Communication Behaviors Amongst Persons of Haitian Ancestry


Communication Behaviors Amongst Persons of Haitian Ancestry


and Public Health Preparedness


 


Background:  Dr. Linda Marc received a New Investigator Award in January 2010 from the Center for Public Health Preparedness at Harvard School of Public Health.  The project is entitled " Communication Behaviors Amongst Persons of Haitian Ancestry and Public Health Preparedness.  Dr. Marc will be working with the Principal Investigator of the parent grant, Dr. K. “Vish” Viswanath and Dr. Marcia Testa, both at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Funding for the parent award is from the Centers for Disease Control.


 


Study Objective: This study will focus on health communication behaviors amongst persons of Haitian ancestry, pertaining to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the A(H1N1) outbreak, and public health emergencies (e.g., natural disasters, hurricanes, earthquakes); and will be conducted in three U.S. cities (Boston, Miami, and New York City).  Health communications are a critical component in public health for helping individuals prepare for epidemics, and/or respond to and recover from emergencies.  The literature shows that individuals of racial/ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from epidemic diseases, disasters and emergencies.  “The reasons for these are varied and complex, and are linked to factors such as socio-economic position, culture and language barriers, lack of preparation and protective action, and reliance on informal sources of information (Viswanath, 2009; Andrulis, 2007; Blendon, 2007).”


 


Study AIMS:


 


Aim 1:   To investigate how persons of Haitian ancestry in the U.S. are exposed to messages about diseases and public health emergency preparedness communications:  


(a)   Identifying information sources, knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS and the A(H1N1) flu;


(b)   Identifying communication channels for HIV/AIDS, information desired in the event of a future A(H1N1) flu outbreak, as well as communication channels for emergency messages; and


(c)    Determining personal preparedness in the event of a public health emergency.


 


 


Aim 2:   To develop a set of valid and reliable measures for public health communications that include:  


(a)    Exposure to health messages in different media;


(b)   Attention to disease and public health emergency preparedness messages;


(c)    Measures, such as credibility and trust, that influence processing of health communications; and;


(d)  Measures for health message effects, including perceived susceptibility to threat at the individual and group level, disease and PHEP knowledge, and capacity to act in case of an illness or threat (e.g., behaviors, preparations).