Neal Baer is giving audiences an opportunity to make a difference when they become inspired by a topic on their favorite TV show.
Baer — a longtime producer of E.R., LAW & ORDER: SVU and UNDER THE DOME — is the founder of ActionLab (www.ActionLab.org) which provides the means for individuals to lend support to causes they are moved by.
“I would go on Google and see how issues or topics would [trend] after an episode aired,” he says.
“I did an episode on SVU about opening up the backlog of untested rape kits and started to think about how to extend beyond the show…
“We actually gave [concerned viewers] a tool kit to go to their chief of police or city council members to have them tested. Stories inspire people and we want to bridge the gap for people who are inspired by stories.”
ActionLab — a project of the Global Media Center for Social Impact at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health — recently put its muscle behind the epidemic of childhood obesity, as detailed in Marion Nestle’s book SODA POLITICS: TAKING ON BIG SODA (AND WINNING).
“I think we argued pretty clearly that sodas consumed daily are not good for you,” Baer tells TheTVPage.com.
“We have the evidence and the studies that show that. So we provide the evidence and it is up to you how you want to deal with that evidence.”
“So if you decide after reading soda politics that you don’t want it in your kid’s school, then we tell you how to remove them. How people have done that in the past. So some folks may not like the actions, but the actions are based on evidence. We don’t advocate for something where there is not strong evidence what we are saying.”
Baer, a licensed medical doctor, says television and the media provide a perfect platform to gently spark discussions about topics – specifically related to health.
But that requires he be even more careful to present the correct information.
“What I do [on TV] is entertainment, but as you know, entertainment creeps into our brains and our emotions in a number of ways.
“There have been a number of studies that show that people who watch television believe what they see as far as health issues. So I have always been an advocate for being as accurate as possible on television on any kind of medically-oriented episode I have done. People believe what they see.”
For more information visit ActionLab.org
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