicine. You may also contact the Harvard Chan School Archivist directly with questions.

Mass Communication and Social Agenda-Setting: October 20-21, 1993
In collaboration with The Annenberg Washington Program, the Center convened a group of scholars, journalists, advocates, and public officials to consider how mass communication: (1) shapes society’s ability to deal with problems; (2) gets issues on the public and governmental agendas; (3) reinforces or alters social norms and attitudes; and (4) brings about individual behavioral change. For two days, the participants reviewed scholarly findings, reflected on their own professional experiences concerning AIDS, smoking, and drinking and driving, and considered how the power of mass communication could be marshaled to respond effectively to the problem of violence. The report on the conference, Violence, Public Health, and the Media, is based on those deliberations. The conference was funded by The Annenberg Washington Program, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Reinventing Aging: Baby Boomers and Civic Engagement: October 8-10, 2003
As part of the Harvard-MetLife Foundation Initiative on Retirement and Civic Engagement, the Center reviewed and distilled relevant research, commissioned background papers, and convened a national invitational conference that brought together leading experts to identify strategies, opportunities, and barriers that must be addressed to expand the contributions of boomers to civic life as they reach retirement. The goal of the initiative was two-fold: to help strengthen civic life in America by mobilizing the time and talents of many of the 76-million baby boomers as they reach retirement; and to re-define the meaning and purpose of the retirement years. From a public health perspective, strengthening the involvement of retirees in community life also promises direct benefits to the individuals involved; studies have found a clear correlation between social-connectedness in retirement and prolonged maintenance of good health. The findings and recommendations were published in a Report, Reinventing Aging: Baby Boomers and Civic Engagement. Among the questions the Report addressed were: (1) Can a national effort succeed in motivating large numbers of boomers to contribute their time, skills, and experience to address community problems? (2) If boomers respond in large numbers, will civic organizations of various kinds be prepared to receive them? And (3) what roles can the news media, the advertising industry, and Hollywood play in helping society redefine the meaning and purpose of the older years to include civic engagement as a key component?


Conference paper: The Designated Driver Movement in the United States: Promoting a New Social Norm, Jay A. Winsten, Ph.D., Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public Health, Presented at the 36th International Congress on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Glasgow, August 21, 1992.

Documents the introduction and rapid acceptance of the designated driver concept in the United States, as a result of the Harvard Alcohol Project’s Designated Driver Campaign.


Report on the Conference on “Science, Technology, and the News Media”. Science, Technology, and the News Media:  September 29-October 1, 1995.
With the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Center convened a national invitational conference to explore some of the factors that determine whether, when, and to what extent science coverage influences policy, behavior, and the conduct of science; to elucidate some of the processes that create these influences; and to identify correctable problems for which steps could be taken. The conference used case studies to frame the basis for discussion. A report on the conference was published.