|NIAMS has created a multicultural set of health planners for 2014, A Year of Health. The planners make information about bones, joints, muscles and skin more accessible to people from underserved racial and ethnic communities.
For many years, planners have helped people organize their time and mark past, present and future events of significance. Building on the success of its inaugural 2013 health planners, NIAMS has created a new set for 2014, titled A Year of Health.
The planners are part of the institute’s National Multicultural Outreach Initiative (NMOI) to make health information about bones, joints, muscles and skin more accessible to people from underserved racial and ethnic communities. The health planners are tailored to four different audiences—African American, American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino—and include 12 months of disease management tips, recommended resources and reminder stickers for medical appointments, blood tests, prescription refills and other important self-care activities.
Even in this era of portable electronic planners, traditional hard-copy planners continue to be well received by specific audiences. “Our portfolio of diseases, which includes osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, skews toward an older population,” says Dr. Bob Carter, NIAMS deputy director and NMOI chair. “In our focus group research with multicultural communities, people indicated a strong preference for print over digital formats. A planner allows our health information to be visible over 12 months and the reminder stickers and large spaces for notes help people proactively manage their chronic conditions.”
In addition to their practicality, the health planners have been embraced for their cultural relevance. Striking images of people from different cultural backgrounds and the inclusion of cultural observances and values make the planners especially appealing. According to one community health worker, “We like the fact that [the planner] is culturally specific. We know that Native Americans are prone to diseases such as arthritis and it makes them feel more connected when they have that ethnically targeted [health] information.”
The health planners include resources from several NIH institutes and centers, as well as from other HHS agencies. As one community organizer said, “I especially like, in addition to the health information, the page with other federal resources. I think it communicates that our government cares about people and their health. Information like this is not readily available to most people, and especially the communities I work with.”
A Year of Health planners are available through the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at 877-226-4267 (free call) (TTY 301-565-2966) or at www.niams.nih.gov/multicultural. After the printed copies have been distributed, a printable version will remain available on the web site.—Mimi Lising