Esta de Fossard-Nelson
Esta de Fossard-Nelson

BA (Melb), M.Ed (Xavier University Graduate School Cincinnati USA)

Esta de Fossard-Nelson’s (Hall ’50) ground-breaking use of radio and television programs to encourage behaviour change has shaped the field of entertainment education. She has helped people learn how it is possible to make their lives, and the lives of their family and children, healthier, happier and more positive.

After attaining her Bachelor of Arts, she began teaching and also tutoring privately at home. Esta was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in the US for one year and was invited to return to assist in the creation of educational television programs. The Academy of Education Development in Washington DC then employed her to develop educational programs for radio and television in over 50 developing countries. This led to a lifetime of international work where Esta applied her versatile talents to tackle pressing global issues such as HIV, malaria and maternal and child health, for which she received several awards.

Esta is widely experienced in radio and television writing, production and has been a consultant to Discovery Channel, National Public Radio, and Barney programs. She is also the author of more than 50 published books in both children’s literature and text books. This included an unprecedented trilogy of education entertainment textbooks, as well as a prize winner in the Australian Children’s Book Awards for Puffing Billy (Lansdowne Press 1978).

At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, her work contributed significantly to the Centre for Communication Programs, where she spent a decade of her prolific career. Her enduring legacy was her design approach to developing entertainment education programs, which continues to be used around the globe today. Esta’s global contributions to public health have been immeasurable and to honour her decades of outstanding leadership and service, the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association selected Esta as a 2014 recipient of the Heritage Award.

Esta has two children. She met her second husband Harvey Nelson – the American Ambassador in Swaziland at the time – when she was working in Africa. Esta currently lives in the United States.

November 2015