NBC’s “Parenthood” is being recognized by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-backed initiative for addressing an important public health issue on television.

The drama, which focuses on one family’s experience raising a boy with Asperger’s syndrome, is one of eight finalists for the Sentinel for Health Awards. The honor goes to television shows with storylines that “inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives,” organizers say.

The awards are given annually by Hollywood, Health & Society, a University of Southern California program that’s funded by the CDC and a mix of other government and private organizations. The group works to provide accurate health information for writers working on television shows and movies.

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Finalists for the awards were selected from a field of 26 entries by a panel of experts from the CDC and other organizations.

“Every day millions of viewers worldwide learn something new about health from TV storylines and take action on what they’ve learned,” says Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of the Hollywood, Health & Society program. “Recognizing the profound impact of TV storylines on health knowledge, attitudes and behavior, we honor writers and producers who weave accurate health messages into their storytelling.”

“Parenthood” is one of three television dramas that will be honored this year for addressing a health topic in a major way. In particular, those behind the awards highlighted an episode that aired last spring in which parents Adam and Kristina Braverman struggled with how to tell their son, Max, about his Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis.

Other finalists in the category include ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” for tackling Alzheimer’s disease and ABC’s “Private Practice” for discussing rape.

The awards will be handed out Sept. 27 at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

“Parenthood” returns for its third season on NBC Sept. 13.

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