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Hollywood, Health & Society program names new director

by Russell DeVita
Kate Langrall Folb
Kate Langrall Folb

Kate Langrall Folb, a leader in entertainment and social impact, has been named director of Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s Norman Lear Center, which provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information about public health, access to health care and climate change.

Folb began her career in TV and music production at Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, Borman Entertainment and Shep Gordon’s Alive Enterprises, where she worked with music luminaries such as Graham Nash, Jeff Beck, Alice Cooper and Luther Vandross. She was later appointed director of special projects at the Scott Newman Center, a nonprofit organization founded by Paul Newman, where she produced the annual Scott Newman Awards and consulted on films like Blind Spot with Joanne Woodward and Laura Linney.

For nearly a decade, Folb directed the Media Project, a partnership of Advocates for Youth and the Kaiser Family Foundation. During her tenure, she produced the annual Shine Awards, consulted on hundreds of television storylines, collaborated on groundbreaking audience impact research and helped develop an irreverent PSA campaign for the UPN TV network. In 2001, she founded Nightingale Entertainment, guiding entertainment education, talent management and celebrity involvement in national media campaigns.

Notable projects included managing six-time Grammy nominee Tierney Sutton, “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” featuring Scarlett Johansson, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Cover the Uninsured Week” with Noah Wyle and “Covering Kids and Families” with Marg Helgenberger and Jane Kaczmarek.

“Kate’s appointment is a home run for HH&S and the Norman Lear Center,” said USC Annenberg Professor Martin Kaplan, principal investigator of HH&S and founding director of the center. “She’s widely admired as a colleague and leader in our field.”

Added Folb: “I’m thrilled to be part of such a respected and effective program. HH&S, as the premier center for entertainment education in Los Angeles, serves as a model of excellence worldwide.”

HH&S recently launched global centers in India’s Bollywood and Nigeria’s Nollywood to leverage the power of entertainment to improve the lives of millions of TV and film viewers; the centers are supported by a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, funded by a $500,000 grant from The California Endowment, HH&S has become a resource for the U.S. entertainment industry, including Spanish-language television, for information about the Affordable Care Act. Core support for HH&S has been provided since 2001 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HH&S offers free resources to the entertainment industry, including briefings and consultations with experts, panel discussions, customized site visits, screenings, tip sheets, a newsletter and Web links to health information and public service announcements. The program also conducts studies of the impact on storylines on audiences.

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