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J Health Commun. 2012;17(1):6-21. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.585692. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Critiquing fetal alcohol syndrome health communication campaigns targeted to American Indians.

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1
School of Media and Communication, Bowling Green State University, 302 West Hall, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA. trentne@bgsu.edu

Abstract

It is widely recognized American Indians and Alaska Natives have suffered from far worse health status than that of other Americans. Health communication campaigns directed to American Indians and Alaska Natives and their outcomes must be grounded in an understanding of the historical and ongoing marginalization and cultural dislocation of these groups. The authors draw upon the specific case of health communication campaigns to reduce cases of fetal alcohol syndrome among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Counteracting stereotyping of American Indians and alcohol consumption by mainstream American popular culture and mediated discourses, coverage of fetal alcohol syndrome in the media is assessed. The study analyzes 429 American Indian news articles from 1990 to 2010. Mainstream American and American Indian media should cover health concerns such as fetal alcohol syndrome more extensively. Researchers, health communication campaign developers, health policy makers, and mainstream media must be knowledgeable about American Indian and Alaskan Native identity, cultures, and history, and diversity across Nations. Last, and most important, health communication strategists and health policy makers must welcome American Indians and Alaska Natives to take leadership roles in communicating culture- and Nation-specific health campaign strategies to eliminate health disparities.

PMID:
22044046
DOI:
10.1080/10810730.2011.585692
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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