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'Hip-hop doc' wins flu PSA contest


FAIRFAX, Va. A rhyming and rapping “hip-hop doc” will soon be reaching out to Americans around the importance of washing hands and other flu-etiquette techniques through the Department of Health and Human Services’ public-service-announcement contest.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday announced that Dr. John Clarke of Baldwin, N.Y., took top honors of the 2009 H1N1 PSA Contest. More than 50,000 votes were cast by Americans across the country on YouTube, Sebelius said.

“We are thrilled that so many Americans got involved in our PSA contest this summer,” stated Sebelius. “I want to congratulate Dr. Clarke, the ‘hip hop doc,’ for producing his creative and engaging video. His work will reach millions of Americans this flu season to remind them how to stay healthy.”

Clarke will receive a $2,500 cash prize and his ad will be broadcast on national television. The announcement was made at a What To About the Flu town hall meeting held by Obama administration officials with college students and faculty at George Mason University.

“The PSA contest has been an excellent way for us to get the public’s help in spreading the word about H1N1 prevention. We had several outstanding videos and I applaud everyone who submitted an entry. Our winner, Dr. Clarke, combined good music with good science in a way that we hope will help keep people safe and healthy this flu season,” added Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

In July, the Department of Health and Human Services teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education to launch a national public service advertising campaign designed to encourage American children and families to practice healthy habits and to take steps to prevent the spread of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.

Over 240 videos were submitted by the August deadline, after which a panel of experts narrowed the field to 10 finalists. Over the last two weeks, Americans weighed in to vote for their favorite PSA on YouTube.  In the winning video, Dr. Clarke performed an original rap on how to prevent the spread of the flu. Dr. Clarke is the medical director for the Long Island Railroad, and his PSA was videotaped at the Mineola, N.Y., railroad station.

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