National Academies Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms

In October 2014 Vicky Rideout was appointed to a standing committee of the National Research Council, part of the National Academies.  The purpose of the Committee is to assist the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement strategies to improve public attitudes and beliefs about mental health and substance abuse disorders.   In the wake of the tragic death of comedian Robin Williams, it is our honor to serve on this Committee and help inform the government's efforts on this critical topic.  Changing social norms is a challenging business; the Committee's task is to explore the scientific research that can help inform our efforts. 


As of 2013, Vicky Rideout was named editor of Reviews and Commentary for the Journal of Children and Media. Here are a few great pieces from the Journal you can access for free online:

A commentary by New America’s Lisa Guernsey about translating research to the public, with a case study about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations on “Facebook Depression.”

A review of danah boyd’s It’s Complicated and Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s The App Generation, by June Ahn.

An article about the effects of background TV on child-directed speech by parents, by Tiffany Pempek, Heather Kirkorian, and Dan Anderson.   


October 2014:  Presentation about trends in digital media use among young children, and the ongoing importance of the digital divide, at the Digital Kids Summit. Watch a video of the presentation here 


July 2014:  Panel presentation at the Casual Connect conference in San Francsico.  Read the article "Vicky Rideout Believes in the Power of Media," or watch the panel video here.

June 2014:  Luncheon speaker at the Association of American Publishers conference Content in Context.  


March 2013:  Participated in a panel discussion with Participant Media, The Ad Council, and others at SXSW Interactive in Austin. Topic: Content integration for social causes. Listen to Podcast >

July 2012:  Spoke at The Aspen Institute Children’s Forum, on a panel about video games and health.

May 2012:  Served on The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, in collaboration with HBO’s series The Weight of the NationRead the Committee’s reportwatch the HBO specials, or read the New England Journal of Medicine’s commentary on our Committee’s recommendations.

September, 2012:  Panelist at the Department of Health and Human Services Symposium Technology and Human Services.

A study for Northwestern University about teens' use of digital health information and tools, including medical websites, social media, health-related apps, and wearable devices.  (Spring, 2015)


A study for Common Sense Media on media use among 8- to 18-year-olds. (Fall, 2015)


A study for the Gates Foundation with Kevin Clark (George Mason University) and Kimberly Scott (Arizona State University) about access to, use of, and attitudes about digital technology among African-American youth. (2014-2016)


A study with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Vikki Katz (Rutgers), also for the Gates Foundation, about technology use and attitudes in Hispanic families with children in the K-8th grades. (2015)

The Stupski Foundation was planning a large new initiative to promote student ownership of learning – engaging at-risk youth in reforming their own class-rooms and learning environments.  But they needed a way to communicate about this work, and an umbrella concept to tie together their network of partners across the country.  VJR Consulting worked with the Foundation to plan a re-branding of their work, providing the strategic branding insights to help make the project a success.

Futures Without Violence
Esta Soler is a visionary leader.  For the past 30 years, she has led Futures Without Violence (previously The Family Violence Prevention Fund), one of the nation’s most effective organizations working to prevent domestic and sexual violence.  But as the group transitioned to a new name and a new location, she wanted a partner to help think through how to build an in-house communications department that would suit the needs of this multi-faceted organization.  VJR Consulting conducted interviews with senior staff, assessed the group’s needs and capacities, and developed a road map for Esta to follow as she launched the next phase of her organization’s pioneering work.

The NO MORE Project
In December 2009, a group of some of the country’s leading funders and activists in the domestic violence and sexual assault movement came together to talk about how to take their issues higher on the national agenda:  to raise the visibility of their cause, bring it out of the shadows and into the light.  They came up with an idea: to create a “brand” – a visual icon – for members of the public to use to express their concern about the issue.  Then they hired VJR Consulting to help make that vision a reality.   We organized “think tanks” with leaders from the worlds of branding, marketing, and media; developed criteria and goals for the new symbol; brought a leading brand design firm on board; established an organizational structure for the effort; conducted consumer research, and developed a strategic plan for implementation.  Click here to learn more about the project.

Common Sense Media Research Department
The executive staff of Common Sense Media, the leading provider of “common sense” media ratings and reviews for parents, knew they wanted to expand their work into a new direction:  to develop their own in-house research department on children and media.  But they needed a strategic plan: How should they build their organizational capacity to support the new work?  What type of research should they focus on, and – just as importantly – what kind should they avoid?  How could a research department not only help fulfill their mission, but also serve as a branding and marketing tool for the organization?  VJR Consulting provided the strategic vision to help Common Sense move from concept to implementation.  Liz Perle, Editor-In-Chief of Common Sense Media, says “Vicky Rideout is in a class by herself when it comes to strategic thinking…She presented our organization with a brilliant and achievable road map for all future research.”