The Health Communication Research Center (HCRC) recently presented its work on the SKIP the Salt, Help the Heart campaign as part of a health equity data meeting in Kansas City. Sponsored by the REACH Healthcare Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Missouri Health Equity Collaborative, the meeting brought together health policy analysts, health administrators and other professionals all committed to reducing health disparities in Missouri.
Heart disease, obesity and other chronic diseases burden many Americans, but in Missouri, some residents are burdened more than others. In midtown Kansas City, Mo., the death rate for essential hypertension, or high blood pressure, is nearly three times higher for African Americans compared to whites (Missouri DHSS MICA). Often called the silent killer, people with high blood pressure may not notice any symptoms, but over time, high blood pressure can lead to other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Working with the Sodium Knowledge in Practice Partnership, the HCRC identified key zip codes in the midtown Kansas City area to develop and launch a pilot project and strategic health communications campaign.
Sr. Information Specialist Natalie Hampton shared the HCRC’s primary and secondary data, including results from focus groups, key informant interviews, intercept surveys and a large telephone survey, and discussed how this information led to the development of the SKIP campaign. The campaign included bus, radio, and environmental messages, as well as a pilot intervention with two corner stores to promote low-sodium, healthy food items.
With the meeting’s focus on data, however, Natalie reiterated a commonly heard phrase at the HCRC, that “data is really about people.”
Along with the HCRC, other presenters included Dr. Rex Archer from the Kansas City Health Department, Ryan Barker from Missouri Foundation for Health, and Andrew Hunter and Becca Klein from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.