Lori Dorfman, DrPH, MPH
Lori Dorfman, DrPH, directs Berkeley Media Studies Group, which works with community groups, journalists and public health professionals to use the power of the media to advance healthy public policy. Dorfman oversees BMSG’s research that examines media portrayals of public health issues, including children's health, food and beverage marketing, nutrition, breastfeeding, violence, and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Dorfman publishes frequently on public health and mass communication and co-authored the major texts on media advocacy, Public Health and Media Advocacy: Power for Prevention (1993: Sage Publications) and News for a Change: An Advocate's Guide to Working with the Media (1999: Sage Publications). She edited Reporting on Violence: A Handbook for Journalists, which demonstrates how journalists can include a public health perspective in violence reporting.
Dorfman co-chairs the Food Marketing Workgroup, a national coalition dedicated to eliminating harmful food marketing. She teaches a course on mass communication at the School of Public Health at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. Dorfman consults with government agencies and community programs on a variety of public health issues, helping them apply the principles of media advocacy.
Dorfman earned a master's degree and doctorate in public health from UC Berkeley.
A Systems-oriented Approach to Evaluating Local Sugar-sweetened Beverage Tax
BMSG will collect a representative sample of news coverage focused on San Francisco and Berkeley’s ballot initiatives. We will learn how the debates were framed in the region, which sectors and which speakers dominated the coverage, the messages they used, and how the news coverage of the process in Berkeley and San Francisco compares to coverage of prior efforts in California. We will also learn whether the coverage in the Bay Area media market of the soda tax initiatives differed from coverage that appeared in selected statewide and national news outlets.
American University FFS
BMSG will advise American University on public health implications of health wearables; assist with identifying participants for interviews and stakeholder meetings and read/comment on drafts of articles, reports, etc.
Analysis of Child Sexual Abuse in News Coverage
BMSG analyzed U.S. newspaper coverage of childhood sexual assault to provide the Ms. Foundation for Women and its partners a more thorough understanding of how journalists cover and frame the issue. This provides a framework for helping sexual assault prevention advocates decide how they can reshape the debate to focus on prevention.
Analysis of The California Endowment’s Building Health Communities Initiative
The Berkeley Media Studies Group will conduct content analysis to review The California Endowment’s Building Health Communities Initiative’s (BHC) current equity related frames and priorities, drawing upon information collected by Center for Social Inclusion. BMSG will assess representative samples of BHC’s framing compared to other approaches and conduct up to 25 interviews with key BHC stakeholders in coordination with TCE and The Praxis Project.
Attorney General Interventions to Limit Unfair and Deceptive Digital Food Marketing to Children
The Berkeley Media Studies Group is working with the Public Health Advocacy Institute to: 1) investigate how food and beverage marketers use digital, especially mobile, media to target children; 2) analyze the implications of these marketing practices; 3) contribute to the analysis of how state attorneys general can use these campaigns; and 4) assist with publication of scholarly and policy documents.
Augmentation for The Yellow Book: A Comprehensive Message Guide for Sexual Violence Prevention
The Berkeley Media Studies Group is working with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to develop and disseminate resources for sexual violence prevention practitioners to be able to more effectively engage the media in reporting on the topic. The purpose of this project is to develop a Yellow Book that will serve as a comprehensive sexual violence prevention message guide to enable advocates to be concise, consistent, and “on message” no matter where they are in the country, who their audience is, or whether they are working on sexual harassment, child sexual assault, rape, trafficking or anything else on the continuum of sexual assault.
Big Data and the Transformation of the Retail Food Marketplace
The purpose of this project is to create a research agenda for addressing how the digital retail marketplace should inform studies in the field of public health and healthy eating research. Berkeley Media Studies Group will analyze how Big Data-driven local marketing practices are being used to influence food and beverage products in grocery, retailers, and convenience stores, synthesize industry and academic literature on digital food and beverage marketing focused on retail environments with special attention to the impacts on communities of color and low-income communities, and interview public health researchers, practitioners, and legal scholars from public health, marketing, and related fields to collect their insights, concerns, and questions.
Building Capacity to Make the Case for Healthier Beverage Environments
The overall goal of this project is to increase public health advocates' capacity to influence public debate and public policy on a critical aspect of the food and fitness environment: the beverage environment. BMSG is working with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and others in California to help advocates around the state build their capacity to make the case for healthier beverage environments.
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
BMSG is assessing current narratives, frames and messages about adolescent dating abuse and prevention heard by California’s educational leaders. An on-camera spokesperson training and communications plan will also be completed.
Cohort-Based Technical Assistance Sessions
Berkeley Media Studies Group will support The California Wellness Foundation’s Advancing Wellness grantees transitioning from the Foundation’s support so they can amplify and expand their good work. This project will build their capacity for attracting new funding so they can continue to fight for healthier communities across California. BMSG specializes in building the capacity of community-based groups and public health leaders to become strong voices in policy debate. BMSG will provide media advocacy trainings supported by technical assistance and strategic consultation specifically suited for this transition cohort. The trainings and consultations would help the grantees transform the courage of their convictions into effective communication with policy makers, reporters, and allies they want to enlist in their efforts. The trainings would be tailored to grantees’ needs, but also emphasize two key concepts: framing and strategy.
Communicating for Change 2015-2016
BMSG will support, plan and participate in up to four meetings to review and assess the Health ExChange Academy goals and implementation with TCE staff and other Health ExChange Academy providers at TCE in Los Angeles.
Communicating for Change Trainings 2014
The Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) will conduct up to 23 Communicating for Change training modules for The California Endowment's (TCE) grantees across California. Since BMSG first developed the program, hundreds of TCE grantees have learned concrete skills to engage the media strategically to advance their community health policy goals.
Communication Plan Development for Cuyahoga County, Ohio's REACH Grant
The Berkley Media Studies Group will provide assistance to the Cuyahoga County, Ohio REACH teams, in developing an overall strategic communication plan to support policy and system change strategies.
Communication Technical Assistance and Training
BMSG will assist FHI 360 with providing technical assistance and training to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Community Health grantees in the areas of media strategies, messaging and other communication skills for community engagement.
Communities Creating Healthy Environments
Berkeley Media Studies Group will focus on documenting, analyzing and helping local groups act on the latest marketing maneuvers from the food and beverage industry targeting children, youth and communities of color for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Communities Creating Healthy Environments program.
Communities Putting Prevention to Work: Messaging and Spokesperson Training
BMSG is part of ICF Macro's Resource Center, providing support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative. BMSG provides training workshops, individualized technical assistance, tools and individual community consultation on messaging, and spokesperson training for CDC grantees working to prevent obesity and promote tobacco control.
Community Creating Healthy Environments Communications Support
Over the course of the first year of the CCHE initiative, BMSG will actively participate on the CCHE Initiative communications team. BMSG will also attend regular planning meetings for the initiative, and will participate in the Roots and Remedies conference sponsored by the Praxis Project. Based on gaps and needs that surface during communications team meetings, BMSG will share framing and messaging tools that are relevant to the needs of Network organizations and will support their communication goals.
Consultation Services for Children's Advocacy Centers of California
BMSG will provide strategic consultation services to the Children's Advocacy Centers of California, a program of the Child Abuse Listening, Interviewing and Coordination Center. BMSG will help CACC in their efforts to collaborate with California's multidisciplinary team of legal and social service partners that advocate for children who have been abused.
Consultation to PolicyLink for the Convergence Partnership
BMSG is providing consultation on framing and strategic communications for the Convergence Partnership, a collaboration of funders committed to supporting multifield, equity-focused efforts to improve communities so everyone can be healthy. PolicyLink, the Partnership program director, helps to develop strategy and advance the Partnership's vision and works with Prevention Institute to provide policy research and analysis.
Content Analysis of News Coverage of the Jerry Sandusky Child Sexual Assault Allegations
BMSG has conducted a content analysis of the news coverage surrounding allegations that Jerry Sandusky, a long-time coach at Pennsylvania State University, sexually abused boys. Through a previous project, BMSG analyzed typical news coverage of child sexual abuse and produced recommendations for journalists and prevention advocates. BMSG’s analysis compares the Sandusky coverage to prior news coverage of child sexual abuse.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Cause Marketing by the Soda Industry
With support from the Healthy Eating Research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, BMSG examined the marketing tactics from soda companies and assessed their campaigns in light of how the tobacco industry employed similar strategies to thwart regulation, cultivate a positive business climate and gain public support.
Customized Strategic Communications Trainings at the Canadian Science Writers' Association Meeting
The Berkeley Media Studies Group will collaborate with the University of Ottawa in designing and delivering customized strategic communications trainings for population and public health researchers and science reporters with an interest in health who will be attending the 2013 Canadian Science Writers' Association Meeting.
Documenting Building Healthy Communities and Healthy Equity Practice
BMSG will research, report, and write four case studies of California-based local health departments being honored by The California Endowment for their innovative work to advance health equity. BMSG will work with a TCE designer to produce the final versions, make the finished products available online, and develop a plan for disseminating the work.
Evaluating Media Messaging on Childhood Obesity to Inform Advocacy on a Culture of Health
Berkeley Media Studies Group and Portland State University will collaborate on an in-depth assessment of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act sharing findings, lessons learned and implications for other policy debates with Voices for Healthy Kids grantees and others in the childhood obesity prevention movement.
Evaluating the Public Debate Over Fast-Food Zoning Ordinances
This project will examine the extent, and nature, of the public debate surrounding efforts to pass fast-food zoning policies. Studying news depictions of fast-food zoning ordinance campaigns will help researchers, advocates and policymakers who want to pursue similar measures understand —and better influence—the debates they are about to enter.
Evaluation of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s Initiatives
Berkeley Media Studies Group will design and conduct a content analysis of health coverage in Kentucky news outlets and share findings with CCHE and the Foundation. Over the course of the initiative, BMSG's analysis will produce an in-depth quantitative and qualitative portrait of the news coverage on the Foundation, grantees, and policy areas that the initiative addresses. It will also provide a window into the larger conversation around health in Kentucky by tracking statements by opponents, journalists, and members of the public who are also actively framing Kentucky health issues.
Feeding Infants and Toddlers: Is Industry Marketing Undermining Health?
Berkeley Media Studies Group and the California WIC Association will collaborate on convening selected researchers, public health practitioners, funders and other stakeholders to identify research questions and explore opportunities for action around infant formula marketing and feeding toddlers to improve breastfeeding rates and toddler feeding practices in California and beyond.
Food Marketing in the News and on the Web: A Content Analysis of Opinion Pages, the Trade Press and Websites Designed for Children
BMSG, through this sub-award with Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, analyzed the content of news and websites for breakfast cereal, fast food, and sugary beverage targeting children. BMSG studied one category each year to assess the digital techniques food and beverage marketers use to keep children interacting with their brands.
Food Marketing to Children Workgroup
BMSG and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are convening and coordinating the Food Marketing Workgroup, a network of more than 120 organizations and academic experts in the U.S. who are concerned about the proliferation of marketing of unhealthful foods and beverages that targets children and adolescents.
Food Marketing Workgroup 2013
The Berkeley Media Studies Group coordinates the Food Marketing Workgroup, a network of more than 130 organizations and academic experts that works with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantees and the American Heart Association to reverse childhood obesity by focusing its advocacy on competitive foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and food marketing.
Framing Primary Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence
BMSG worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation's Delta PREP grantees to help coalitions understand challenges in current news coverage of violence; identify opportunities to create news around primary prevention of domestic violence; and frame intimate partner violence to emphasize prevention and promote policy solutions.
Health in All Policies Toolkit
BMSG is working with the California Department of Public Health to review and refine its messages supporting "health in all policies," an approach that considers how all of our public policymaking decisions impact health. BMSG is writing a chapter on talking about health in all policies for a toolkit the Department of Public Health is developing to help advocates make the case for why health in all policies helps protect physical and fiscal health, advance community engagement, and build relationships across government sectors.
Healthy Youth, Healthy Region Spokesperson Training
BMSG worked with the Sierra Health Foundation to amplify the effects of the Healthy Youth, Healthy Region report that the Foundation commissioned from the University of California at Davis' Center for Regional Change. BMSG advised the Foundation on the dissemination and media strategy for the report release and preparing Foundation spokespeople, including youth, to talk with reporters, policy makers and other civic leaders.
Informing Partners in the Communities Creating Health Environments Program of Unhealthy Practices of the Food-Marketing Industry
BMSG serves on The Praxis Project’s technical assistance team for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Communities Creating Healthy Environments program to ensure that all of its partners are: 1) aware of the latest marketing practices of the food industry, particularly in communities of color; and 2) equipped to challenge practices that interfere with establishing healthy environments for children and adolescents.
Media Advocacy for Healthier School and Neighborhood Environments
This project expands the capacity of advocates and youth journalists to tell effective stories about the importance of healthier school and neighborhood environments in California. The Berkeley Media Studies Group will assist with message development and framing, media advocacy training, and creation of an interactive online space for exchanging digital marketing information about food and beverages, and will track junk food marketing trends to inform policy making.
Media Advocacy Training
Berkeley Media Studies Group will design a comprehensive media advocacy training for Consumer Health Foundation grantees focused on health equity.
Organizational Media Strategy Session
Berkeley Media Studies Group will conduct a 3-hour media strategy session that will cover best practices, content development, messaging for particular audiences and issues, message dissemination and organizational needs and capacity building assessment.
Paper Tigers Screening
Berkeley Media Studies Group will assume the planning, oversight, and hosting of a film screening of Paper Tigers in the Bay Area. The screening will also include a panel discussion afterward.
Personal Responsibility Rhetoric on Tobacco- and Obesity-Related Litigation, Legislation and News Coverage
BMSG is collaborating with the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) at Northeastern University Law School to analyze arguments over who is responsible for causing, and remedying, two of the most serious public health crises in recent history: tobacco and obesity. BMSG and PHAI are examining personal responsibility arguments in litigation, legislation, and in news coverage during major tobacco and obesity events of the past 50 years.
Providing Health Messaging Trainings
To support communications trainings for delivery of Health Happens Here frames and messages to grantees and partners in regional meetings and convenings in California.
San Diego Training Resource Center
Berkeley Media Studies Group will train public health department leaders, community health advocates and other stakeholders in Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, San Diego, and Inyo counties to develop strategic communications and media advocacy skills to more effectively work together and advocate for policy, systems and environmental changes to improve nutrition and physical activity environments.
Sea Change Program
BMSG will work with the Tides Center to support the Sea Change Program (SCP) in transforming the culture of stigma around abortion by 1) Adding abortion, stigma, and related issues to its daily news digest (In the News); 2) Develop a research protocol for a news analysis BMSG will conduct and 3) Training SCP staff and selected allies (up to 25 people).
Soda Tax Debates in Telluride, Colorado: How Were They Framed?
This project aims to understand how news coverage portrayed the proposed soda tax in Telluride, Colorado, so future ballot initiatives might better anticipate what to expect when sugar sweetened beverage taxes are presented to local voters. Berkeley Media Studies Group will gather and analyze local and national news media content and online comments on articles and in blogs surrounding the public debate about Telluride’s ballot initiative to raise taxes on sugary drinks.
Strategic Communication Trainings
BMSG will conduct training sessions with Merced HHS staff focused on the Layers of Strategy and how to root public health communications effort in an overall strategy.
Strategic Communications for HIP-C
For the Health Improvement Partnership – Cuyahoga, Ohio (HIP-C) REACH project, BMSG supports development of the broader HIP-C communications strategy and plan in coordination with the county. BMSG includes two of HIP-C’s focus areas: building stronger relationships between public health and clinical care systems and eliminating health disparities locally.
Strategic Communications Training
Berkeley Media Studies Group will provide strategic communications consultation to the Health Education Council in West Sacramento, which facilitates the Delta & Gold Country TRC for the California Department of Public Health.
Strategic Communications Training CPEDV
Berkeley Media Studies Group will conduct a full-day in-person training on media advocacy and strategic communications messaging for members of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), including prevention and communication staff, directors, leadership team, peer network and stakeholders. The key goal of the training is “educating educators” about preventing teen dating violence and the role of schools.
Strategic Consultation to Communities Creating Healthy Environments Program
BMSG works with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Communities Creating Healthy Environments program to see that all of its partners are: 1) aware of the latest food industry marketing practices and 2) equipped to challenge those practices if they interfere with establishing healthy environments.
Strategic Public Health Communications Training
Berkeley media Studies Group will provide technical assistance to Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation and present to its board on the theoretical and practical foundations of strategic communications for public health, with examples from recent campaigns aimed at reducing consumption of sugary beverages.
Talking About Prevention in Minnesota
To help Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grantees and Community Health Boards (CHBs) understand how their most important issues—nutrition, physical activity, alcohol and tobacco—are framed in the media, BMSG will analyze news coverage on these issues, recommend how best to frame prevention in the news context, train SHIP grantees to talk about prevention more effectively, and then reexamine whether SHIP and CHBs' key messages about prevention are included in news coverage.
Talking about Trauma
The Berkeley Media Studies Group continues to explore the limitations of how childhood trauma is currently discussed and to build the capacity of stakeholders to communicate effectively about their work.
Talking About Trauma: ACEsConnection
BMSG is working with ACEsConnection to learn where storytelling, especially journalism— new and traditional—could describe trauma better and to learn how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) leaders talk about it. BMSG will train ACEsConnection community managers and mainstream journalists to tell the story of trauma in a way that policy makers and the general public can understand and use. ACEs refers to toxic stress caused by common childhood traumas that lead to physical, mental, and social health consequences.
The Food Marketing Workgroup
BMSG and the Center for Science in the Public Interest continue convening and coordinating the Food Marketing Workgroup, a network of more than 120 organizations and academic experts in the U.S. working together to reduce the marketing of unhealthful foods and beverages to children and youth.
Tobacco Use Disparities in a Social Justice Context
Berkeley Media Studies Group in partnership with Phil Wilbur will work with the Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center. The Center is conducting a roundtable meeting presenting tobacco use disparities within a social justice context of which one goal is to articulate New York's social justice rationale for point of sale policies to set a foundation for developing key messages for New York community educators to integrate social justice into their policy work. BMSG will advise on strategies, review presentation, summarize meeting results with draft message media bits as well as assist with development and presentation of final framing brief for NY community educators.
Uncovering the Roots of Health Inequity: Lessons for Health Departments
BMSG is preparing a series of reports for the National Association of City and County Health Officials describing health inequities, the non-biological, and entirely preventable, systemic forces involved in shaping health. The series, part of a project with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Injury Prevention and Control, examines the social justice roots of public health's history for clues on how getting back to those roots can help health departments work more effectively.
University of New England FFS
BMSG will provide the University of New England with technical assistance provisions for digital food marketing survey in schools as well as review survey tools and survey findings, contribute to analysis and written reports.
Violence Is Preventable: Tools for Changing the Public Discourse
This project aims to help key groups in Northern California's 3 most impacted cities describe examples of systems-change violence prevention across sectors. Prevention Institute and BMSG will: develop key messages and materials for violence prevention focused on systems change; analyze regional news coverage of youth violence; develop "talking tools" that demonstrate effective framing; and submit opinion pieces to regional news outlets. This will lay the foundation for Phase II, working with practitioners and advocates to reshape public discourse.
Violence is Preventable: Tools for Changing the Public Discourse, Phase II
BMSG will expand and operationalize narratives around community violence as a preventable public health problem and lay the groundwork for network of stakeholders to shift the discourse. With a clear analysis of news, advocates will better understand how community violence is framed during and after high-profile state and national events – and how to shift frames to include prevention. Through convenings with key stakeholders BMSG will learn about the challenges and opportunities that face prevention advocates working to shape the discourse around violence that will inform the development of media advocacy tools. BMSG will pilot test the tools to be sure the resources can be used to engage with policy makers through the media and highlight multi-sector violence prevention work. The materials and activities from this phase will stand on their own, but also be the foundation for Phase III when BMSG will disseminate a media advocacy toolkit and work with Prevention Institute to establish a media network that is equipped to change local discourse and influence systems-level changes that prevent violence among youth.
Voices for Healthy Kids Food Marketing Workgroup Hub
BMSG, in partnership with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), leads the Marketing Matters hub for the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Voices for Healthy Kids Initiative. BMSG and CSPI provide leadership and coordination; public policy expertise; coalition support with the Food Marketing Workgroup; technical assistance to advocates working on food marketing advocacy campaigns focused on improving restaurant kids' meals and food marketing in schools; and communications support.