Martine_Bouman.jpgStatistics need stories. The urgency of media approaches in public health.

Martine Bouman (PhD) is the Scientific Director and Founder of the Center for Media & Health. Professor Bouman holds the Special Chair Entertainment Media and Social Change at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC), the Netherlands

Location: Conference hall, Scientific Library TSU, prospect Lenina 34, old building, 2 floor

The media’s role in setting the health agenda has grown substantially over the past few decades. Health issues are not considered relevant unless they are made visible. Information about health issues has to compete with thousands of other communication messages. The attention of target audiences is to be caught and held, especially when that audience is not yet interested in health issues. It is no longer sufficient to rely solely on the rationality of health message. Other, more emotionally appealing and popular communication methods also have to be brought into play. Using storytelling can make health issues more accessible. Integrating health issues in popular media formats (in theater, film, music, television, new media, or experience parks) is known as the entertainment-education (EE) strategy. The idea of ‘entertainment with an added value’ poses a big challenge for science, policy and practice. With a rapidly changing media landscape the distinction between media creators and audiences is becoming increasingly diffuse. Social media (e.g., Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Skype, YouTube, MySpace, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs) have become an integral part of our daily lives. This creates a unique opportunity to make public health more participatory and more public. This also contributes to the emergence of new classes of online professional creatives, serious game designers, social influences and community owners. Which roles do these media innovations play and how can they contribute into ‘making health public’? How can media — through encouraging storytelling, and entertainment — contribute to empowering publics? Prof. Bouman will share her experience and research on the entertainment education strategy and on creating a crossover between public health and the creative media industry. She will illustrate this with examples and film fragments.

TMoreiraValuing health

Tiago Moreira (PhD), Associate Professor in Durham University and Copenhagen University

Location: Conference hall, Scientific Library TSU, prospect Lenina 34, old building, 2 floor

What is the value of health? Research and scholarly debates on this issue by economists and bioethicists has led to the view that there is no single good way to define or measure the many values of different enactments of health, and that the question can only be answered pragmatically, in different policy and cultural contexts. Taking this as a point of departure, in this lecture, Dr. Moreira will explore how an analytical focus on the practices of valuing and measuring health can help us reconsider and re-articulate the question. Drawing on a documentary and historical an analysis of the genesis and development ‘self-rated health’, he suggests that and how health measurements become embedded in practice by fusing and combining different valuations of the ‘good life’. Recognising the inextricable multiplicity that underpins existing definitions and measurement of health should, conclude, lead to renewed, interdisciplinary debate on health and its values.

hosrtmanMaking health cosmopolitical

Klasien Horstman (PhD), Professor of Philosophy of Public Health, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Location: Conference hall, Scientific Library TSU, prospect Lenina 34, old building, 2 floor

In this closing lecture Klasien Horstman will provide some reflections on the conference. The title of the conference ‘making health public’ refers to the question of how health can be made an object of public debate and contestation, thereby engaging diverse publics in a domain that is very much occupied by experts and technocratic regimes to assess risks and to develop interventions. By doing this it is assumed that health innovations not only become more legitimate but also more effective. Stressing the public character of health implies considering the politics of health, however, there are good reasons to go beyond politics and think about cosmopolitics of health. Health sciences still articulate the idea that humans are in control, but, as Diane Ackerman argues in her book «The human age. The world shaped by us», the co-existence of the human and the natural world is not very well understood yet. Indeed, while CO2 and bacteria have a tremendous influence on our ecosystems, affecting the poor much more than the rich, and potentially destroying the globe, research institutions still display a modernistic, interventionist thought style that focuses more on controlling than on relating. Perhaps, we should not stop at making health public and think about how to make health cosmopolitical, engaging not only in a dialogue with other humans like patients and citizens, but, also with bacteria and resistant genes.