Department of Health Kicks Off ‘Get Smart Kids’ Art Competition’

HARRISBURG, Pa. – “National Public Health Week” is April 6 – 12 and is a time for celebration and collaboration in creating awareness about appropriate uses of antibiotics in the commonwealth.

In recognition, the Department of Health (DOH) is kicking off its third annual Get Smart Kids’ Art Competition, which is open to all children 12 years and younger.

“Each year in this country more than 10 million children are at risk for harmful side effects from antibiotics that are prescribed unnecessarily. Illnesses such as the common cold, seasonal flu, earaches, and sore throat are largely caused by viruses that can’t be cured with antibiotics,” said Acting Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine. “Overuse of these drugs is now a major threat and is contributing to the rise in antibiotic resistance resulting in over two million illnesses, more than 23,000 preventable deaths, and an estimated $20 billion in excess health care spending in the United States annually.”

Public Health Week is celebrated nationally each year to raise public awareness about critical health issues and encourage people to take action to remedy those challenges. DOH through its Get Smart Program, and in collaboration with national and state-based partners, is observing the week by announcing the Get Smart Antibiotics Art Competition to engage children in activities that promote good hygiene practice and vaccinations. The contest will allow students to showcase their creativity and help spread the word about the importance of hand hygiene, vaccines, and appropriate antibiotic use.

“Giving children a chance to express themselves in activities that encourage others to wash their hands and get vaccinated is a winnable strategy,” said Dr. Nicole Hackman, who is a pediatrician with Penn State Hershey Pediatrics. “In this way, we also keep children healthy and prevent prescribing unnecessary antibiotics.”

Get Smart Art Competition submissions will be accepted from April 9 through October 31, 2015. Contest winners will be announced during National Get Smart Week, November 16 – 22, 2015. For information about entry rules and submissions, please visit

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