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Research Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities

Abstract

This study examined whether an adolescent's self-identified race moderates the perceived effectiveness of antismokingmessages. A sample of 94 never smoking adolescents (59% African-American; 41% European-American)
participated in this two-part study. First, they rated the persuasive strength of a series of five decontextualized
anti-smoking messages (i.e., messages delivered in text format). Second, they were exposed to five sets of
anti-smoking public service announcements (PSAs; viewed as TV advertisements) that had embedded in them
the five anti-smoking messages used in the first part of the study and rated their smoking refusal self-efficacy
after each one. Although race moderated participants' ratings of the decontextualized messages, there were no
significant moderating effects of race when those messages were embedded in PSAs. The results of this study
support the notion that anti-smoking PSAs should not be targeted to adolescent racial background, but suggests
that decontextualized anti-smoking messages may be more effective if targeted to adolescent race.
© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Abstract

Adolescence is a critical time for the development of lifestyle practices, attitudes, and beliefs related to health and well-being. Many adolescent health behaviors, including dietary practices, physical activity habits, and weight control have been previously described. Yet evidence suggests there may be cause for concern, not only about the current health status and behaviors of adolescents, but also about their future health status as adults.1 Comprehensive school-based initiatives that target these behaviors can help sustain healthy lifestyles through the adolescent years and after the initiatives have ended. However, insufficient attention has been paid to the process of conducting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) School Health Index (SHI) to promote collaboration between a major public university and an urban school district to develop an adolescent health promotion campaign, and the real-world challenges and opportunities this type of collaboration can pose.

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Abstract

Achieving health equity, driven by the elimination of health disparities, is a goal of Healthy People 2020. In recent decades, the improvement in health status has been remarkable for the U.S. population as a whole. However, racial and ethnic minority populations continue to lag behind whites with a quality of life diminished by illness from preventable chronic diseases and a life span cut short by premature death. We examine a conceptual framework of three generations of health disparities research to understand (a) data trends, (b) factors driving disparities, and (c) solutions for closing the gap.Wepropose a new, fourth generation of research grounded in public health critical race praxis, utilizing comprehensive interventions to address race, racism, and structural inequalities and advancing evaluation methods to foster our ability to eliminate disparities. This new generation demands that we address the researcher's own biases as part of the research process.

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Abstract

Research among African-Americans indicates this population perceives sickle cell (SCD) to be a serious disease and sickle cell trait (SCT) screening an important intervention. However, studies have consistently demonstrated a lower than desired uptake of SCD education, inadequate knowledge regarding personal and family trait status, and a low perceived susceptibility of giving birth to a child with the disease. We examined general attitudes and beliefs regarding genetics and genetic testing including prenatal testing and newborn screening; we used this information as the foundation to more specifically assess attitudes and beliefs regarding SCD and perceived barriers to SCD education and awareness. Thirty-five African- American adult men and women participated in one of four focus groups. Thematic analysis identified that both prenatal testing and newborn screening are acceptable forms of genetic testing. Based largely on their personal experiences, participants possessed an understanding of the natural progression of SCD but had a limited understanding of the inheritance and probable risk of giving birth to a child with the disease. Barriers to education and greater awareness of SCD were classified as personal, familial, and societal. Community based interventions focused on sharing the stories of individuals with first-hand experiences with SCD should be considered.

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Vinaya S. Murthy & Mary A. Garza & Donna A. Almario & Kristen J. Vogel &Robin E. Grubs & Elizabeth A. Gettig & John W. Wilson & Stephen B. Thomas
Using a Family History Intervention to Improve Cancer Risk Perception in a Black Community

Journal of Genetic Counseling, ISSN 1059-7700, DOI 10.1007/ s10897-011-9389-2

Abstract

Few studies examine the use of family history to influence risk perceptions in the African American population. This study examined the influence of a family health history (FHH) intervention on risk perceptions for breast (BRCA), colon (CRC), and prostate cancers (PRCA) among African Americans in Pittsburgh, PA. Participants (n=665) completed pre- and post-surveys and FHHs. We compared their objective and perceived risks, classified as average, moderate, or high, and examined the accuracy of risk perceptions before and after the FHH intervention. The majority of participants had accurate risk perceptions post-FHH. Of those participants who were inaccurate pre-FHH, 43.3%, 43.8%, and 34.5% for BRCA, CRC,
and PRCA, respectively, adopted accurate risk perceptions post-FHH intervention. The intervention was successful in a community setting. It has the potential to lead to healthy behavior modifications because participants adopted ac- curate risk perceptions. We identified a substantial number of at-risk individuals who could benefit from targeted prevention strategies, thus decreasing racial/ethnic cancer disparities.

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