U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that the Department of Health & Human Services is joining the Ad Council and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, to launch a national public service advertising campaign designed to encourage American families and children to take steps to protect themselves from the 2009 H1N1 flu virus and continue to practice healthy habits. As part of HHS and the Ad Council’s campaign, Sesame Workshop produced a television PSA featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo and Gordon explaining the importance of healthy habits such as washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and sneezing into the bend of your arm.
A new PSA (above) featuring Elmo & Gordon from “Sesame Street” focusing on helping families protect themselves from the H1N1 flu.
The campaign was unveiled this morning by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the HHS/Department of Education Childcare Center in Washington, D.C. The PSAs will be distributed nationwide today and will be supported in airtime donated by television stations.Â ”We are doing everything we can to protect public health and teach children how they can stay healthy and safe,” said Sebelius. “Elmo, Gordon, Sesame Workshop, and the Ad Council are delivering an important message to our kids.”
The new PSA campaign focuses on the importance of providing parents, teachers and children with accurate information about how to practice healthy habits, highlighting proper hand-washing and simple everyday actions that lead to staying healthy and keeping germs away. Created by Sesame Workshop, the television PSAs encourage audiences to visit www.cdc.gov to get more information on how to stay healthy. The PSAs are an extension of Sesame’s Healthy Habits for Life initiative, which helps young children and their caregivers establish an early foundation of healthy habits.
Last year, Elmo and Gordon’s colleague Grover was kind enough to shoot a video for this blog’s “What Should We Tell The Public?” series.
The PSAs are part of an initiative to provide practical steps recommended by CDC to help prevent the spread of the flu virus and other infectious disease, including:
Ã˜ Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Ã˜ Keep your distance from others if you are sick.
Ã˜ When possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick, and don’t send your children to childcare or school if they are sick.
Ã˜ Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Ã˜ Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing.
Ã˜ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
“Since the outbreak of the H1N1 flu, many Americans have expressed concern about how they can protect themselves from being infected,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services for this critical campaign that will educate parents and children about how to stay healthy. We are also grateful to Sesame Workshop for providing their resources and talent for the PSAs.”
The Ad Council will be distributing the PSAs via satellite to television stations nationwide.Â ”Whether you are learning to read or count, facing natural disasters, or practicing healthy habits, Sesame Workshop combines our expert research with the power of Muppets to provide children and their families with the tools they need to cope with what is going on in their communities,” said Melvin Ming, Chief Operating Officer, Sesame Workshop. “As part of our Healthy Habits for Life Initiative and in partnership with HHS and Ad Council, we are servicing a PSA and supplemental materials to generate awareness on how kids and families can lead healthier lives.”
The Ad Council has been partnering with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to develop PSA campaigns that address critical health issues since the 1950s. Their successful collaborations have included public service messages about the polio epidemic, drug abuse and, more recently, obesity prevention.