214061 Health Watch: Making health happen through a media-academic cancer partnership in Tennessee

Monday, November 8, 2010

Elizabeth A. Williams, MA, PhD , Office of Minority Affairs, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN
Sharon Kay , WFSK, 88.1 FM Radio Station, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
Robert Wingfield, PhD , Department of Chemistry, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
Johniene Thomas, MSPH , Department of Internal Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
Xuam Lawson , WFSK, 88.1 FM Radio Station, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
Liban Ahmed , WFSK, 88.1 FM Radio Station, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
Limited awareness can exacerbate cancer disparities. Informing populations affected by cancer requires using outlets that appeal to these groups. Radio is one of these. Effective radio use, as a health communication tool, requires understanding listener cultural/ social dynamics and having the ability to translate information to stimulate listener response. Radio as an awareness tool further entails working with stakeholders to generate content and sustain effort. When various sectors (i.e., academia, public health, media, etc.) work as cancer partners they achieve outputs better than produced alone.

Health Watch: a Pathway to Better Health, a health program on WFSK 88.1 FM Fisk University's radio station, represents that kind of cancer partnership. The program makes cancer awareness accessible to underserved populations through a virtual forum for information exchange, dialogue, and health promotion. Faculty and staff from academic institutions, including two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), co-host the program and model cooperative cancer prevention. Guests and topics consider “health” broadly (physical, behavioral/emotional, social, and environmental), reflecting cancer's complexity and the co-hosts' multidisciplinary backgrounds.

As partners, the station's management, co-hosts, and institutions create additional opportunities for cancer prevention. Service learning cultivates student health leaders. Program underwriting supports web-streaming, extending information transfer to new audiences. Other joint activities linking cancer and radio, furthers the partnership's reach.

As a case study, this paper considers the show's development, accomplishments, and activities. Data and program feedback demonstrate the show's effectiveness in community cancer awareness. Specific programming efforts provide examples of the partnership's growth beyond the weekly program.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the rationale and process behind a health radio program targeted for populations affected by cancer. 2.Identify particular ways the show has proven effective as a cancer communication tool. 3.Assess the utility of partnerships between media and academic institutions for producing culturally relevant and effective cancer communications.

Keywords: Cancer Prevention, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as an administrator and social scientist with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. I direct and co-host a health-talk radio program on WFSK 88.1FM Fisk University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.