ZYGO is a joint program of the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study and the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics. The series is organized by USC students in health and medicine who seek dialogue with USC faculty across disciplines in order to increase the integration of ethical themes into their curriculum.
Medically themed TV shows cover a wide range of genres; they include comedies such as Scrubs, dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy, and soap operas such as General Hospital—the longest-running American soap opera currently in production. However, the scientific-relevance of presented treatments is often difficult to grasp and may well be inaccurate. Research presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in 2010 accordingly found that 46 percent of seizure cases depicted on medical dramas were subject to inappropriate treatments. Additionally, American news outlets are often criticized for presenting health-related news items in a sensationalist and distorted manner. Panelists for this event will consider the relationship between health issues and their representations in the media. Do TV producers and filmmakers have any ethical obligations to accurately present medical cases? How do current depictions of health on TV and in the news impact the way viewers seek out and view medical treatment?
Moderator: Varun Awasthi, ZYGO Student Director
Doe Mayer, Mary Pickford Professor of Film and Television, USC School of Cinematic Arts, and Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Armine Kourouyan, MPH, Project Manager, Hollywood, Health & Society, USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center
Lara Bradshaw, Ph.D. Student, Critical Studies, USC School of Cinematic Arts
William Reckner, Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles