|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 1, 2012
Suzanne Beranek, Colorado Health Foundation, 303.953.3668
Anne Smith, Evolve Communications, 303.349.7650
Award-winning "Encrucijada" premieres second series
DENVER — Using drama, romance and gripping stories to engage Spanish-speaking audiences on a wide variety of health themes, "Encrucijada; Sin Salud No Hay Nada (Crossroads; Without Health, There Is Nothing)" returns to the airwaves the week of Feb. 12. The Spanish-language series uses the popular "telenovela" genre (similar to a soap opera) to convey important public health messages.
First broadcast in 2009 and rebroadcast in 2010, the locally produced original series received national and international media coverage and numerous awards, including the Colorado Broadcasters Association's 2009 Award of Excellence. The first series of "Encrucijada" drew an average of 20,950 viewers per episode. One night, 35,000 households tuned in, according to Nielsen.
Issues such as healthy eating, active living, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and mental health are the focus of the second series. Social topics, including parenting skills, gender equity and teen pregnancy are woven into the dramatic story lines, as well. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Hispanics are affected by diabetes, obesity and other health issues at disproportionately high rates. Keeping those statistics in mind, the series aims to help viewers live healthier lives.
Among the storylines:
- Pablo's grades have dropped, and he avoids playing with his schoolmates, who call him "fat."
- Alicia has cancer. Treatment, health navigation services, a positive attitude, physical activity and family help her control her disease.
- Chiquis seeks counseling to overcome anxiety after a sexual assault.
Along with riveting plotlines, ""Encrucijada" features information on healthy eating and active living, and educates viewers on how to apply for public insurance programs such as Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Each episode provides a toll-free number so viewers can learn more about support services in their area. Surveys show during the last series, thousands of viewers called the help line and most said they found the show beneficial.
"The purpose of this project is to save lives and help people live healthier," said Jesus Fuentes, executive producer of "Encrucijada." "We do it by developing compelling stories and strong characters that viewers can relate to."
Produced by the Colorado Foundation for Public Health and Environment, the program was funded by the Colorado Health Foundation, which also supported the original series.
"We're proud to support a project that reaches a large audience in an innovative and engaging way," said Kelly Dunkin, vice president of Philanthropy for the Colorado Health Foundation. "The first 'Encrucijada' series was a great success, and we're confident that the second series will be as successful and even surpass the first."
The first of 24 new episodes debuts Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Univision. Thereafter, beginning Feb. 16, "Encrucijada" repeats Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7 p.m. on Rocky Mountain PBS's V-Me Channel. The series is slated to run on both channels through late July, 2012.
View a recent segment in the PBS News Hour for a behind-the-scenes look at "Encrucijada."