Green Festival Speakers

Sandra de Castro Buffington



Sandra de Castro Buffington, named one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in America by Poder Magazine, is director of Hollywood, Health & Society, a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center that leverages the power of the entertainment industry to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities worldwide.

Sandra provides resources to leading scriptwriters and producers with the goal of improving the accuracy of health-related storylines on top television programs and films, resulting in more than 380 aired storylines over the span of two years. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The California Endowment, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Skoll Foundation, among others, the program recognizes the profound impact that entertainment media have on individual knowledge and behavior.

To inspire global health storylines in television and film, Sandra pioneered a program of outreach for Hollywood’s creative community in the form of research trips to South Africa and India, panel discussions at the Writers Guild of America, West, and expert briefings for writers of top dramas. The result was a seven-fold increase in global health TV storylines across 15 shows and nine networks from 2007–2012.

She recently launched the HH&S Global Climate Change Initiative to increase the accuracy of climate related storylines in television, film and new media. She is offering writers and producers Storybus Tours to learn about climate change from local experts and community members on the ground, and an exciting program of exchange between scientists and the creative community.

Sandra has received numerous honors and awards, including the USAID Maximizing Access and Quality Outstanding Achievement Award for her global health and social change programs, and Brazil’s Award for Leadership in developing the Bahia State Reproductive Health program. She is a former associate faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and a past board member of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation. She currently serves on the boards of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution and Primary Purpose Productions. Sandra is Brazilian- American, and fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and proficient in French.