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May 7, 2001
Contact: Vicki Beck
Phone: (760) 431-6765

Press Release

CDC Calls for Entries in Second Annual Competition for Health Storylines in Daytime Drama

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced its second annual competition for the Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama. Any TV daytime drama that originates and airs in the United States and that addresses public health issues is eligible to enter the competition. Entries are due to the CDC Office of Communication by June 30. Finalists will be announced in September and a winner will be announced in October in Santa Monica, Calif. at the Soap Summit conference sponsored by Population Communications International.

"The CDC is working with entertainment TV shows because audiences pay attention to health information and messages conveyed in daily and weekly television dramas, and many regular viewers even act on that information," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC. "This approach is part of our health communications strategy. We are making an effort to partner with TV shows and networks to provide credible background information on a wide range of critical health topics. The shows may use this material for short items in scripts, or they can develop into a longer storyline with major character involvement and health education potential."

The first Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama was given on October 7, 2000 to ABC's One Life To Live, for the storyline titled "Viki’s Breast Cancer," which portrayed early screening for breast cancer detection. Three other finalists were recognized for portrayal of public health topics as well – a car crash and pedestrian injury caused by a drunk driver; the impact of pediatric AIDS; and challenges and stigmas associated with disability.

Each entry is first screened for eligibility by the CDC, and then reviewed by a panel of CDC experts for accuracy of depictions. Finalists move on to a second round of judging by a panel of experts representing entertainment, advocacy, academic and public health organizations. The external panel reviews storylines for entertainment value and potential benefit to the viewing audience.

The Sentinel for Health Award for Daytime Drama is part of a larger Entertainment Education Program which supports CDC health communication efforts through research, education and outreach to entertainment audiences. Producers and writers of T.V. shows can access CDC health information online at


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protects people's health and safety, enhances health decisions by providing credible information, and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships.

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This page last reviewed October 9, 2001

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