Assessing the Effectiveness of Informational Video Clips on Iranian Immigrants' Attitudes Toward and Intention to Use the BC HealthGuide Program in the Greater Vancouver Area

Iraj Poureslami, PhD; David Murphy, MS; Anne-Marie Nicol, PhD; Ellen Balka, PhD; Irving Rootman, PhD

In This Article

Discussion and Conclusions

Although the BCHG program is a promising service, awareness levels and utilization rates among the GVA's Iranian immigrant population have, until now, been low. There was some awareness of the BCHG program among members of this community prior to the airing of the videos; however, calls to the NurseLine requesting Farsi translation were very low prior to airing of the videos. Calls to the NurseLine requesting Farsi translation jumped in volume significantly around the time when the videos were aired (October-December 2004), suggesting that culturally appropriate videos can be used to get health messages out to culturally specific communities.[18] Additionally, there was an increase in the use of the Farsi translation service just prior to the video's being aired (September 2004). This change may point to the importance of the participatory video production process itself[19]; the Iranian community members who helped to create the videos may have spread word of the service to friends and family. This interpersonal communication function illustrates the importance of a participatory approach in both process and product for raising awareness of health issues within the community.[18,21] The findings of this study strongly suggest that Iranians living in the GVA are open to alternatives to routine healthcare services, including the use of online preventive and self-care resources, such as the BCHG services.

Referring back to the definition of health literacy,[20] the first fundamental component of an individual being health-literate is to be able to access appropriate health information.[6] In addition, considering that cultural beliefs and practices,[25,26] as well as sex,[25] are acknowledged to significantly influence health and literacy,[27] the BCHG program should consider the demographic and cultural characteristics of the various ethnic communities living in British Columbia in aiming to provide accessible consumer health information.[10,18] Furthermore, promotional activities and services that are targeted directly to different communities' needs, priorities, and challenges[22,26] would have the potential to greatly improve the BCHG program's use and value among BC's population at large, including ethnocultural communities.

In this study, easy access to information was provided via culturally appropriate (Farsi language, balance of sex and age, community members as actors, use of relevant topics, and recognition of common cultural traditions) video clips introducing a government-sponsored consumer health information program. The noticeable and sustained improvement in attitudes, perceptions, and self-reported utilization rates of the BCHG program among participants in this study following the viewing of culturally appropriate promotional videos highlights the potential to modify cultural beliefs in regard to preventive healthcare, provided the relevant messages are delivered appropriately.

We suggest that culturally relevant and targeted audiovisual media, involving the participation of target population members in all aspects of production, and focusing not only on the experience but also considering the outcome, can be an effective means of providing accessible and understandable health information for specific ethnocultural communities.

Future studies have the potential to show the long-term impact of this type of intervention on behavioral and cultural modification, and can be designed to determine with what frequency targeted message must be repeated in order to sustain increased rates of utilization. In addition, future studies could explore whether or not repeating of the same messages over time leads to sustained increases in utilization rates, or whether "fresh" messages are required in order to sustain increased use amongst particular communities over time.


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