November 30, 2018

Evaluating a Media Strategy to Provide Health Messages to Medically Underserved Populations

By Miguel Valdez Soto


For nearly every category of chronic disease, blacks with African American ancestry (AAs) bear a disproportionate disease burden in comparison to their non-Hispanic white (NHW) counterparts. The purpose of this study was to evaluate perceptions of a radio-based health communication strategy, geared towards AA adults and the medically underserved. The radio broadcast, titled “Closing the Gap in Healthcare, Inc. (CGHI),” is delivered by a well-known AA male physician in South Carolina. The mission of CGHI is to decrease health disparities in a four-county area of the South Carolina coastal region, defined as the “Lowcountry,” by providing evidence-based health information to a broad community audience via radio broadcast messaging. To evaluate the impact of the CGHI, investigators conducted 12 focus groups (FGs) with community members from the broadcast coverage area to evaluate responses to FG questions based on 11 attributes of effective health communication. Potential FG participants were identified/recruitd via a South Carolina-based marketing firm. The FGs conducted in the Sea Islands were culturally and racially homogenous. The investigators developed a FG interview guide. Before each FG started, the informed consent process was administered to each participant. Each two-hour FG was digitally recorded.

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