MINORITY HEALTH: Messages Aren’t Getting Through
Minority groups are not getting much of the public health messages and advertising directed at them because the messages are "not culturally relevant," according to a new survey sponsored by the Morehouse School of Medicine and the New America Wellness Group, a "multi-ethnic health care marketing agency." USA Today reports that the "telephone survey of more than 750 blacks, whites and Hispanics looked at attitudes toward health care in middle-class minority communities." It found that even though minorities "bear a disproportionate amount of the illness and deaths due to disease in America," members of minority groups were less likely to report a chronic health condition. This suggests that they "may have lived with chronic health problems so long that they just ignored them," according to Andrew Erlich of Erlich Transcultural Consultants, which conducted the survey. The survey also found that 61% of Hispanics, 28% of blacks and 11% of whites said seeing a doctor of the same ethnicity is important to them. Sheila Thorne of New America Wellness said that in order for health messages to be credible to minority communities, more has to be done than "slapping a black face on a brochure." She said "messages should be targeted to media outlets patronized by minorities and delivered in a way that can overcome mistrust." She added that partnering with a community-based organization is important, noting, "The community-based alliance gives the program legs. It goes into the church, the community health center, the projects, the barbershop" (Manning, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.