Innovative HIV/AIDS communicator to kick off UGA Global Diseases Series

Innovative HIV/AIDS communicator to kick off UGA Global Diseases Series

Athens, Ga. – Kate Winskell, one of the world’s most innovative health communicators, kicks off the third “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series at the University of Georgia on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. The lecture takes place at the UGA Chapel and is free and open to the public.

Winskell’s “Scenarios from Africa” program, which she runs with her husband, Daniel Enger, appeals to the universal human desire to make a movie. Young Africans are mobilized by local organizations to research and write treatments for short films, competing to have their ideas produced by professional directors and crews. Whether they win or not, participants learn to separate fact from fiction about HIV/AIDS and are better prepared to reduce their own risks.

Leading African directors have completed films in about 30 languages, which are broadcast widely in Africa and used as educational tools at the community level. More than 105,000 young people from 37 countries have participated in story competitions, mobilized by more than 1,000 local organizations. At the UGA lecture, Winskell will talk about this remarkable history and about the latest “Scenarios from Africa” competition, which is underway now.

Originally from Great Britain, Winskell now lives in Atlanta and is a visiting assistant professor of global health at Rollins School of Public Health and the assistant director of Emory University’s Center for Health, Culture and Society. Winskell has been creatively engaging African youth in the battle against HIV/AIDS for the past decade.

“Dr. Winskell’s work is an example of the profound and far-reaching impact that communication and media can have on people’s lives” said Lenette Golding, a Ph.D. candidate in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication who studied with Winskell while earning her master’s of public health at Rollins. “She and her colleagues have effectively combined business and technology, commitment and talent, participation and leadership and above all art and science. They are collectively a force for change.”

“Information is one of the most powerful tools for narrowing health disparities that divide rich and poor people around the world, and Kate Winskell’s work in the ‘edutainment’ field is leading the way,” said Patricia Thomas, Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Dan Colley and I are proud that the Voices from the Vanguard series spotlights national and international experts who not only talk about helping those who are often overlooked, but also act.”

A new United Nations report predicts that half of all 15-year-olds in African countries including Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa will be dead of AIDS before they turn 21 unless the catastrophic spread of HIV can be slowed. One braking mechanism is helping these teenagers learn what behaviors endanger their lives and motivating them to protect themselves.

The lecture series is organized by Thomas and Colley, director of UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. The next event features Harvard’s Jim Yong Kim, former head of HIV/AIDS activity for the World Health Organization, who will discuss the science of implementing public health recommendations on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 4 p.m.

The series continues on March 18 and April 15. All lectures will be held in the UGA Chapel, each followed by a reception next door at Demosthenian Hall. For additional information, visit http://www.grady.uga.edu:16080/knighthealth/