Background: Racial and ethnic minority populations have additional and unique barriers to cancer care services than majority populations. Knowledge and language barriers are particularly prevalent among Hispanic populations. Results from our team's previous work and other public health research indicate that face-to-face health communication efforts are the most revered and preferred communication style for health messages within the Hispanic community. In addition, the success of the messages can be further enriched by increasing interpersonal communication; that is, by moving from the formal health education context to an informal context, such as neighborhood and community gatherings . Consistent with this notion, the impact of respected health advisors from the community has been studied and results suggest improved behavior or attitude changes. Recent studies report community-based programs developed for Hispanic populations incorporating health advisors (i.e. health workers, outreach educators, community health advocates) have been successful in increasing cancer screening behaviors.
Methods: ¡Salud! Serie de charlas (Health! A series of meetings) is a free, quarterly community gathering focused on reducing cancer health disparities in the Hispanic community of Tampa Bay, FL. These two-hour charlas, led by a community health educator and a panel of Spanish-speaking physicians, healthcare professionals and cancer survivors, encourage audience interaction as various topics are presented. A ¡Salud! Serie de charlas centered on Cancer Prevention was offered to the Hispanic Community in August 2013 at Ana G. Méndez University System, Tampa Bay Campus. Forty individuals participated in discussions regarding cancer prevention and screening guidelines. At the end of the event participants completed an evaluation survey.
Results: The majority of participants were Puerto Rican, Mexican or Venezuelan. 63% were between the ages of 35-64; 66% female and 65% married. 54% preferred receiving health information in Spanish, while 40% said either English or Spanish was acceptable. 100% believed they learned something new and felt confident in their ability to make good decisions about their health based on the information they learned. 98% reported increased awareness about cancer prevention. The participant's questions centered on nutrition, skin cancer protection and breast cancer screening. Most participants enjoyed the event and requested extended length of time for future presentations.
Conclusion: Charlas conducted in the community may present an effective interpersonal communication channel for increasing knowledge and affecting health behavior change among Hispanic populations. Future ¡Salud! Serie de charlas events will take place at Moffitt Cancer Center to demystify the hospital and increase comfort levels with choosing a cancer center for treatment.
Citation Format: Jessica McIntyre, Yonaira M. Rivera, Wendy Gonzalez, Axel Ramos, Teresita Muñoz-Antonia, Julio Jimenez, Gwendolyn P. Quinn. Reaching the Hispanic community via ¡Salud! Serie de Charlas. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Sixth AACR Conference: The Science of Cancer Health Disparities; Dec 6–9, 2013; Atlanta, GA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2014;23(11 Suppl):Abstract nr A54. doi:10.1158/1538-7755.DISP13-A54