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HHS discusses initiatives prompted by President Obama's Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government


WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday described how the agency is following through on President Barack Obama’s three principles for promoting a transparent and open government — transparency, participation and collaboration — citing the YouTube PSA contest for promoting the H1N1 vaccine as one example. Other examples included information streaming of HHS biomedical research innovation and IdeaLab, an Web-based peer-to-peer program that serves as a clearinghouse for collaborative networking for employees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“These examples illustrate our commitment to the President’s vision of promoting accountability, collaboration and public engagement,” stated HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “By working together in a transparent manner, we have developed programs that are making real contributions to creating and adopting impactful solutions that protect and improve people’s health.”

The “YouTube Know What to Do About the Flu and Prevention PSA Contest” reached populations most vulnerable to the H1N1 flu virus — young teens and adults — to take proactive actions such as washing your hands and getting a flu shot. The PSA contest provided a venue to encourage families and students to get involved and reached a large audience with a creative outlet and humor, on a serious subject. More than 250 videos were submitted for review and the winning PSA was featured on national television. 

“Our PSA Contest tapped the creativity and energy that thrives on YouTube,” stated acting assistant secretary for public affairs Jenny Backus. “We engaged people and they in turn engaged each other.  Our important messages about how to prevent the flu reached a new audience of people at increased risk from the H1N1 virus.”

These initiatives are in direct response to the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government the President issued on Jan. 21.

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