Originally published July 18, 2011
For those of us in public health there is always one question that drives us to continually seek solutions - How can we get our message out to the people we serve? As more people from around the world come to Georgia, the question becomes even more important. According to the 2010 US Census, Georgia is home to approximately 853,000 Hispanics/Latinos, for instance, who comprise about 8.8 percent of the state’s total population. Reaching this population can be a challenge due to cultural and language barriers. The Georgia Department of Public Health and its newest partner, Univision 34 Atlanta, have the perfect solution to reach Spanish speaking and English-as-a-second language communities.
District 2, District 3-4, and District10 Women’s Health programs were the catalyst for the partnership with Univision to reach the Latino community about planning their future and avoiding teenage pregnancy. The messages that Univision helped create encouraged young men and women to think of the possibilities for their future and encouraged them to make a plan. “We want our teens to make wise choices, like postponing sexual activity until they are more prepared to handle the financial, emotional and economic aspects of childbearing,” said Jennifer Parker, Women's Health Program Coordinator for District 2.
A few months later another opportunity arose through state emergency preparedness funding to develop messages for the Latino community regarding disaster preparedness and the importance of having a plan. Again, Univision produced bilingual messages to engage and inform their viewers of the necessity to be ready in the event a disaster in our district and counties. District 2 Emergency Preparedness Director Mark Palen emphasized, "We are always looking for new ways to educate families on the importance of having and implementing a solid plan in an emergency. Univision has given us the opportunity to deliver key messages right in the homes of our largest population in rural Georgia during popular television shows and sporting events."