Entertainment-Education for Social Development

The field of Entertainment-Education (EE), combines communication and education theory with communicative arts to deliver primarily social development messages. Although Entertainment-Education has existed for millennia in the form of parables and fables, perhaps the most influential modern-day practitioner and theorist in the field is Miguel Sabido. In the 1970's, Sabido began producing telenovelas (soap operas or serial dramas) that combined communication theory with pro-health/education messages to educate audiences throughout Latin America about family planning, literacy, and other topics. His model, which incorporated the work of Bandura and others theorists, as well as research to determine whether programs impacted audience behavior, revolutionized the field. Today, the principles are being used extensively in the health communication field to educate people around the world about important health issues. Initiatives in major universities, such as Johns Hopkins and in NGOs and government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), are impacting the United States and the world.

Successful radio programs that have incorporated Entertainment-Education principles include:

"The Lawsons/Blue Hills" - a radio program that was designed to help Australian farmers adjust to new farming methods.

"Tinka Tinka Sukh" - a Hindi-language radio program that results in environmental and health improvements in India.

"Soul City" - An extremely successful, South African radio serial drama that carried AIDs prevention messages.

There are many television programs that incorporate Entertainment-Education as well. The Sentinel Award, which is administered by the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication, the CDC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is given each year to programs that address health and medical issues in their storylines.

2006's nominees/winners include:

Numb3rs - for a storyline about the shortage of organ donations.

Greys Anatomy - for storylines about organ transplantation and cancer.

As the World Turns - for a breast cancer storyline that involved a major character.

The George Lopez Show - for a storyline about a kidney transplant.

Don Pedro's Diabetes - a telenovela about a major character's struggle with diet, exercise, and medication to control diabetes.