Posted on 20 February 2018
CGHH Research Fellow and Deputy Director Dr Alexander Medcalf’s open access article ‘Between art and information: communicating world health, 1948–70’ has now been published in the Journal of Global History (Volume 13, Issue 1 (2018), pp. 94-120) and is available to view online via Cambridge Core.
The article examines the World Health Organization’s emergent attitudes to public information. This term covered the multiple strategies used to communicate with the public, educating people and informing them about the health situation around the world as part of the enduring fight against disease. This process was rarely straightforward and required the agency not only monitor the impact of its own efforts but also to identify opportunities to further enhance its reputation.
The article begins by recounting the story of Marlon Brando's film group, Pennebaker Productions' pitch for a film based on the UN's work. How this was discussed and debated in the WHO frames the agency's subsequent attitudes to promoting its work and mission in and via mass media platforms.
This research was supported by the Wellcome Trust (Grant No. 097737/Z/11/Z), and part-funded by the Wellcome Trust (ref: 105624) through the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2) at the University of York.
Read more about Alexander Medcalf's work via his staff profile.