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U.S. Latinos are 1.5 times more likely than whites to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, the number of Latinos with Alzheimer’s and dementia could increase six-fold, from 200,000 today to 1.3 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
We need to raise awareness. We also need advocacy for solutions.
Fortunately, our Salud America! #SaludTues Tweetchats, a discussion series on Twitter about Latino health, helped raise awareness of and advocacy action around Alzheimer’s and its rise among Latinos, according to our new study in the Journal of Health Communication.
The study found that #SaludTues Tweetchats provided a unique forum for sharing facts, increasing exposure, and discussing solutions to Alzheimer’s among Latinos.
“The study proves that planned, culturally relevant tweetchats like #SaludTues can be a powerful tool for public health practitioners and advocates to engage audiences on Twitter around important health issues, advocacy, and policy solutions for Alzheimer’s among Latinos,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.
What Are #Saludtues Tweetchat Tweetchats?
Salud America! created the #SaludTues Tweetchat series in 2014.
Our tweetchats occur on the first Tuesday of each month, from 1-2 p.m. EST. The aim is to create an ongoing conversation about the social and environmental inequities that contribute to disparities in Latino health, like Alzheimer’s disease.
We share answers using Latino health equity content from our website. Our chat co-hosts, a handful of topic experts and advocates, also join in sharing content, solutions, and perspectives.
Through this participation, our combined audiences are exposed to the Q&A conversation.
From 2014 to 2018, #SaludTues Tweetchats attracted 24,609 participants, according to another of our recent studies. Participants made 177,466 tweets. This produced over 1.87 billion impressions.
“It is essential that our leaders and communities understand these inequities and the systemic solutions that can meet the public health needs of an increasingly multicultural society,” Ramirez said.
How Did #SaludTues Tweetchats Increase Exposure about Alzheimer’s and Related Solutions?
For the new study in the Journal of Health Communication, we analyzed the three tweetchats that focused on Alzheimer’s. These occurred Aug. 14, 2018, June 6, 2019, and Oct. 6, 2020.
Salud America! partnered with global groups that advocate for Alzheimer’s solutions in Latino and other communities. Tweetchat co-hosts included LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s (part of USAgainstAlzheimer’s), Alzheimer’s Association, Diverse Alzheimer’s, Diverse Elders, US Department of Health and Human Services, and Alzheimer’s Los Angeles.
The study found that, each year, the #SaludTues Tweetchat on Alzheimer’s drew a higher participation and audience reach:
- 2018: 579 tweets and 3.89 million impressions
- 2019: 704 tweets and 5.72 million impressions
- 2020: 932 tweets and 6.62 million impressions
“The three Alzheimer’s-focused #SaludTues tweetchats particularly served as unique testing grounds for the fast dissemination and increasingly exposed many people to the issue of AD and the need to advocate for the Latino community,” according to the study.
Get Involved in Latino Health Advocacy Today!
If you’ve never joined a #SaludTues Tweetchat, we encourage you to join one!
To learn more about upcoming chats, check out our #SaludTues Tweetchat schedule. Also, be sure to read our full article in Journal of Health Communication and spread the word about #SaludTues!
We also urge you to share Alzheimer’s resources and campaigns.
To engage more Latinos in Alzheimer’s research, Dr. Ramirez’s Salud America! program at UT Health San Antonio is creating Latino-focused recruitment strategies and systems for clinical trials, supported by a three-year, $650,000 grant from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.
The new grant will enable Salud America! to improve Latino understanding of clinical trials and increase awareness among Latinos about the latest clinical trials and biobanking.
“Our new project will allow us to use culturally relevant digital health communications, advocacy networks, and clinical partnerships to promote health equity and advance clinical trials for cancer treatment and Alzheimer’s disease among Latinos,” she said.