Media Campaign Raises Cardiologists' Awareness of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care

From 2002 to 2004, staff from GYMR Public Relations purchased advertising space and developed outreach materials to support a program to increase cardiologists' awareness of racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation had launched the program—called the Initiative to Engage Physicians in Dialogue about Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Medical Care—in 2002. It centered on a media campaign involving a partnership of 13 participating medical organizations.

The project also included an assessment of the initiative conducted by investigators from the RAND Corporation.

Assessment Findings

  • Most participating organizations undertook the core activities, including providing information about the initiative on their Web sites and advertising space in their journals or newsletters, writing newsletter or journal articles and sponsoring special sessions at annual meetings. Most organizations also conducted additional disparities-related activities. (Report to RWJF)

  • 42 percent of cardiologists were aware of the media campaign. Of these, 50 percent felt it had affected their knowledge of racial/ethnic minorities, and 35 percent said that their behavior and decision-making with patients from racial/ethnic minorities changed. (Report to RWJF, based on a survey of 344 cardiologists and 208 cardiovascular surgeons)

  • 34 percent of cardiologists agreed that people received different care from the U.S. health care system depending upon their racial/ethnic status, and 33 percent agreed that disparities existed in cardiovascular care. Only 12 percent of cardiologists felt that such disparities existed at their own hospital, and only five percent felt they existed in their own practices. (Circulation, 2005, based on a survey of 344 cardiologists)