MEDIA LITERACY EDUCATION
University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
Cable System: Cox Communications
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"Everyone needs media literacy skills with which they can thoughtfully and safely navigate the millions of media messages coming to us every day, especially the many mixed messages about health topics."
Dr. Lynda Bergsma's media literacy work began in 1991 with a 3-year, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Substance Abuse and Media (SAM) Project. She learned about media literacy education as a promising drug abuse prevention strategy, and quickly realized that it was what she had been looking for to enhance the effectiveness of her health promotion efforts. Seventeen years later, now an assistant professor at the University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and founder and director of the Media Wise Initiative, she continues to provide media literacy education as a health promotion strategy for children, youth and families. Her work includes planning and implementing programs, developing curricula, providing training and consulting services, and conducting research on the impact of our media culture on public health, health-promoting media literacy education and media literacy as an essential component of health literacy in a digital age.
In addition to her academic duties, Dr. Bergsma has been Principal Investigator on several health-promoting media literacy education projects, including her recent Media Wise Families pilot research project to explore the efficacy of a family media literacy education program focused on preventing tobacco and alcohol use/abuse. A nationally recognized author and speaker, she is a founding board member and immediate past president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (formerly the Alliance for a Media Literate America). She has a BHSC in nutrition, a Masters Degree in health education and a PhD in higher education and sociology from the University of Arizona.
In 2008 Dr. Bergsma received a National Association for Media Literacy Education Appreciation Award, and in 2006 the Andrew W. Nichols Award for distinguished rural and border health service from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.