Hispanic communities in the US face health disparities across a wide range of conditions, from cancer and heart disease to obesity and diabetes. One potential root of these disparities stems from how Hispanic and Spanish-speaking patients interact with the healthcare system, and the ways they receive information about their health.
Since 2020, Amgen’s Representation in Clinical Research (RISE) team has been working to increase diversity and representation in the company’s clinical trials, and an important component of that work is community engagement and trust-building with minority populations.
That’s why RISE, in recent collaboration with the Hispanic Communications Network (HCN), conducted a research study to investigate more about the US Hispanic and Latinx communities, which ultimately confirmed a consistent sentiment of mistrust in the healthcare system and modern medicine.
Findings also showed that many individuals in these communities face personal, financial, and political barriers preventing them from seeking out or accessing care, and that average health literacy is at a third-grade level. Hispanic audiences also said that, when it comes to learning about clinical trials, they overwhelmingly prefer educational videos over written materials.
“It is so important to educate and empower the Hispanic/Latinx community because their voice matters,” says Amanda Beasley, director for the RISE team. “Their experience and involvement in clinical studies is imperative to gain the real insights into what does and doesn't work for them while allowing them access to potentially helpful treatments."
In October, during Hispanic Heritage Month, the RISE team worked with HCN to launch its first ever educational campaign designed specifically for Hispanic and Latinx communities across the US, produced entirely in Spanish to reach those who are often left out of healthcare messaging due to a language barrier.
The initiative features two outstanding Latina women as spokespeople: A healthcare practitioner, Estelamari Rodriguez, MD, MPH—who is a triple board-certified hematologist and oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center—and one of her patients, Mati, who is a survivor of stage 4 lung cancer with brain metastasis, and has an inspiring motivation to share her journey and clinical trial experience.
Dr. Rodriguez serves as a trusted provider who is extremely passionate about patient advocacy and health equity, while Mati believes her purpose is to educate her community about being their own advocates and to encourage others to know and consider all treatment options for their condition.
Using information learned through the audience research study, the RISE team and HCN designed a digital campaign with a simple approach explaining three reasons why it is important for their community to participate in clinical studies:
- They are voluntary and allow new treatments to be developed for everyone.
- If they participate, science can discover whether specific medications benefit patients like them.
- The results can help advance scientific knowledge about possible treatments for our community.
The campaign included three unique posts—two starred Dr. Rodriguez providing information about clinical trial safety, while the third showcased Mati’s story about her patient journey and encouraging others to advocate for their own health and to learn more about clinical trials.
To date, the campaign has successfully delivered 4.7 million impressions and reached nearly 1.6 million people. To reach as large of an audience as possible, content was shared across multiple digital platforms, including three social media posts on HCN’s Facebook and Instagram pages and shared on our Amgen socials.
A shared feature page was also created on HCN’s informational website La Red Hispana to house informative material consistent with the social media and radio content. The page also includes metrics on Hispanic/Latinx underrepresentation in clinical research and directs to Amgen’s RISE and Clinical Trials webpages for patients who want further information about Amgen trials. Dr. Rodriguez and Mati also starred in two videos, which are now available on both the HCN and Amgen YouTube channels.
In addition to the social media posts, feature page, and videos, Dr. Rodriguez recorded a short one-minute radio clip that was broadcast in Los Angeles and Houston, the two cities with the largest Hispanic populations in the US.
This collaborative initiative was fueled by a shared passion to build trust and empower the Hispanic and Latinx communities, to provide knowledge and resources that encourage them to advocate for their health, and to motivate them through a story that stimulates hope. The RISE team plans to continue to foster partnerships with community-based organizations like HCN to engage with, educate, and empower more underserved populations.
Browse the informational feature page at La Red Hispana.