August 28, 2012

By Graydon Gordian

Renowned Doctor Inspires Barrio Sésamo’s Newest Character

Our furry friends on Barrio Sésamo: Monstrous Supersanos are going to learn a lot about how to lead a healthier lifestyle now that there’s a new doctor in town. The Spanish version of Sesame Street is getting a brand new character, “Dr. Valentin Ruster.” Dr. Ruster is inspired by the Director of New York City’s Mount Sinai Heart Center, Dr. Valentin Fuster.

Dr. Fuster, who hails from Barcelona, Spain, is the former president of the American Heart Association and the World Heart Foundation. As the Chair of the Committee on Preventing the Global Epidemic of Cardiovascular Disease for the Institute of Medicine (IOM), he is a prominent advocate for cardiovascular health around the globe.

Barrio Sésamo’s Dr. Ruster may not be as achieved as his real life inspiration, but he’s equally dedicated to helping keep hearts healthy. In the Muppet doctor’s own words, “I have dedicated myself to that miraculous, beautiful organ… the heart!  My heart jumps at the chance to spend time with my furry friends in Barrio Sésamo. We love to exercise and eat scrumptious fruits and veggies together. But most of all, I just love to talk to my friends helping them get to the heart of any matter.”

Dr. Fuster, who first collaborated with Sesame Workshop in 2006 to promote cardiovascular health in Colombia, serves as an international advisor on Sesame Workshop’s Global Health Initiative. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the world, and the goal of the initiative is to measure health improvements in children and build global partnerships to address their critical health issues. Many studies show that childhood obesity leads to cardiovascular disease, thru an increase in cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In 2010 the number of overweight children under the age of five globally was estimated to be over 42 million.

To learn more about Dr. Fuster and the work he does to promote cardiovascular health, visit MountSinai.org.

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