Martine Bouman wins Marc Cornelissen | Brightlands Award 2017

The 2017 Marc Cornelissen | Brightlands Award has been awarded to Martine Bouman. Entertainment and education make sure that the supply of information on health and a sustainable lifestyle become more effective. It helps to reduce the major differences in health in this country. According to the jury, Martine Bouman has tapped into a theme that is extremely relevant for today’s society and for future generations.

Reducing socio-economic differences in health Martine Bouman is a special professor of Entertainment Media and Social Change at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and academic director of the Media & Health Center in Gouda. Over 20 years ago, she observed that the lack of effective communication is one of the main factors causing people with a lower socio-economic status to live considerably shorter lives and suffer from health inequalities. More than 1.3 million people have difficulty understanding the information they see in brochures and on websites, and reading and understanding the instructions for the use of medication and living healthy lives, for example. These facts have major consequences for their health and welfare. Reducing socio-economic differences in health is an important driver motivating her work.

Entertainment education as groundbreaking formula She has created connections between the entertainment world, including companies such as Endemol, and the world of health, science and education via television series and online campaigns, research and educational programs. Entertainment education has become a groundbreaking formula that has garnered national and international recognition from business and government. As the winner of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award, Martine Bouman wants to embark on her next “expedition” that will ensure that the new players in the media landscape unite to form a hub focusing on the themes of sustainability, health and social tolerance; these individuals would include screenwriters, serious game designers, storytellers or bloggers. This is what is necessary to ensure that communication is customized to the target audience, and in this way, can make a significant contribution to meeting the challenges in health and sustainability.

Innovative and daring approach Jury chairman Maria van der Hoeven: “We are extremely impressed with Martine Bouman’s work. She has tapped into a theme that is extremely relevant for today’s society and for future generations. Her mission is not yet complete, due in part to a society and media landscape that are subject to change. We were particularly taken with the originality of her approach to this complex set of problems. It is not possible to solve challenges such as these with even more technology. What is really necessary is knowledge and insight into people’s behavior and social context, and mostly, how we can reach them. Martine Bouman has also had the courage to place a more or less secure academic career in the balance, and during her expedition, did not allow herself to be daunted by the philosophy of ‘measurement is key’. Time after time, she managed to complete successful expeditions using a creative approach, making government and business aware of the fact that there are other means necessary to bridge this health gap in society. We would be thrilled if other initiatives in the field of sustainability and health could also benefit from her expertise.

In short, Martine Bouman is working on a process that is bearing fruit, thanks in part to her innovative and daring approach. She shows that she will not quit before her mission is accomplished, and she is well on her way to moving bricks around in the proverbial foundation. She has managed to get a large group of followers with diverse backgrounds and expertise involved.”