Conoce las Preguntas, (Know the Questions) a new, multimedia Spanish-language campaign announced today by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Ad Council, encourages Hispanics to get more involved in their health care and to talk with their doctors about their medical concerns.

The national public service advertising campaign, which features television, radio, print, and Web ads, offers tips to help Hispanics prepare for medical appointments by thinking ahead of time about questions to ask their doctors during medical appointments. The PSAs direct audiences to visit AHRQ’s website at www.ahrq.gov/preguntas where they can find tips and other important health information in Spanish.

AHRQ research shows that Hispanics tend to seek medical treatment advice from friends, co-workers, and even casual acquaintances rather than going to the doctor unless they are very sick. Some Hispanics report avoiding asking doctors questions out of respect or because they feel intimidated or embarrassed.

The campaign supports the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, the Department’s first-ever strategic action plan to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. AHRQ’s recently published 2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report found that, compared with whites, the proportion of Hispanics who report having poor communication with their health providers is widening and the percentage who regularly get important screening tests to check for diabetes or cancer is not improving.

AHRQ data show that 47 percent of adult Hispanics reported not having seen a doctor in 2008, compared with 29 percent of adult non-Hispanics. This included 37 percent of insured Hispanics ages 18 to 64, compared with 29 percent of insured non-Hispanics, as well as 15 percent of older Hispanics versus 10 percent of non-Hispanic seniors.

Conoce las Preguntas was created pro bono for the Ad Council by Revolucion, an ad agency based in New York. Aliza Lifshitz, M.D., a practicing internist in Los Angeles who also serves as editor-in-chief of VidaySalud.com and host of Univision radio’s weekly health show “El Consultorio de la Dra. Aliza,” is also participating in the campaign.

AHRQ and the Ad Council also will be implementing a mobile marketing program to further engage the Hispanic community in the campaign messages. A mobile version (WAP) of the website will be developed and users will have the opportunity to opt in to receive biweekly text message alerts for tips on talking with health care providers, getting prescriptions and medical tests, and the benefits of getting more involved in their health care. Mobile users can text 80676/Preguntas to opt in to the program.

The public service advertisements are being distributed to approximately 2,500 Spanish-language media stations nationwide. Per the Ad Council’s donated media model, all of the PSAs will air or appear in advertising time and space donated by the media.

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