Culturally Sensitive Images as an Effective Means of Health Promotion among Homeless Latino/Hispanic Men

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 9:10 AM

Amber Lea Vermeesch, MSN, RN, NP-C
School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, Coral Gables, FL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to gain insight into the use of culturally sensitive images as a means of improving health seeking behaviors.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the benefits of culturally sensitive health communications among Hispanic populations.


This pilot study explores the use of images as a means of modifying health seeking behaviors among homeless Latino/Hispanic men. The overall purpose of this project is to explore images that may be useful as a means of improving health seeking behaviors. The specific goals of this study are to determine what types of images would be appropriate and effective in motivating and discouraging this population. 

Background and Significance:

Health care disparities generally exist for the Latino/Hispanic population living in the United States, and more so for homeless, non-naturalized Latino/Hispanic men. Latino/Hispanics rarely receive health care until advanced stages of disease. Being homeless is a significant risk factor for health problems, including tuberculosis. Reasons for delayed healthcare for this population include fear of deportation, inability to pay for and limited access to health care services.


This study uses interviews, with structured questions and images of people showing symptoms of tuberculosis, with six Latino/Hispanic homeless men who regularly take shelter at an urban church. The study design was a descriptive study with content analysis to identify broad trends and discovering potential venues for future research. Results:
The participants, from Mexico and Guatemala, identified a wide variety of illnesses from the images, indicating that there was extensive non-verbal communication achieved.
The original intent of this paper was to determine the effectiveness of culturally sensitive images in communicating health behaviors to homeless Latino/ Hispanic men in Nashville. Due to a number of factors, the actual findings of this study differed significantly from the original intent. Valuable information was discovered about the effect of using images in communicating ideas about health to this population. In conclusion, this pilot study suggests that further study of the effectiveness of culturally appropriate images in promoting health seeking behaviors offers a rich potential.