The Doctor is Out: Hispanic Health Publications in Print and Online (Part IV)
Merck pharmaceuticals' publishes a Spanish-language version of its bi-monthly consumer health publication Your Health Now. The edition is available at http://www.merck.com/yourhealthnow/yhn_span.html as a PDF, and is called Tu Salud Ahora. They are considering a print edition for 2006-2007.
As spokesperson Maggie Kohn stated, “The U.S. Hispanic community is so large that this publication is important to Merck's commitment to providing unbiased health information to all who seek it, including Spanish-speakers.”
The magazine includes information from The Merck Manuals, although it insists that it maintains “strict editorial independence” from the drug company that subsidizes it, and other products. As such, it does not include any advertising, other than for some non-profit organizations offering information on healthcare access.
Offering information on common ailments such as gastrointestinal disorders, and cardiovascular disease, the publication is available to consumers free of charge at http:www.yourhealthnow.com.
Jane Delgado, Ph.D., is President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for Hispanic Health and a member of the magazine's advisory board; she emphasizes that with more than 32 million Spanish-speakers in the U.S., the publication will have considerable appeal to those seeking health advice and information in Spanish.
In addition to coverage of common ailments, the magazine also offers guidance on how to access needed prescriptions/healthcare for those without health insurance and drug reimbursement coverage.
While these industry-created tools are helpful to the Hispanic community, Un Buen Doctor’s Carlos Olea says that the tricky part is getting Hispanics to access it in the first place, which can be difficult if they don’t have health insurance and are not going to the doctor’s office. “What needs to improve is the outreach methodology for those campaigns and also the budgets that, in the majority of the cases are so limited that could not provide any impact for the campaigns, and therefore limit how these campaigns trickle down to the intended beneficiaries,” says Olea. “It doesn’t really matters if programs are created to improve the health status of the Hispanic community when the community seldom finds out about those programs or can never have access or take advantage of them.” He adds, “These programs need to be specifically tailored and properly supported to reach the Hispanic population through vehicles that actually reach into the barrios and work with the community such as community newspaper, local media and local organizations. “
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