Archived Information

Education Secretary Duncan and HHS Secretary Sebelius Announce Winner of 2009 H1N1 PSA Contest


Contact:  
Press Office, HHS, (202) 690-6343
Press Office, ED, (202) 401-1576


U.S. Secretary of Education (ED) Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius today announced that Dr. John Clarke of Baldwin, N.Y., is the winner of the 2009 H1N1 PSA Contest. More than 50,000 votes were cast by Americans across the country on YouTube. Dr. 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 Do About the Flu town hall meeting held by Obama Administration officials with college students and faculty at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

“We are thrilled that so many Americans got involved in our PSA contest this summer,” said HHS Secretary 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.”

“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,” said Education Secretary Duncan.

The town hall meeting and video contest are part of the Administration's ongoing effort to keep schools and the public informed about H1N1 and steps they can take to stay protected. Today at 1:30 p.m. EDT, The Department of Education, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Ad Council, and Discovery Education will also host a free H1N1 webinar for teachers and their students to learn how they can be prepared this flu season. Educators can register at http://tinyurl.com/H1N1Preparedness

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.

The 2009 H1N1 PSA Contest finalists include:

  • Jason Phillips (San Francisco, Calif.)
  • Gary Ashwal (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Christopher Landy (Ardmore, Pa.)
  • Andrew Starver (La Marida, Calif.)
  • Dr. John Clarke (Baldwin, N.Y.)
  • Joan Porter (Oak Park, Mich.)
  • Luke Eddy (West Point, Utah)
  • Christopher Cymbalak (Leland, N.C.)

The 2009 H1N1 Contest PSAs are part of an initiative to provide practical steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help prevent the spread of the flu virus and other infectious disease, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Keep your distance from others if you are sick.
  • 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.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

For more information on how to take steps to prevent the flu, visit www.flu.gov. Visit www.ready.gov to learn about simple steps individuals can take to develop their own emergency plans. Again, to register for today's webinar, visit http://tinyurl.com/H1N1Preparedness