chapter  20
15 Pages

Culture, Communication, and Health: A Guiding Framework

ByMohan J. Dutta, Ambar Basu

In her editorial in the American Journal of Public Health, Freimuth (2004) called for eff orts to understand and incorporate complexities of culture beyond surface level cultural codes such as race and ethnicity in designing, implementing, and evaluating health communication strategies that seek to touch people’s lives. Cultural nuances derived from members of a target population factored into the design, implementation, and evaluation of health campaign eff orts (Airhihenbuwa & Obregon, 2000) lead to more eff ective health interventions (Dutta, 2007). A campaign that seeks to promote healthy eating habits among African Americans, for example, may locate oral communication as a predominant communication pattern among members of the target population. Instead of labeling this cultural trait as a barrier to promoting healthy eating habits through written scripts, a culturally sensitive campaign will plan to use oral modes of communication to promote such healthy eating habits as consuming fi ve servings of fruits and vegetables a day.