Background: The National Academy of Sciences has defined risk communication as: “…an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion among individuals, groups, and institutions. It involves multiple messages about the nature of risk and other messages, not strictly about risk, that express concerns, opinions, or reactions to risk messages or to legal and institutional arrangements for risk management.” (National Academy of Sciences, 1989: p. 21) Numerous studies have highlighted the importance of effective risk communication in enabling people to make informed choices and participate in deciding how risks should be managed. Effective risk communication provides people with timely, accurate, clear, objective, consistent and complete risk information. Risk communication, however, has a context by which messages can be effective in driving an audience to a desired behavior. This is more the case in working with subpopulations (i.e. migrant workers, pregnant women, and first generation non-acculturated) Latinos. The development of a Hispanic risk communication model is warranted. Effective risk communication is especially critical during crises and emergencies. H1N1 outbreaks were deemed a medical emergency that mobilized the development of vaccine interventions. Messages and outreach strategies that mobilize Hispanics to vaccine uptake can be effective in managing the medical emergency.
Setting: Hispanic community- and faith-based organizations, community clinics, and Spanish language media outlets
Population: Acculturated and non-acculturated Hispanics from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds
Project Description: The project focused on the development of a Hispanic risk communication model that provided a framework for the implementation of effective messaging and community outreach strategies to drive segmented Latino audiences to H1N1 vaccine uptake.
Results/Lessons Learned: The target audiences increased their awareness of risk for H1N1 infection through effective messages that were tailored from a culturally specific risk communication model. Heightened media impressions, community vaccine promotions, and social media drives suggest the launch of a successful campaign.
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