JHU•CCP and Catholic Charities Launch Uplifting Campaign to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

A daughter’s graduation. Your son dancing at his wedding. Watching your team score the winning goal. These are heartwarming moments you have to see yourself!

A daughter’s graduation. Your son dancing at his wedding. Watching your team score the winning goal. These are heartwarming moments you have to see yourself!

For Hispanics with diabetes, though, these special moments could be compromised by vision loss. About one in five Hispanics over the age of 40 years has diabetes, and as many as half may have early eye changes. An annual eye exam can help prevent vision loss from diabetes. A new campaign in Baltimore City will soon help ensure they can keep enjoying the best moments of their lives.

Starting in March, radio ads on popular Spanish-language station El Zol 99.1 FM will urge Hispanics with diabetes to have annual eye exams. Baltimore city buses will carry the phone number for the ProVision project hotline, which will give access to screening and treatment for diabetic eye disease. The campaign was developed by the Wilmer Eye Institute, Catholic Charities’ Hispanic Apostolate, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs in partnership with MAYA Advertising & Communications.

The radio and bus ads complement ongoing community outreach activities carried out by the ProVision project, local businesses, and community organizations. According to Sheila West PhD, professor of ophthalmology and Principal Investigator of ProVision, “This new phase of our campaign allows us to reach an even larger Hispanic community in Baltimore. Mass media and community outreach together extend the message that diabetic eye disease can be prevented and treated. It starts with a call to the hotline at (443) 980-5105.”

The campaign will be launched on February 28, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. and will be hosted by The Markets at Highlandtown, 3801 Eastern Avenue, in Baltimore. The ceremony is expected to draw leaders of the Hispanic community and officials from the Johns Hopkins University and Catholic Charities.

The Hispanic Apostolate is a program of Catholic Charities, the region’s leading provider of human services. The 43-year old program welcomes and provides social services and legal support to Hispanic persons and other immigrants in the Baltimore area. The Apostolate’s bilingual staff offers assistance with employment, English proficiency, immigration legal services, and access to health care.

The Wilmer Eye Institute is known throughout the world for research and for management of exceptionally complex and serious eye cases. Researchers at Wilmer are involved in prevention of blindness projects in the most disadvantaged communities around the world. Wilmer is a leader in research, teaching, and patient care, providing compassionate and technically excellent care for patients with eye care needs at all levels.

With representatives in more than 30 countries, CCP partners with organizations worldwide to design and implement strategic communication programs that influence political dialogue, collective action, and individual behavior change; enhance access to information and the exchange of knowledge to improve health and health care; and conduct research to guide program design, evaluate impact, and advance knowledge and practice in health communication.

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