Entertainment Education Advocacy Update

Thanks to my well-placed source on the ground in Washington, here is a brief update on the status of the entertainment education funding:

The Senate began consideration of the Labor-HHS bill yesterday and continues today (and possibly tomorrow). Sen. Coburn filed his amendment to eliminate funding for the Entertainment Education program, signaling his intention to offer it at some point during debate on the bill. We do not have a time frame for when Coburn will formally offer the amendment and when the Senate will debate it.

In his column today praising Senator Coburn’s efforts to eliminate pork from the budget (a worthy goal, but misguided in this case), Bob Novak of the Washington Post mentions the “$1.7 million added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget to fund a Hollywood liaison to advise doctor dramas.” This vastly oversimplifies the purpose of the program, and ignores the public health impact that results from collaborating with the entertainment industry to achieve the CDC’s health behavior change goals. If anything, it’s the anti-pork (literally and figuratively).

I just called both my Senators to urge them to oppose Senator Coburn’s pending amendment. If you feel as strongly about defending the value of the entertainment education approach as I do, I hope you will call or email your Senators today as well. I think we especially need people from outside of California to contact your Senators, because most of the efforts so far have been centered in L.A.

To make it even easier for you, here are a couple of sentences you can use as-is or adapt for when you call:

Hi, I’m calling to urge Senator ____ to oppose Senator Coburn’s amendment to the Labor/HHS appropriations bill that would eliminate funding for the CDC’s entertainment education program. This is an effective and cost-efficient public health tool that has been proven to increase health knowledge and healthy behaviors among television viewers. Thank you.

Two minutes per phone call, and we can make this happen. We’ve got the power.

Photo Credit: sazztastical


  1. An alternative is to call or email with just the line of please tell Senator / Representative ____ to support (vote against) bill # ____.

    The reason is because they only COUNT the numbers interested — they really don’t listen or read the reasons.

  2. If the cost of Entertainment Education – especially in terms of cost per person at risk – could be contrasted to the cost of chronic disease, I think legislators would realize what a bargain it is. Pasted below is a link to a great report on the cost of chronic disease with state level data available.

    The Milken Institute published a report on the economic impact of the seven most common chronic diseases calculated up through 2050 using a “business-as-usual” baseline scenario and an optimistic scenario that assumes reasonable improvements in health-related behavior and treatment. The full report with national and state-level calculations can be downloaded at the websites http://www.milkeninstitute.org

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