In 1997, the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Inc., Atlanta, wrote, produced and disseminated an activities and curriculum guide to help teach high school students about public health threats, issues, and practices.
The guide accompanied Superstation TBS's April 1997 broadcast of a documentary based on Laurie Garrett's book about emerging infectious diseases, The Coming Plague.
- Schools across the United States received 40,000 study guides free of charge. Study guides were also sent to 600 school-based health centers with which the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has worked in the past.The guide covered:
- The personal and social ramifications of disease.
- Epidemics and their history.
- Drug resistance, viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
- Treatment and prevention.
- Potential health careers.
- The educational outreach plan had six goals, all of which were achieved:
- To further public awareness of public health education.
- To extend the public health message of the documentary beyond the broadcast.
- To educate viewers about the prevalence of life-threatening infectious diseases.
- To inform viewers about simple disease-prevention strategies (such as washing hands, not drinking from a common glass, not using out-of-date antibiotics, and completing a round of antibiotics according to the physician's instructions).
- To educate audiences about our "global village" and the prevalence of disease being transmitted during travel.
- To enlighten viewers about other sources of information available to them through their state public health agencies, schools, and community groups.
The CDC Foundation collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Turner Learning (the educational unit of Turning Broadcasting System), and TBS (the cable broadcaster).
RWJF supported the project with a grant of $89,693 between April and September 1997.
The project also was supported by Pfizer, Inc., Turner Learning, and Turner Broadcasting System.