April 2004

Grant Results

SUMMARY

In 2002, the ABC Radio Networks produced public service health messages that were broadcast from September through December 2002 to the largely African American audience of its Urban Advantage Network.

The project was part of a five-year, $400 million initiative called "Closing the Health Gap" — launched in 2001 in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — to address the disparities in health access and outcomes among racial and ethnic minorities.

Key Results
In an interview, the project director reported the following results:

  • From September 4 through December 27, 2002, an RWJF-sponsored public service message aired at least once a week.
  • During the same period, Tom Joyner's spoken health message aired once a week during his Sky Show.
  • During the grant period, an estimated 10 million people received messages about the "Closing the Health Gap" campaign through all media, including print, television radio and the World Wide Web.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $374,000.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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THE PROBLEM

Studies show that African Americans are more affected by serious disease — including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS and asthma — than are other Americans. One reason for this disparity may be the lack of relevant, culturally appropriate information that encourages African Americans to take a more active role in maintaining their own health. For the "Closing the Health Gap" campaign, ABC Radio Networks agreed to donate some $4 million in airtime for public health messages aimed at African Americans. To garner sufficient attention from listeners, the Network needed support to buy more airtime and produce additional messages.

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RWJF STRATEGY

At the time of this grant, RWJF's Priority Populations Team and Community Health Team were considering how RWJF resources could address the racial disparity in health care. This project provided the opportunity to take messages directly to the consumer. Shortly after funding it, RWJF changed its strategy to address racial and ethnic disparities in chronic care, working through providers and insurance plans to help correct disparity in the quality of care received.

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THE PROJECT

The ABC Radio Networks used RWJF funds to purchase 22 60-second commercial slots on its network. RWJF contracted with the advertising agency GMMB (offices in Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington) to draft the content of two public service announcements and with MEE Productions in Philadelphia for two focus groups to test them.

The two announcements, produced by ABC, use African-American voices and center on the importance of regular exercise and the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes. An RWJF tag line ends the messages.

In addition, Tom Joyner, the Network's morning host, included a spoken RWJF-funded health message during his Sky Show — a live concert that broadcasts from different cities 30 weeks of the year.

The project was part of a five-year, $400 million initiative called "Closing the Health Gap" — launched in 2001 in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — to address the disparities in health access and outcomes among racial and ethnic minorities.

RWJF was one of seven non-profit and corporate funders. Total grants of about $4 million supported the broadcast of about 100 public service messages. See the Appendix for a list of supporters.

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RESULTS

In an interview, the project director reported the following results:

  • From September 4 through December 27, 2002, an RWJF-sponsored public service message aired at least once a week. The Urban Advantage Network reaches 17 million listeners each week, of which about 80 percent are African-American.
  • During the same period, Tom Joyner's spoken health message aired once a week during his Sky Show. The morning program reaches 1.3 million on-air listeners a day, plus 4,000 on-site viewers of the live concert and 200,000 listeners through on-line streaming audio.
  • During the grant period, an estimated 10 million people received messages about the "Closing the Health Gap" campaign through all media, including print, television radio and the World Wide Web.

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AFTER THE GRANT

The "Closing the Health Gap" initiative will continue into 2006. The 2003 campaign encouraged individuals to take charge of their health by visiting a health professional. The initiative's Web site, has information about the initiative, health issues and resources. Because its grantmaking strategy has changed, RWJF no longer funds the program.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Multimedia Outreach Program to Promote Health Among African Americans

Grantee

ABC Radio Networks (Chicago,  IL)

  • Amount: $ 374,000
    Dates: July 2002 to December 2002
    ID#:  045760

Contact

Reggie Denson
(312) 899-4181
reggie.r.denson@abc.com

Web Site

http://www.omhrc.gov

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Members of the Consortium Funding the Multimedia Effort for the ''Closing the Gap'' Initiative

  • Amerigroup Corporation
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Glucerna
  • KMart
  • Merck & Co.
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Audio-Visuals and Computer Software

A 60-second public service message addressing consequences of untreated diabetes, Chicago: ABC Radio Networks, 2002.

"Don't Get Old, Get Active," a 60-second public service message urging people to get regular exercise, Chicago: ABC Radio Networks, 2002.

World Wide Web Sites

www.omhrc.gov provides information about the Closing the Gap initiative and health information and resources.

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Report prepared by: Janet Spencer King
Reviewed by: Kelsey Menehan
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: David J. Morse