Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and practices Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Pediatrician, researcher, father, and filmmaker, Dr. Rich is the Founder and Director of the Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) and the first evidence-based medical program addressing physical, mental and social health issues associated with digital technology, the Clinic for Interactive Media and Internet Disorders (CIMAID). As The Mediatrician®, Dr. Rich offers research-based, balanced and practical answers to parents’, teachers’, and clinicians’ questions about children’s media use and the positive and negative implications for their health and development.
Dr. Rich came to medicine after a 12-year career as a filmmaker, including apprenticing to Akira Kurosawa as assistant director on Kagemusha. His experience and expertise in medicine and media synergize in his health research and clinical work. Dr. Rich has innovated two major research methodologies: Dr. Rich was honored by the Society for Adolescent Medicine with their New Investigator Award in 1998 for developing Video Intervention/Prevention Assessment (VIA), which explored the illness experience of children “from the inside out” through patient-created video diaries; Measurement of Youth Media Exposure (MYME) is a multimodal method, combining, in a smartphone app, ecological momentary assessment, time-use diaries, and video surveys, that measures participants’ active use of and ambient exposure to all audiovisual media over the course of one week. Repeated annually, along with comprehensive measures of health and development, in a prospective longitudinal design a lá the Framingham Heart Study, MYME follows temporal relationships among the media youth use, how they use them, and their short- and long-term well-being. MYME has been implemented with adolescents in the Manchester Media Study and with children 2-7 years old in #MorePlayToday, assessing the influence on cognitive, social-emotional and executive function development of different types of play as young children moved between offline and online environments. Dr. Rich’s innovative child health research has been featured on the 2019 Diane Sawyer special, Screentime and has been reported in major national and international press, from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to CNN to NPR. Dr. Rich has authored policy statements on media and child health for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), testified on the scientific findings about media effects on child development and health to state legislatures, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Congress. He has received the AAP Holroyd-Sherry Award for contributions to knowledge and policy addressing children’s and adolescents’ use of media, served as the AAP’s Media Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, received the Peace Islands Institute Media Award for excellence in the field, the Family Online Safety Institute Award for outstanding achievement, and was the 2017 Litt Visiting Professor of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Cognizant of the potency of the image and of the primacy of electronic and print media as a source of information and influence, Dr. Rich studies media as a force that powerfully affects child health and behavior and uses media technologies as tools for medical research, education, health care policy, and patient empowerment.