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Lori ​Dorfman, DrPH, MPH

Adjunct Professor, Health and Social Behavior
Lori Dorfman is Adjunct Professor of Health and Social Behavior whose research examines media portrayals of public health issues such as: alcohol, tobacco, food, children’s health, violence and health inequities.
Phone: (510) 204-9700
Address: 2130 Center St. Ste. 302
Berkeley, CA 94704


Lori Dorfman, DrPH, MPH, focuses on how communications can best be used to improve population health by creating healthy, equitable environments for every resident. Population-level changes typically require policy change; Dr. Dorfman’s research and teaching focus on how to understand and use communications to help public health practitioners and community advocates engage more effectively in the policymaking process. Dr. Dorfman teaches Mass Communication in Public Health where students learn media advocacy, the strategic use of media to support community organizing and policy advocacy. Dr. Dorfman’s research examines how the media portray health issues, including tobacco, food, children’s health, health inequities and violence, among others.

Dr. Dorfman directs Berkeley Media Studies Group, a project of the Public Health Institute. Since 1993, BMSG has worked with advocates to build their capacity to use media advocacy to focus attention on transforming systems and structures to foster health. Dr. Dorfman was part of a groundbreaking interdisciplinary team that helped news organizations include a public health perspective in their crime and violence coverage. She led a team working with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to uncover the most effective ways to change the public conversation about sexual violence so it includes prevention. With colleagues at Center for Science in the Public Interest, she co-convenes the Food Marketing Workgroup, a national network dedicated to eliminating harmful food marketing by actively identifying, investigating and advocating changes to marketing practices that undermine health. With colleagues at the Center for Digital Democracy, Dr. Dorfman has been conducting research on digital marketing targeting children and youth.

She received her Master of Public Health in 1989 and her Doctor of Public Health degree in 1994, both from the University of California, Berkeley.

Research Interests

  • Media portrayals of public health issues
  • Framing public health
  • Advertising and digital marketing of food and beverages
  • Ethnographic content analysis
  • Intersections between public health and journalism
  • Strategic communication used for policy advocacy
  • Evaluating strategic communication


  • DrPH – University of California, Berkeley, 1994
  • MPH – University of California, Berkeley, 1989
  • BA – Art
    San Francisco State University, 1983


Courses Taught

    • PH204A
    • Mass Communication in Public Health

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