sandra de castro buffington
Sandra de Castro Buffington is a global leader in entertainment for social change and transformational media. As Founder and President of StoryAction, LLC, and Founder and former Director of UCLA’s Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI), Sandra infuses television, movies, music and new media with socially provocative storylines to improve health, well-being, social justice and cultural transformation worldwide. She works extensively with Hollywood and creative capitals of India, Egypt, China and beyond to inspire and develop storylines that have profound impact on consciousness and behavior.
Sandra’s signature Story Tour series and Writers Guild panels inspire writers and producers to create storylines on nonviolence, climate change, health, social justice and gender equality to inspire and inform their scripts. Sandra magnifies impact of entertainment media on popular culture and social policy by building campaigns around storylines in television, movies and emerging media. Her research measures the impact of pro-social storylines on viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior.
As the former director of USC’s Hollywood, Health & Society, Sandra provided resources to Hollywood’s creative community with the goal of improving the accuracy of health-related storylines on top television programs and films, resulting in 565 storylines that aired on 91 television shows across 35 networks from 2009-2012. For her work, Sandra was named by PODER Magazine as one of “The Nation’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics” in 2012.
Sandra created a global network of centers for social impact entertainment, with Hollywood as the hub. In India, she launched the first global center in collaboration with the Asian Center for Entertainment Education, which is serving as a free resource for accurate health and social impact information for the Indian film and TV industries. She also launched a global center with Nollywood Workshops to work with Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, to create storylines with positive impact on health and well-being.
Formerly Vice President of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), Sandra guided the flagship WomenLead program to equip, mobilize and empower women globally and nurtured a network of 5,000 alumni in 140 countries. With USAID, she led the development of a $250 million strategic framework for global health leadership and management and managed a $108 million portfolio of strategic communication programs worldwide. She coordinated the first ever International Entertainment for Social Change conference in Los Angeles, and co-sponsored the entertainment education conference in New Delhi, India, to leverage the power of the entertainment industry and expertise of health experts for social transformation worldwide. With the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Sandra launched an award-winning vasectomy promotion campaign in Brazil, earning seven international advertising awards including a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Film Festival and Gold Medal at the London International Advertising Awards.
Sandra has received numerous honors and awards including the Female Eye Film Festival’s 2015 Honorary Maverick Award and Best In The Biz Tribute, World Film Institute’s 2014 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, USAID Maximizing Access and Quality Outstanding Achievement Award, and Brazil’s Award for Leadership in Bahia State. She is a former associate faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and a past Board member of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation. She served on the boards of Harvard Medical School’s Personal Genomics Education Project, Venice Arts, Women @ The Frontier, and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. She is Brazilian-American, fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and proficient in French. Sandra seeks to elevate consciousness, and improve health, justice and well-being worldwide.