25574 Dancing with the Solecitos

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Columbia Hall
Margaret Huffman, RN, MA, ND , Public Health Nurse Supervisor, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Background: In 2007, The Latino Influenza Vaccination and Education (LIVE) project was awarded a three-year grant by The Colorado Health Foundation. Project goals included educating the Latino community about the severity of influenza and increasing their vaccination rates. This was a difficult dance to master, considering that in 2007 58% of Latinos, the highest of any group measured, reported a lack of concern regarding influenza.

Setting:The set for this LIVE tango included two Aurora Public Schools (linked by a school-based health center), influenza vaccination sites, and Colorado’s top Spanish language broadcaster, Entravision.

Population: Spanish-speaking Latinos in Colorado.

Project Description: An ensemble of collaborators orchestrated the project, including public health, schools, and coalition partners. The year one and two performances included development and placement of Spanish language public service announcements (PSAs) to educate Latinos about influenza and encourage them to seek vaccinations. In year three, the team took the ultimate challenge. They attempted a breakthrough intervention, creating a promotional partnership with The Solecitos, a nationally recognized group of children’s entertainment characters from the Univision television network.  Two minute PSAs were composed, using the renowned Solecitos to deliver influenza messages.  PSAs spotlighted the importance of influenza vaccinations, underscoring the difference between cold and influenza, and encouraged healthy lifestyle habits. The Solecito icons scored well with Latinos and will continue to be used in future Spanish language influenza education initiatives. 

Results/Lessons Learned: School Located Vaccination clinics (SLV) were performed twice during each influenza season, 2008-2010. However, schools can be challenging dance partners; strong buy-in from within the school system creates the harmony to implement and sustain SLVs.  Final evaluation of this three year dance indicates that it is crucial to continue strong, creative Spanish language messaging about the severity of influenza, importance of vaccination, and access to care.