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Washington, D.C., September 30, 2009 (PAHO)—Sesame Workshop, which produces Plaza Sésamo and other educational programs that reach millions of children worldwide, has been given the "2009 Champion of Health" award by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Since 2003, PAHO and Sesame Workshop have been collaborating in a partnership encouraging parents and their children throughout the Americas to participate in Vaccination Week in the Americas.  Through this partnership, PAHO's messages encouraging vaccination have reached over 147 million children and adults.

PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses and Sesame Street's Elmo (Photo by Harold Ruiz - PAHO/WHO)

In an award ceremony, PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses  said, "This year I am pleased to announce that the Sesame Workshop has earned this distinction as our new 'Champion of Health'. This is the nonprofit educational organization behind Plaza Sésamo."

Abelardo, Lola, Pancho and other beloved Muppets from Plaza Sésamo have been featured in Public Service Announcements (PSAs), posters, flyers and stickers in PAHO's 4 official languages.  These characters have broad appeal throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, where Sesame Street and Plaza Sésamo are widely viewed.

Dr. Roses said PAHO gives this award "to exceptional individuals or organizations who use their influence and prestige to help raise public awareness about PAHO's work and its health programs in 48 territories and countries in the Americas and worldwide. The Champions of Health help us expand awareness and understanding of these issues through prevention campaigns, public service announcements and video news releases.



Sesame Workshop's partnership with PAHO compliments their recently launched Plaza Sésamo "Healthy Habits for Life initiative", which encourages children in Latin America to exercise, eat healthy foods and develop healthy habits that are simple and fun and can be practiced forever."

Sesame Workshop's vice-president of International Education, Research and Outreach, Dr. Charlotte Cole, said, "On behalf of Sesame Workshop, I'd like to thank the Pan American Health Organization for this recognition. Sesame Workshop shares your mission to better the lives of children and we are pleased to harness the power of the beloved muppets of Sesame Street and Plaza Sésamo to impart important health messages to children and their families throughout the Americas."

"For 40 years, Sesame Workshop has produced high quality educational media for children.  For the past three, we have been proud to participate in the Vaccination Week in the Americas.  Together, we are reaching families with fun and simple, but vital messages of international importance," Dr. Cole said in a ceremony at the Pan American Health and Education Foundation's awards dinner here.

"Sesame Street is perhaps best known for offering children an engaging way to learn fundamentals like the abc's and 123s.  But from the beginning, we have applied a whole-child approach that speaks to a full range of educational needs and health has always been at the core of our work.  Several years ago, we developed a comprehensive multi-media campaign called "healthy habits for life."  Through this initiative, we have developed a range of content for Plaza Sésamo that focuses on healthy eating, exercise and self-esteem," she added.

From the left: Gema Jara, Education Specialist, Plaza Sesamo, Televisa; Javier Williams, Executive-Producer, Plaza Sesamo, Televisa; Daniel Labin, Project Director, Sesame Workshop; Marie-Cecile Girard, Project Director, Plaza Sesamo, Sesame Workshop; Ginger Brown, Executive Producer, Plaza Sesamo, Sesame Workshop; and Dr. Charlotte Cole, Vice-President, International Research, Sesame Workshop. (Photo by Harold Ruiz - PAHO/WHO)

Sesame Workshop, which has produced Sesame Street for the last 40 years, launched Plaza Sésamo in 1972. The Spanish-language series features many of the classic Muppets of Sesame Street as well as original Latin American characters such as Abelardo, Lola, and Pancho Contreras. Studio segments are co-produced in Mexico by Sesame Workshop and Televisa.

Sesame Workshop's Plaza Sésamo is available throughout Latin America on Discovery Kids and broadcast throughout the Americas. Sesame Workshop's programming is seen in more than 140 countries worldwide.  The organization works with local directors, producers, writers, and child-development experts to produce content that is engaging, enriching, and culturally relevant in different countries of the world.

PAHO Champions of Health help expand awareness and understanding of health issues through prevention campaigns, public service announcements and video news releases. Champions deliver health messages that motivate broad audiences including government officials, policymakers, the media, communities and the general public.

The distinction "Champion of Health" is awarded by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to exceptional organizations and individuals who use their influence and prestige to help raise public awareness about PAHO's work and its health programs in 48 territories and countries in the Americas and worldwide.

Using their talents, charisma and international or national recognition, a number of prominent celebrities have joined PAHO to promote public health in such areas as vaccination, safe blood, HIV, disaster preparedness, tobacco control, alcohol abuse and domestic violence, and maternal and child health, among others.

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The Pan American Health Organization, founded in 1902, works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. It serves as the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO).


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Last Updated on Friday, 09 October 2009 03:49

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