Plain Talk in Complex Times: Raising Awareness about Health Disparities in Minority Populations

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April 16, 2015
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The MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy hosted its fifth communication conference, Plain Talk in Complex Times, last month in Arlington, Virginia. The conference brought together nearly 200 professionals to share and learn best practices for communicating complex information to consumers.

Through panels, workshops, breakouts and plenary sessions, presenters offered insights that aligned with one of the five conference tracks:

  • Improving Communication
  • Building a Common Foundation
  • Bridging Cultural Gaps and Eliminating Barriers
  • Transforming Digital Connections
  • Enhancing the Consumer Experience

One consistent theme throughout the conference was how to reach and engage minority populations, specifically when looking to encourage healthy behaviors and ensure they have health insurance coverage. Topics discussed included how to increase engagement, tailor messages to specific audiences, communicate health prevention, and develop linguistically and culturally appropriate programs.

The conference featured Dr. Thomas LaVeist, PhD, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who presented on his extensive research into race disparities in health, and how to work to eliminate them. The conference also featured experts on minority health from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Advocate Health Care, Enroll America and the DC Health Benefit Exchange.

April is Minority Health Month, and we plan to continue the conversation started at Plain Talk. Throughout the month, we’ll be highlighting ways to engage minorities and hard-to-reach populations, and how to address health care disparities.

To learn more about Minority Health Month, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health’s informational website.

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