GUN VIOLENCE: A Public Health Hazard

GUN VIOLENCE: A Public Health Hazard



GUN VIOLENCE: A Public Health Hazard” is a proposed long-form documentary for public television and educational distribution that looks at gun violence as a public health crisis that can be solved.


Public Health Crisis: The Goal of Gun Violence Reduction

Last year, over 36,000 Americans died from gun violence. How do we stop the carnage? For years, the medical/healthcare community has wanted to frame the issue as a public health/medical issue. We concur. It is our belief that, while no single approach will solve this complex problem, the intelligent and strategic use of media can begin to re-frame the issue to create a new environment of understanding and positive action. We must pivot away from blaming those who disagree with us. We must be for something positive to effectively deliver our message of reform. Certainly, saving lives is such a universally shared goal.


The challenge is how we begin. Collect the existing intellectual capital; sift it with a Board of Advisors; craft new content seen—and framed—differently. Our proposed public television documentary, combined with strategic educational and community outreach, as well as a companion book, defines gun violence as a disease that, over time, can be treated with advances in technology, science, healthcare, innovative public health programs as well as with K-12 educational curricula.


Upstream intervention has been successful with a number of public health issues including a reduction in automobile deaths caused by drunk drivers. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers ( coined the phrase: “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.” The concept of the “designated driver” was imported to the United States on a large scale in 1988 through the Harvard Alcohol Project, an initiative by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication, led by Dr. Jay Winsten. In effect, they changed their approach – and others — by creating less threatening, non-inflammatory language to deal with a potentially incendiary issue.  Our goal will be to seek similar paths.


The Media Policy Center is a non-profit 501c3 organization founded in 2002 with a mission to inform, educate, challenge, and engage a responsive citizenry in improving their communities and civil society. MPC fulfills its mission by researching and developing, documenting and promoting a new spirit of cooperation among neighbors, community leaders, civic organizations, elected officials, and government agencies. Convinced that greater understanding engenders greater community engagement, the organization uses its unique media outreach model to spread the seeds of inspired solutions and sustain interest and dialogue over time to achieve profound systemic change. It leverages media for positive social, economic and political change.

Research & Development

MPC works in several phases, the first being the R&D Fact-Finding Phase. Both a written and video report would be produced and affirmed by our advisors before being introduced to our funders. MPC will visit locations across the country to research and recommend content. These reports would take 4-6 months and would be budgeted at $50,000-100,000, depending on location travel and staff size. A production schedule, and budget for the special public television broadcast, post-production timeline, and comprehensive outreach strategy would be part of the final R&D Report.

The Gun Violence Reduction Project

Staff Coordination with PBS, local educational institutions, and grassroots organizations:

  • Outreach to consumer, environmental, educational, professional, religious, and civic organizations:

Includes the creation of a strategic plan and guide for local and regional coordination with PBS and its 300+ local stations; creation and distribution of a national monthly Gun Violence Reduction (GVR) electronic newsletter.

Develop and coordinate local community coalitions:

Customized approaches to educational and community-based outreach. Link to high schools, community colleges and higher education institutions. Coordinate efforts with non-profits and the business community.

  • Streaming:

Our educational distributor is Kanopy Films. With both the 1-2 hour documentary and the shorter collections of the Video Resource Library we can reach out to K-12 classrooms and community groups to carry on the conversation.

  • Web site development:

Webmaster for the building, design, and operation of national project website: coordination and promotion of nation-wide grass roots programs.

PBS Station Outreach:

Coordination with local, regional, and national government and NGOs over the broadcast period re the creation of electronic press kits, local Viewers Guides, and the production of on-air promos

6) Database Support:

Includes the creation of customized database with input from local PBS stations, community coalitions and national partner information in order to create an effective and accessible Gun Violence Reduction Network. We are working with Knoema located in Austin TX that specializes in data-point analysis.

7) Promotion and Publicity:

MPC will coordinate media campaign for the GVR Project in all forms of media including radio, television, print (magazines, newspapers, journals) and throughout PBS.

Project Content

  • PBS Television Broadcast of the full-length documentary
  • Interactive Website Devoted to:
    1. Video Resource Library
    2. Grassroots and Youth Journalist Uploads
    3. Professional Development Programs
    4. Educational Online Games
  • Community screenings
  • Online MOOCs for Universities and Law Schools
  • Companion book(s) and community guides
  • Classroom study guides
  • Academic Conferences
  • Electronic Newsletter devoted to the reduction of gun violence
  • National and Local Televised Town Hall Meetings

Executive Producers/Directors

Executive Producer/Director: Harry Wiland is the Co-President and Co-CEO of Media Policy Center (MPC) ( in Santa Monica, CA. He graduated Brooklyn College with a major in Chemistry and from Columbia University with a MFA in Film & Television. Wiland has produced and directed public television and multimedia for over 35 years. With business partner, Dale Bell, they founded the 501c3 Media Policy Center and developed its media model. Wiland has been a Director Member of the Directors Guild of America since 1985, and a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences since 2003. In 2006, he and Dale Bell were elected Ashoka Lifetime Fellows (; they are the only media professionals and the only business partnership to be so honored. Current public television projects include Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic, and Our Kids hosted by Harvard Professor Robert Putnam.

Executive Producer/Director: Dale Bell is Co-President and Co-CEO of Media Policy Center (MPC). He graduated from Princeton University with a BA, majoring in Modern Languages & Theatre. Among his many credits, he was a Producer of the Academy Award-winning film Woodstock (1970). Bell has produced public television and multimedia for over 50 years. His work has won the Peabody, two Emmys, four BAFTAs, and two Christopher awards. With Harry Wiland, he founded MPC and developed its media model. He has been the Co-Executive Producer of all of MPC’s major productions. He has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1974 and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences since 1977. In 2006, he and Harry were elected Ashoka Lifetime Fellows (; they are the only media professionals and the only business partnership to be inducted. Current public television projects include Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic, and Our Kids hosted by Harvard Professor Robert Putnam.

Dr. Richard Jackson: Dr. Jackson is a Professor emeritus at the Fielding School of Public Health and the University of California, Los Angeles. A pediatrician, for nine years he was Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and served as the State Health Officer for the California Health Department. Dr. Jackson lectures and speaks on many issues, particularly those related to environment and health. He has co-authored the books: Urban Sprawl and Public Health, Making Healthy Places, and Designing Healthy Communities for which he hosted a four-hour PBS series. He has served on many environmental and health boards, as well as the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects. He is a member of the American Academy of Medicine.

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