Media-awareness campaign aims to reduce binge drinking among ethnic-minority emerging adults

Health-promotion and disease-prevention efforts can no longer use a one-size-fits-all approach. Efforts targeting emerging adult populations - encompassing late adolescence and early adulthood - must embrace and utilize multi-pronged, multi-media approaches in order to be successful. This presentation discusses a unique media-awareness campaign designed to reduce binge drinking, as well as associated HIV/HCV risk, among Hispanic/Latino emerging adults.

"To be maximally successful, it is incumbent on researchers and public-health providers to acknowledge and incorporate the means by which emerging adults receive and exchange information," said Sofia B. Fernandez, M.S.W., a doctoral student at the Florida International University and project coordinator. "Our information is unique because it follows the progression of a community- based project, The Miami-Dade Partnership for Preventing Health Risks among Young Adults, that systematically developed a media-awareness campaign to reduce alcohol use and HIV/HCV infection through four phases." Fernandez will present this research at the 39th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism in New Orleans June 25-29, 2016.

Fernandez said four groups made up the partnership: 1) Florida International University, a large Hispanic serving institution, 2) two minority-focused, community-based organizations, Union Positiva and Spectrum Programs, 3) Mixto Music, a Hispanic-market, media-production company, and 4) Dieste, the largest Hispanic market-advertising company in the U.S. The four phases included: 1) a university-community needs assessment, 2) development of a strategic plan for prevention needs among Hispanic young adults, 3) selection of culturally and linguistically appropriate evidence-based prevention messaging, and 4) formative research through focus groups and community advisory boards.

"The use and importance of social media for communication and information sharing among ethnic-minority emerging adults [quickly] became evident," said Fernandez. "Findings and considerations from our target population were directly translated into project strategies, including the use of social-networking sites for disseminating health- promotion and disease-prevention content in a nonthreatening, educational, and empowering manner."

Fernandez added that formative research is particularly essential for under-represented, emerging-adult populations. "By eliciting information from target populations about cultural and linguistic realities and barriers to prevention, and about current trends in the use of social media, we can improve the design and implementation of prevention campaigns," she said. "By harnessing developmentally and culturally appropriate social-media technologies in creative ways, we have enhanced our ability to address health disparities and inequities associated with alcohol-use problems, while also promoting health promotion and disease prevention."


Research Society on Alcoholism


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