William N. Ryerson is founder and president of Population Media Center (PMC), an organization that strives to improve the health and well being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies. He also serves as chair and CEO of The Population Institute in Washington, DC. In developing countries, PMC creates long-running serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience resulting in positive behavior change. The emphasis of the organization’s work is to educate people about the benefits of small families, encourage the use of effective family planning methods, elevate women’s status, prevent exploitation of children and promote avoidance of HIV infection.
Ryerson received a BA in biology (Magna Cum Laude) from Amherst College and an MPhil in biology from Yale University (focused on Ecology and Evolution). He served as director of the Population Institute’s Youth and Student Division, development director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, associate director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and executive vice president of Population Communications International before founding Population Media Center in 1998. Ryerson has a 41-year history of working in the field of reproductive health.