252442 Testing for radon and tailoring health messages to increase awareness in a rural community

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ashton Wright, MPH , College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Sarah Kercsmar, PhD , College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
JaNelle Ricks, MPA , College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Heather Robertson, MPA , College of Nursing, Clean Indoor Air Partnership, University of Kentucky Tobacco Policy Research Program, Lexington, KY
Ellen J. Hahn, PhD, RN , Tobacco Research and Prevention Program, University of Kentucky College of Nursing and College of Public Health, Lexington, KY
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Few homeowners test for radon and increased awareness of its health risks is warranted. A Test Your Home and Win Contest was conducted in a small rural community in Kentucky. Study participants were recruited via multiple media channels over a six-week period. Participants completing a 10-minute online survey (i.e., questions about their home, tobacco use, lung cancer history, and other sociodemographic information) received a free radon test kit and were eligible to win a free mitigation system. 77 households met the inclusion criteria, completed the initial survey, and tested their homes; 84% of the tests were returned and readable. Radon levels ranged from <0.3 to 37.7 pCi/L and the homes with the 3 highest radon levels were mitigated by a certified mitigation specialist. 41% of the homes that returned readable tests were at or above the Environmental Protection Agency action level of 4.0 pCi/L; highlighting the need to disseminate information about radon, its harmful health effects, and how to test and mitigate. Follow-up focus groups were held in order to describe the most effective ways to deliver health messages about radon, testing, and mitigation. Key findings from the focus groups revealed: myths about radon are prevalent; health messages emphasizing radon's harmful effects on children may be the most effective in persuading participants to test and mitigate for radon; and public health professionals and health care providers, as trusted members of the community, may be the most effective in disseminating this information.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate an innovative approach to promoting healthy homes. 2. Describe lessons learned in conducting a population-based radon testing contest. 3. Describe findings from a contest in a rural environment.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I implemented and oversaw the radon Test & Win study in Boyle County Kentucky and I work on other projects related to radon.
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.