Sandra de Castro Buffington

Sandra de Castro Buffington is a pioneering force in entertainment for social change. As founding director of the UCLA Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI) at the Fielding School of Public Health, Sandra infuses television, movies, music and new media with socially provocative storylines to improve health and well being worldwide.

She works extensively with Hollywood, Bollywood, and other creative capitals of the world to inspire and develop storylines that have profound impact on popular culture. In partnership with the Writers Guild of America West, Sandra connects writers and producers to experts on immigration, mass incarceration, racial justice, LGBTQ/gender equality, public health, and sustainability to inspire and inform their scripts. As an acclaimed public speaker and leading authority on storytelling for social good, Sandra inspires and catalyzes audiences worldwide.

As the former director of Hollywood, Health & Society at USC, Sandra provided resources to Hollywood’s creative community with the goal of improving the accuracy of health-related storylines on top television programs and films, resulting in 565 storylines that aired on 91 television shows across 35 networks from 2009-2012. For her work, Sandra was named by PODER Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in America” in 2012.

Sandra created a global network of centers for entertainment for social change, with Hollywood as the hub. In India, she launched the first global center in collaboration with the Asian Center for Entertainment Education, which is serving as a free resource for accurate health and social impact information for the Indian film and TV industries. She also launched, in collaboration with Nollywood Labs, a global center in Nigeria to work with the Nollywood film industry to create storylines with positive impact on health.

Formerly Vice President of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), Sandra guided the flagship WomenLead program to equip, mobilize and empower women globally and nurtured a network of 5,000 alumni in 140 countries. With USAID, she led the development of a $250 million strategic framework for global health leadership and management and managed a $108 million portfolio of strategic communication programs worldwide. She coordinated the first International Entertainment for Social Change conference in Los Angeles, and co-sponsored the 5th EE conference in New Delhi, India, to leverage the power of the entertainment industry and expertise of health experts for social transformation

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