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AHRQ and Ad Council Encourage Hispanics to Become More Involved in Their Health Care

New Spanish Ad Campaign Features "Superheroes" Theme

WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) joined with The Advertising Council today to launch a Spanish-language national public service campaign designed to encourage Hispanics to become more involved in their health care. The campaign urges Hispanics to stay healthy for their loved ones by visiting their doctor for regular screenings.

Hispanics are 38 percent less likely than non-Hispanics to have visited the doctor within the past year, according to the latest data from AHRQ. 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 nearly 54 percent of Hispanic women over 40 have not had a mammogram within the last year.

The fact that one-third of U.S. Hispanics are uninsured, along with linguistic and cultural barriers, plays a role in these disparities, as shown in AHRQ's recent National Healthcare Disparities Report. Studies have found that Hispanics often lag behind the general population in access to preventive care even when they are insured.

The new Spanish-language campaign features everyday mothers and fathers whose children see them as superheroes and encourages Hispanic adults to be more involved in their health care, especially preventive care. Research has shown that people who are more involved in their health care tend to have better health outcomes. The new Superheroes campaign complements AHRQ's existing efforts that are geared toward helping patients become more involved in decisions regarding their medical treatment. As part of this ongoing effort, AHRQ and the Ad Council launched the "Questions are the Answer" campaign in March 2007.

The Superheroes campaign highlights the work of the AHRQ-sponsored U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services.

"Taking care of your own health, including visiting the doctor even when you're feeling healthy to get preventive tests, is one way to show how much you care about your family," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "That way, you can continue to be a 'Superhero' as a dad, a mom, or in any other role for your loved ones."

HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell said, "We are pleased to be working with AHRQ and the Ad Council to communicate the importance of prevention for Hispanic adults. This campaign complements HHS department-wide efforts to work in partnership with national Hispanic organizations and local communities around the country to encourage Hispanics to adopt healthy lifestyles. I invite Hispanic leaders across the country as well as employers, churches and others to join us in relaying this critical message to Hispanics of all ages."

Created pro bono for the Ad Council by the advertising agency Casanova Pendrill, the public service advertising campaign includes new television, radio, print and Web advertising featuring the theme, "Superheroes." The focus of the campaign was developed from insights gained in the Ad Council's focus group research, which found that most Hispanic adults do not visit their doctor regularly and only go when they experience symptoms of illness. The lighthearted ads encourage Hispanics to be heroes for their families by getting the preventive health care they need.

"This wonderful new campaign with AHRQ uses a humorous and engaging strategy to encourage Hispanic Americans to visit their doctor more regularly and pursue preventive testing. In sharing these messages with our target audience, we found that this strategy was resonating and motivating, and I believe the PSAs will have a significant impact," said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of the Ad Council.

The campaign encourages Hispanic adults to visit a comprehensive Web site, The site provides tips on ways to stay healthy and talking with your doctor, recommendations on preventive testing, help in understanding prescriptions, a quiz and glossary of medical terms as well as links to other resources that provide health information.

Public service advertisements are being distributed to approximately 2,500 Spanish-language media stations nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council's donated media model, all of the new public service advertisements will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. AHRQ will also further the reach of the campaign by asking leading Hispanic advocacy groups, employers, insurers and others to help relay the messages to their audiences.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ( is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AHRQ's mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. AHRQ's research helps people make more informed decisions and improve the quality of health care services.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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