Working Luncheons

The following list of working luncheons was compiled by Jay A. Winsten as part of Highlights From the First Thirty-Five Years. Primary source material relating to these working luncheons is 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.

Working Luncheons on Drunk Driving Prevention:
Following a drunk driving crash in 1985 that took the life of a popular WBZ-TV newsman, Dennis Kauff, the Center joined with John Henning, anchor reporter at WBZ, to convene a series of working luncheons for broadcast and print journalists in the Greater Boston area to consider solutions to the drunk driving problem. Over time, the sessions, held at Harvard, drew the regular participation of legislators and policymakers, judges, and agency officials, including Massachusetts Senate President William Bulger. Eighteen sessions were held between 1985 to 1987. Extensive news coverage of presentations by guest speakers was complemented by broadcast and print editorials and commentaries. Governor Michael Dukakis credited the luncheons for contributing to enactment of the Safe Roads Act, which toughened penalties for drunk driving. Senate President Bulger noted that the luncheon series had the effect of engaging him in the legislative process much earlier than would typically be the case; he overcame his initial reservations and supported enactment of the Safe Road Act. As another outgrowth of the series, WBZ-TV joined with the Center, starting in 1986, to promote the designated driver concept in Massachusetts in collaboration with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. This in turn led to the development of the Center’sNational Designated Driver Campaign in 1988

Working Luncheons on Youth Violence Prevention:
From 1995 to 1997, the Center partnered with Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to convene a series of working luncheons on youth violence prevention. The series brought together journalists, senior officials from government, academic experts, leaders from the business and philanthropic communities, and representatives of community and religious groups to deepen understanding of youth violence and ways to prevent it. The series generated extensive press coverage of policy options. A final report on the series, No Time to Lose: A Comprehensive Action Plan to Prevent Youth Violence, presented policy recommendations to address the problem in Massachusetts.

Working Luncheons on Domestic Violence Prevention:
Launched in 1991, the project aimed to deepen public understanding of family violence and ways to prevent it; raise family violence issues to higher visibility and higher priority on the public agenda; and contribute to the development and implementation of effective public policies. The initiative included a series of nine working luncheons, held from 1991 to 1993, that were co-sponsored by the Center and Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger in cooperation with the Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women Service Groups. Each of the nine sessions brought together 60 to 80 journalists, legislators, victims’ advocates, judges, police chiefs, and state commissioners. The series had a direct impact on statewide policy; one session helped prompt Governor Weld to relax the conditions under which battered women who have killed their abusers may seek clemency. The resulting Report on Domestic Violence: A Commitment to Action included policy recommendations, many of which were adopted by the Governor’s Domestic Violence Commission.