Annual Edition 'Buying Power of
Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures Black
consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of
their spending on items and services that improve their homes and
lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report,
"The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The
report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that
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Purdue Univ. gets $1.5 million to create African-American heart info
materials By Amy Patterson Neubert
Purdue Univ. News Service (September 6, 2010) Reducing the incidence of heart disease in the
high-risk African-American population in Indiana is the aim of a new
$1.5 million grant at Purdue University.
"Heart disease not only can lead to premature death but also affect the
quality of life for many individuals," said Mohan J. Dutta, professor of
health communication and director of the project. "Unfortunately,
improvements in disease prevention are small, and this project, which
will emphasize a community-driven, culture-centered approach, really
positions us to bring about a paradigm shift to improve the
effectiveness of public health programs. Doing so could help us address
the high health disparities experienced by African-Americans by creating
participatory spaces for African-American communities to voice their
opinions about health issues."
Dutta and his team will collaborate with the Indiana Minority Health
Coalition and its affiliates in Lake and Marion counties during the
three-year project, which is funded by the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality. The research team will create a technology hub
that will allow partners and patients to post information, collaborate
online, offer feedback and build technology-based community
infrastructures. This health disparities hub will utilize HUBzero, a Web
portal environment developed at Purdue.
Co-principal investigator William "Bart" Collins, clinical associate
professor and director of health-care communications at Purdue’s
Regenstrief Center, will be the coordinator for this aspect of the
project. The research group also is composed of a second co-principal
investigator, Titilayo A. Okoror, an assistant professor of health and
kinesiology, and team members Gary L. Kreps, the Eileen and Steve
Mandell Endowed Chair in Health Communication and director of the Center
for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University; Stephen C.
Hines, vice president for research at the Health Research and
Educational Trust in Chicago; and Calvin E. Roberson Jr., vice president
of planning and program development at the Indiana Minority Health
The project will focus on heart disease, specifically modifying how the
information is outlined in the well-known Comparative Effectiveness
Research Summary Guides that are published by the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality. These guides report the most current information
about a variety of diseases ranging from osteoporosis to heart disease.
The information about prevention and treatment has essential information
for researchers and health-care service providers. While available to
patients, it is not always utilized.
"The information is a great value, but in its initial form, it may have
little impact," Dutta said. "How do you take this clinical data and
communicate in a meaningful way? This is a common challenge in public
health. What can add value is shifting the location of decision-making
into the hands of the local community and marginalized groups. Without
these voices and input from the local community, health solutions may be
completely out of sync with the lived experiences of local communities."
Many current health campaigns rely on an approach in which most of the
activity happens at the expert level, with the academic expert studying
the target population, developing the message and then testing it.
"It seems logical, but when this approach is used materials are
developed by experts who can never fully understand the targeted
community. Because they are not part of that community, they can miss
feedback or reactions that could be critical to developing the message,"
he said. "Even more importantly, because underserved populations often
are evaluated on the basis of criteria imposed by outside experts, the
messages developed by experts fail."
During the next three years, Dutta and his team will develop and
evaluate training for local leaders in African-American communities on
how to develop a strategy to promote health information in the
community, evaluate the health disparities hub, and assess how these
changes increased and utilized the underserved African-American
community’s capacity to create relevant information about heart disease.
The researchers will establish an advisory panel, conduct focus groups
and individual interviews, and offer workshops for local community
members to create culturally tailored communication solutions on the
basis of the research summary guides.
By taking this kind of community-driven and culture-centered approach,
the community participates in decision making and strategy development
while the academic partner plays a capacity-building role that
facilitates collaboration and makes resources available to the
community, Dutta said.
"Therefore, the solutions originate from within the community and are
more likely to resonate with the African-American community members in
Lake and Marion counties," said Dutta, who also is associate dean for
research and graduate education in the College of Liberal Arts. The
concepts of the culture-centered approach are outlined in Dutta’s book
"Communicating Health: A Culture-Centered Approach."
In addition to partnering with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition,
Dutta and his team will work with the Lake County Minority Health
Coalition, Minority Health Coalition of Marion County, Purdue’s
Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, and the American Hospital
Association’s Health Research and Educational Trust.