ROCKVILLE, MD – HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today announced “Consejos de Salud Para Ti,” (Health Advice for You), a new monthly online health advice column for Spanish-speaking consumers. The column provides evidence-based tips on preventive health, safe and appropriate use of medications and other medical therapies, ways to get better health care, and other key health care issues. The column is part of AHRQ’s Informacion en Espanol Web site (http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/espanoix.htm), which has been enhanced and now includes audio and video in Spanish on a wide range of health care issues.
The inaugural advice column, by AHRQ physician Ileana Ponce-Gonzalez, M.D., focuses on preventive health practices and screening tests for men that are recommended by the AHRQ-supported U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Dr. Ponce-Gonzalez, who also provides consumer health advice monthly on the Univision Television Network’s “Despierta America” morning news show, received her medical degree from the National University of Nicaragua, a Clinical Genetics degree at the University of Chile and a Master of Public Health degree from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has practiced medicine and public health in her native Nicaragua, the United States, Chile, and Mexico.
According to AHRQ’s 2008 National Healthcare Disparities Report, the quality of health care is slowly improving for the nation as a whole but is getting worse for most Hispanics, especially those with limited English proficiency. AHRQ data show that Hispanics are 38 percent less likely than non-Hispanics to have visited the doctor within the past year. In addition, more than a quarter of Hispanic adults have never had their cholesterol checked, two-thirds of Hispanics over 50 have never had a colonoscopy and more than half of Hispanic women over 40 have not had a mammogram within the last year.
“One factor contributing to why Hispanics have poorer health care than other groups is their lack of access to unbiased, culturally competent information in Spanish,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “Consejos de Salud Para Ti” will give Spanish speakers the information they need to be more informed about their health care.”
AHRQ’s enhanced Spanish-language Web site includes more than 35 consumer guides on health care quality, surgery, health conditions and diseases, quitting smoking, safe use of medicines, understanding health insurance options and prevention and wellness. The 30- and 60-second audio spots on the Web site focus on comparisons of pills for type 2 diabetes, pain medicines for osteoarthritis, tips for preventing blood clots, safe and effective use of blood thinner pills, tips for quitting smoking, preventive health and more. The Web site also features “Superheroes,” a national public service campaign developed in partnership with the Advertising Council to encourage Hispanics to become more involved in their health care.