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Knowledge is power

I’ll never tire of watching Schoolhouse Rock!

As a kid in the 1970s, I looked forward to each episode as much, if not more so, than the Saturday morning cartoons that surrounded them… with my parents taking in a few in between the chores that I would soon partake in as well. With a budding interest in math and science, these short three-minute videos were effective enough to this author that not only do I remember the topics decades later, but can readily recite them to unfortunate ears on chosen long distance bike rides.

How does this relate to health care? Recently, there has been some excellent discourse on how to heighten the diffusion of health services research into public policy. This author strongly supports the concepts of these postings, but believes an additional approach would be necessary to ultimately fulfill the constructs of bolstering public policy – that of promoting health literacy and health services research to the public in such a manner which would transcend and span generations.

This is where the Schoolhouse Rock! concept would come into play. The method of employing cartoons or videos to inform on health care concepts is not a novel one. In order to nudge public health knowledge and healthy behaviors, Schoolhouse Rock!-esque creations could encapsulate general health literacy notions and health services research outcomes in an amusing, self-promoting and efficacious format which could be easily digestible to children and adults alike. Perhaps even a follow-up album of such health care related topics could be produced with additional artists of the day.

The approach to encouraging healthy behaviors and fostering health services research need not be limited to animation shorts. Recently at the University of Louisville, an all-day symposium was hosted on “Crossing the Divide: On the Adventure of Getting Science Across to the Public”. One of the esteemed speakers was Paul Zaloom, the host of Beakman’s World. Did this show empower both the host and the viewing public in cultivating an interest in science? Well, I will let his quotes answer that principal question.

Equipping the public in this manner could create a cultural and national momentum of health that would advance its own cause… and remember, “It’s great to learn, ‘cause knowledge is power”.