Helen Wang

Entertainment-education for health promotion and social change, communication technology, social networks, intervention design and evaluation.

Helen Wang stands in front of screen holding an image up of the show "East Los High" with a white background behind her.

Photo credit: Douglas Levere

“Transmedia storytelling can be an effective health intervention by role-modeling through characters and storylines. ”
Helen Wang
Associate Professor

“East Los High,” a pioneering transmedia edutainment program purposely designed to address issues of reproductive and sexual health among teens, is demonstrating the power and potential of leveraging entertainment media for health promotion and social change.

Using analytics tracking, a viewer survey and a laboratory experiment, Helen Wang, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Communication in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, and her co-author Arvind Singhal, PhD, professor of communication and director of the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Texas at El Paso, studied the audience reach, engagement, and impact of the Emmy-nominated program’s first season.

The results, published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), suggest the program’s sexual and reproductive messaging had a strong cognitive, emotional and social influence on its target audience of young Latinos.

AJPH is a high impact journal in public health with an impact factor of 4.138. This article has been selected the 2017 AJPH Editor’s Choice Award – Best Paper of the Year. It will be featured in the December issue along with other award winners.

See original press release here.

See 60 Seconds with Helen Wang in AtBuffalo.

See the NPR Code Switch report on the project here

Helen Wang also represented UB Communication Department in the “What is Excellence?” video at the award ceremony in October 2016 when she received the UB Exceptional Scholars – Young Investigator Award. You can download the video here.