Bill Ryerson (Immigration)
President of the Population Media Center in Shelburne, Vermont
The life work of Bill Ryerson has saved and improved countless lives in numerous countries around the world. A pioneer in global reproductive health issues, he has accumulated nearly 40 years of experience in the field and has used the Sabido methodology for 20 of those years to encourage behavior change in a variety of cultural settings. He also co-designed the research measuring the results of such projects, including the assessment of family planning and HIV/AIDS avoidance in Tanzania. William Ryerson founded and serves as President of Population Media Center, based in Shelburne, Vermont, and has acted as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Population Institute, which has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The Population Media Center, as developed by Bill Ryerson, employs multiple media strategies to educate local populations about reproductive health and sexual behavior. The organization works with government and nongovernment entities as well as with radio and television broadcasters to identify cultural issues and attitudes related to sexual risk-taking. The groups also collaborate in assessing the barriers that prevent the mass media from effectively addressing reproductive health issues, and they work together to create action plans. William Ryerson has produced numerous entertainment education programs, particularly soap operas --- historically the most effective method of changing behaviors.
At the Population Institute, Bill Ryerson has educated key leaders on current events that are affecting the population, including such factors as energy, food, and water shortages; climate change; and national security. He has also worked with policymakers, educators, faith-based and other types of organizations, and news media to keep population concerns at the forefront. A magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, he completed a Master of Philosophy in Biology at Yale University. William Ryerson received the Nafis Sadik Award for Courage from the Rotarian Action Group for Population Growth and Sustainable Development in 2006.