Title

Examining Healthcare Communications With Hispanic Populations in a Pandemic

Date of Award

Summer 8-27-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Public Relations

Advisor(s)

Gaggin, Kelly

Subject Categories

Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Hispanics have been disproportionately affected by and dying of COVID-19 but are still less likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Communicating with and informing Hispanics of health risks, protective measures, and vaccine efficacy is paramount to combating high COVID-19-related mortality rates among Hispanics. Healthcare providers are in a unique position of being knowledgeable and informed about COVID-19 as well as what individuals can do to protect themselves. However, it can be difficult for healthcare systems to inform or educate Hispanics given existing trust issues, as well as underlying socioeconomic and cultural barriers. These existing issues have been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study explores healthcare communications directed toward the Hispanic population in Houston, Texas throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as well as how communications and engagement can be further improved. Furthermore, this study tests the hypothesis that hospitals can bridge the Hispanic trust divide by establishing relationships via community partners from within the Hispanics community. Specifically, this study examines the extent to which hospital partnerships with community organizations can be an effective way for healthcare systems to communicate with Hispanics, establishing trust with Hispanics and understanding their preferred communication channels.

Keywords: health communications, Hispanic, COVID-19

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