HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today announced Healthcare 411 en Espanol — a new audio news series to provide Spanish speakers with evidence-based consumer information to help them stay healthy, prevent diseases, compare the effectiveness of various medical treatments, and obtain high-quality and safe health care.

Under this new initiative, AHRQ is producing two 60-second audio reports each month and distributing them to Spanish-language radio stations nationwide. Each audio segment includes an interview with a native Spanish-speaking AHRQ physician who discusses current issues such as the importance of regular screening exams for people with diabetes or how to prepare for a doctor's appointment. AHRQ posts the audio to its Healthcare 411 Web site, where consumers can subscribe and download the segments to a computer or portable media device such as an MP3 player.

According to AHRQ's 2008 National Healthcare Disparities Report, Hispanics are 20 percent more likely to receive poorer health care than non-Hispanic whites, and the problem is especially acute among Hispanics who speak no or little English.

The new initiative is part of a broader effort by AHRQ to reduce health disparities by providing information to Spanish-speaking Americans about their health and health care. Other elements in the effort include a monthly online health advice column called Consejos de salud para ti (Health Advice for You); Staying Active and Healthy With Blood Thinners, a 10-minute bilingual video about the safe and effective use of blood thinner drugs; and Superheroes, a multimedia Spanish-language public service advertising campaign developed in partnership with Ad Council that urges Hispanics to get the preventive health care tests they need. All of this information, and other brochures for consumers, is available on the AHRQ Web page.

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