Build up your outreach efforts this Minority Health Month

Although we should strive for health equality all year long, April is Minority Health Month and it’s a time when we should pay special attention to our efforts at promoting access to health care resources for all ethnic and racial groups.

Not only will it improve the health of these groups, which studies show have more difficulty accessing health care, but these special efforts can improve your patient census as more members of minority groups connect with you, the agency that took the time to reach out to them.

  • Start by visiting the website of the Office of Minority Health. Take the time to learn about health equity and minority outreach. Commit to reaching a broader section of your community. You can find great tool kits on the issue here and here.
  • Reach out and partner with groups that serve your community’s minority markets. These include community health centers, charitable organizations, chambers of commerce, church groups, and groups that work with migrant populations. Offer to help educate the groups they serve about various health issues that impact them.
  • Build your agency’s library of Spanish-language educational materials. Start by visiting the National Network of Libraries of Medicine for a varied selection of health topics in Spanish. You can also find Spanish materials personalized to your agency, including brochures, health logs and helpful zone flyers. Arrange to have some of your materials displayed at health clinics that serve large Hispanic populations.
  • Get involved in Kidney Sundays, an effort of the National Kidney Disease Education Program. Kidney Sundays aims to educate the attendees of primarily African American churches about kidney disease. After all, although African Americans make up only about 13 percent of the population, about 32 percent of U.S. cases of kidney failure are in African Americans. Download a free Kidney Sundays toolkit and then contact local African American churches to discuss ways you can help educate their congregations about the disease. Distribute agency flyers on kidney disease to those you encounter at your Kidney Sundays event.
  • Contact minority patients you have served and their families. Ask them to provide testimonials about the care they received from your agency. Use these testimonials in your marketing materials and future promotions to highlight your agency’s inclusiveness.
  • Recognize the health disparities in heart disease and then take action. A toolkit to begin a heart health program can be found at the website of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Don’t forget to stock up on your agency’s heart disease-related brochures to aid in your outreach efforts.

Plan for April: More Outreach

April is an incredibly important month in health care. There are tons of observances you can leverage to bolster your marketing plans, but we’re going to focus on three this time.

April is National Minority Health Month. It’s a great time to increase your efforts to reach your community’s racial and ethnic minority populations. Study after study shows that these groups have more difficulty accessing health care for a number of reasons. In addition, some minority groups are at greater risk of developing certain diseases. This month, focus on your community’s Hispanic population. Although many Hispanics speak English fluently, many others are more comfortable receiving information in Spanish.

  • Drop by the offices of physicians and by clinics that serve your community’s Latino population. Leave behind disease-specific brochures in Spanish that focus on how home health can help. Find a selection of ready-made brochures that include topics such as diabetes, heart disease, CHF, COPD and pneumonia – all in Spanish – at
  • Zone Flyers are great tools to help patients with various illnesses know when their symptoms warrant a call to their home health nurse or to 911. This new line of Spanish Zone Flyers will give Spanish-speaking patients an easy guide that can help them improve their health. Hand them out to your own Spanish-speaking patients, and leave some for the hospital discharge planners in your area. Find them at
  • Put your agency’s name in the hands of every prospective client while giving them a tool that will help them improve the health care they receive and their relationships with their doctors. Distribute our popular My Health Logs (now in Spanish) at the offices of your local primary care physicians or other doctors who see a large number of Hispanic seniors in your community. Find them at

Don’t forget: April 7 is World Health Day. The day is celebrated each year to mark the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s founding in 1948. This year’s theme is High Blood Pressure. The condition is a problem throughout the United States and the world. Take a stand for blood pressure education in your community.

  • Call on your local internists and family practice physicians to explain how your program can help meet the needs of patients with hypertension. Incorporate hypertension-specific patient education guides into your program to demonstrate the added attention these patients will receive from your agency. Find them at Leave behind blood pressure logs that their patients can use to track their blood pressure readings. Find them at
  • Leave a stack of high blood pressure flyers in your local hospital ER waiting rooms. Drop them off in the evening to catch those late-night emergent patients and the hospital’s “frequent flyers.” Find them at
  • Give patients a great tool they can use to determine when their hypertension symptoms are serious enough to call their home health nurse, and when they warrant a call to 911. The stoplight-themed high blood pressure Zone Flyer gives patients a clear road map of when they are all clear (green), should exercise caution (yellow), or having a medical alert (red). Find the personalized materials at
  • Contact a local branch of the VFW and offer to present a heart health class. Find a ready-made class at

Finally, April is National Cancer Control Month. More than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and about 12.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. About 500,000 people die from the disease each year.

  • Volunteer to teach a community-based education class on disease management at a local support group meeting. Find a done-for-you class at
  • Contact the local office of the American Cancer Society and offer to organize a bake sale, sidewalk sale or other charity event to benefit the organization. Be sure to have plenty of informative materials available that educate about cancer. Find personalized brochures about home health and breast cancer and cancer at Personalized agency flyers about cancer are available at
  • Visit the offices of local oncologists and discuss the ways your cancer services can benefit their patients. Include a cancer treatment-specific Patient Education Guide in your materials to demonstrate your agency’s commitment to comprehensive patient education and improved outcomes. Find them at