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AHRQ and Ad Council encourage Hispanics to become more involved in their health care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) joined with The Advertising Council (Ad Council) to launch a Spanish-language national public service campaign design featuring a "Superheroes" theme 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 more than half 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 2007 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. 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 Superheroes theme.

The ads encourage Hispanics to be heroes for their families by getting the preventive health care they need. The campaign encourages Hispanic adults to visit a comprehensive Web site, The site provides tips on ways to stay healthy, talking with the 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.

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