What is health communication?

What is health communication?

Discussion: Health Communication Documents

Communication is central to health and must take cultural, literacy, and language barriers into consideration. When developing and delivering a health promotion program, there are additional considerations when the audience is a cultural group other than your own or composed of a diverse group. It is important that planners are sensitive and considerate of these differences to avoid wasting resources and possibly offending people.

In this chapter models for program planning and ways to deliver and evaluate your program were provided. The delivery method includes considering the content of your message as well as how it is disseminated. Some methods of delivery, such as promotores(as), work better with some cultural and ethnic groups than others. After the program is complete, evaluation is essential. You will want to be sure that your message is received as you intended and see what impact it has had on your target audience. We outlined some differences between traditional and multicultural evaluation, which should be considered.


1. What is health communication?

2. What are some issues to consider when using written communication?

3. What is health literacy and why is it important?

4. How can you check the reading level of a document?

5. What are promotores (as) and fotonovelas?

6. What are the concepts of the Health Belief Model and the PRECEDE–PROCEED Model?

7. How are traditional and multicultural evaluations different?

Locate six to eight written health communication documents that are targeted to the same population. In a paper, describe the similarities and differences in the outreach documents and discuss why you expect that they would be successful or unsuccessful. Support your statements by referring to published literature. For example, if you state that the images include staple foods in that culture, cite literature indicating that the foods in the written materials are staple foods in that culture.

Case Study

In a city in Northern California, the Director in the Department of Public Health, Alice, noticed that the county has a very high rate of hepatitis B among the Asian American population. Hepatitis B is a disease caused by the hepatitis B virus. The most common ways that most people get hepatitis B are sexual contact with a person infected with hepatitis B, exposure to needles, medical or dental procedures where instruments are contaminated with hepatitis B virus, or when a mother passes hepatitis B to an infant at birth. The virus can live outside of the body for up to seven days. The disease can be prevented by a vaccine, and blood tests are used to determine if someone is infected. Alice knows that most Asians become infected while in the womb and not by sexual contact or exposure to needles from drug use. She is concerned that a major public information campaign must be designed to engage the Asian population but not imply to the general community that Asians have a major drug abuse problem. She has organized a meeting with her staff to discuss how to address the disparity.

You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.

Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.

Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.

The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.

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