The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is partnering with Hispanic-serving organizations to promote the Agency’s Spanish-language resources and to encourage consumers to become more active partners in their health care.  AHRQ’s easy-to-read resources help consumers understand the benefits and risks of treatment options and encourage shared decision-making between patients and their health care teams.

To date, 10 organizations have signed a pledge of commitment to promote AHRQ’s Spanish-language, evidence-based resources, including the National Hispanic Medical Association, Latino Student Medical Association, National Association of Hispanic Elderly, District of Columbia Office on Latino Affairs, National Latina Health Network, Telemundo, and the National Center for Farmworker Health.

To assist in this effort, AHRQ is launching the “Toma las riendas” (“Take the reins”) campaign, a nationwide effort to encourage Hispanics to take control of their health and explore treatment options. The campaign launches November 13 at the Telemundo-sponsored Feria de la Familia (Family Fair) event from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. ET at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C.

The Toma las riendas campaign addresses the need for high-quality health information in Spanish. It promotes a wide variety of resources produced by AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program.  These tools, which include consumer-friendly publications that summarize treatment options for common health conditions, help Hispanics work with their health care teams to select the best possible treatment option.  The tools do not tell patients and doctors what to do but offer factual, unbiased information to help answer questions such as: What are the benefits and risks of different medical treatment? How strong is the science behind each option? Which treatment is most likely to work best for me?

“The Toma las riendas campaign comes at a terrific time for spreading the word about AHRQ’s evidence-based Spanish-language resources,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.  “AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program now has more than 20 free, Spanish-language publications that provide information about common health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and depression.”

Hispanics, who account for 15 percent of the U.S. population, are often more likely than whites to experience poor health outcomes.  For example, Hispanics have significantly higher rates of hospital admissions for short-term complications due to diabetes, according to AHRQ’s 2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report.  Hispanics are also less likely to take prescription medications to control asthma.  For many Hispanics, seeking treatment means using a new language to navigate a complex health care system.  AHRQ’s Spanish-language publications provide opportunities for Hispanics to easily compare treatments for many common conditions.

“If you don’t get the best possible information about all your treatment options, you might not make an informed decision on which treatment is most appropriate for you,” said AHRQ Scientific Review Officer Ileana Ponce-Gonzalez, M.D., and Toma las riendas campaign spokesperson.

To encourage use of the materials and engage Hispanics in the discussion, AHRQ has also launched a Facebook Page,  AHRQ’s Spanish-language Effective Health Care Program patient guides are available online at To order printed copies, email the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at or call 1-800-358-9295.  For other AHRQ Spanish-language consumer tools, go to

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