Program Spotlight

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This week we would like to spotlight the “Physical Activity. The Arthritis Pain Reliever” campaign which aims to increase physical activity among men and women with arthritis.

The Program Basics

“Physical Activity. The Arthritis Pain Reliever” is designed to:

• Raise awareness of physical activity as a way to manage arthritis pain and increase function

• Increase understanding of how to use physical activity (types and duration) to ease arthritis symptoms and prevent further disability

• Enhance the confidence of persons with arthritis so that they can be physically active

• Increase trial of physical activity behaviors

Messages are added or edited based on research including making sure that it is congruent with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In Wisconsin, implementation includes the health communication campaign with targeted print and community event outreach including health fairs, bus stop posters, and billboards.

Measuring Success

The Wisconsin Arthritis Program measures program success by impressions or the number of people that have been exposed to the campaign message. Radio spots, billboards, bus benches, posters, print ads and bookmarks are all utilized to communicate the campaign message to as many individuals as possible.

In May 2010, the Wisconsin Arthritis Program conducted the health communication campaign, including statewide radio advertising with targeted print and community event outreach in several select counties; Milwaukee, Marathon, and Wood.  The Program was highly successful in delivering over 35 million impressions of the message to adults over the age of 40 living in Wisconsin.

Challenges

As Julie Dotson mentioned, “It can be time consuming to establish partnerships within a particular community prior to beginning a campaign.” The Wisconsin Arthritis Program invested 6 months prior to campaign implementation into making contacts and establishing partnerships within the community. Dotson also mentioned that it was a challenge to make sure that the program aligned with prominent community leaders that were identified by members of the community. The Program learned that selecting the right individuals to serve on a planning committee or spearhead an effort is crucial to the campaigns ultimate success.

Implementing a Similar Program in Your Community

Partnering with community based organizations that frequently serve the population that you are trying to reach is essential. The Wisconsin Arthritis Program found that building rapport with the community through trusted partners was a very strong foundation on which to implement the campaign and spread the message regarding the importance of physical activity for persons with arthritis. The Program also found tremendous success in participating in community sponsored events like health fairs.

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