Guest Author – Bill Sleeper
Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu and 36,000 die from complications of the virus, according to the CDC. While it may seem like a mundane daily task, washing your hands is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of disease.
As a leading provider of hygienic washroom solutions, Georgia-Pacific Professional is committed to educating citizens about proper hand hygiene practices. Our ongoing efforts are showcased through a variety of campaigns, activities and initiatives that teach and remind people of all ages about the importance of hand washing and drying. Entering its third year, our Art of Washing Hands program features a karate-themed Mo – Georgia-Pacific Professional’s VP of Hygiene and Chairman of Cool – to educate kids about the importance of hand hygiene in a fun, interactive way. Last year we launched Spread Wellness, a campaign aimed at teaching people proper hand washing techniques and encouraging them to share these practices wherever they go.
To help showcase all of these efforts, we recently launched the Wellness Room on our website, where visitors can download educational materials for all of our programs. This site includes Didya?, a campaign aimed at reminding people to wash their hands. In addition to buttons, wristbands and t-shirts, the Didya? program features a toolkit of posters, wall clings and other educational materials that can be hung inside or outside of a washroom, where food is served or any other area where germs are most frequently spread.
Recognizing the power of art as a universal mode of communication, Georgia-Pacific Professional partnered with the CDC Foundation to create a less conventional hand-washing campaign. Watching Hands: Artists Respond to Keeping Well is a multimedia art exhibition that opened on the Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day, September 24, 2011, at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum. The innovative exhibitionfeatures all new works from six nationally recognized artists who explore the importance of hand washing through a variety of media, including vinyl installation, graphic design, video projection, drawing, painting and sculpture.
With the CDC’s involvement in promoting good hygiene and disease prevention practices, and the museum’s ability to share these public health messages with the local community, we strongly believe this compelling exhibition will further increase awareness of the importance of proper hand washing.