HCA Foundation and Mitchel Musso Launch Clean Hands are Cool Hands Campaign

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The HCA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Nashville-based hospital company Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), today announced the launch of the Clean Hands are Cool Hands Back to School campaign to prevent the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

HCA teamed up with popular teen actor and recording artist Mitchel Musso, best known for his role as "Oliver" in the Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana," to create a public service announcement educating kids and their parents on the importance of handwashing to prevent the spread of MRSA in schools.

"I am happy to be a part of this important campaign to prevent the spread of MRSA and help raise awareness among my fans and kids of all ages to stay healthy," said Musso. "Hopefully they will see me in this PSA and get the message that clean hands are cool and most importantly are less likely to spread germs."

Because of its resistance to antibiotics, MRSA accounts for 19,000 deaths in the United States each year, 86 percent of which are healthcare-associated and 14 percent which are community acquired.(1) HCA's 169 hospitals across the nation, under the leadership of chief medical officer Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, have implemented more aggressive infection prevention protocols to tackle this issue.

"The growing prevalence of MRSA in hospitals and communities, including in schools, is creating new challenges for the healthcare community," said Perlin. "It is important to make parents and kids aware of the little things they can do at home and at school to prevent its spread, such as washing their hands with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer."

The 30-second television PSA was shot in July in Los Angeles and features Musso interacting in an animated world of everyday items that can pass on germs and make us sick. Musso emphasizes how easy it is to come in contact with germs throughout the day and how something as simple as washing your hands can dramatically reduce the spread of these germs and help prevent the illnesses that they can cause.

"We chose to partner with Mitchel due to his popularity and appeal to our target audience -- young kids, tweens, teens and even parents," Joanne Pulles, executive director of the HCA Foundation. "MRSA is becoming an increasing concern and cause for absence in schools, and we think Mitchel's participation in this campaign will help deliver the message that handwashing is the single most effective and simplest way to prevent its spread."

The PSA aimed at kids in grades K-4, is set to debut later this month on television stations across the United States. Perlin and Musso will also be promoting the campaign through broadcast media tours, TV appearances, and kick-off events in cities throughout the country, including Las Vegas, Nashville and Tampa.

Images from the PSA will be featured on The Reuters Sign in Times Square and information on the campaign is available at http://www.cleanhandsarecoolhands.com. The site provides a fun, interactive place for kids and parents to learn about MRSA and how to prevent its spread, digital downloads of pictures and videos, as well as a streaming file of the PSA.

Reference: (1) Klevens et al. Journal of the American Medical Association 2007; 298(15): 1763-1771.

Source: The HCA Foundation