"My reminder. My daughter," says this Spanish language poster, part of a bi-lingual campaign to encourages Rochester residents with chronic illness to make taking their medications a habit.
What’s your reminder for taking medication?
That’s the question posed by a new public health campaign aimed at helping people get dangerous high blood pressure under control.
The new bilingual campaign features billboards, radio spots, bus railcards and posters. Community members can also request free pill boxes at the English and Spanish websites www.MyReminder.org and www.MiRecordatorio.org or by calling 585-224-3170.
Listen to the English and Spanish radio ads.
The campaign was developed by the community-wide High Blood Pressure Collaborative, which is spearheaded by the region’s largest employers, hospitals and health insurance companies and managed through a partnership between Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.
“The My Reminder campaign is an important new tool for creating a culture of health in Rochester,” said Collaborative Chair Paul Speranza. “This new campaign will help residents keep health at the top of their minds as they ride the bus, listen to the radio and travel city streets.”
“In the five years since the initiative began, the collaborative has had success reaching out to individuals through doctors’ offices, at workplaces, in community centers and in barbershops and salons,” said Speranza, the vice chairman and secretary of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. According to clinical data collected by the collaborative, hypertension control for adults in Monroe County has improved 13.7 percent since 2010 – progress so dramatic that it attracted the attention and praise of the federal Million Hearts program.
“But there’s still work to be done, particularly in high poverty neighborhoods,” said Speranza.
Residents in the city’s high poverty neighborhoods are 18 percent less likely to have high blood pressure in check than are individuals living in more affluent communities, clinical data show. The 2012 Monroe County Adult Health Survey also reported that African Americans are 1.6 times more likely and Latinos 1.1 times more likely than whites to have the chronic illness.
To address these health disparities, the My Reminder project targets ZIP codes in the City of Rochester with the highest rates of high blood pressure. Those ZIP codes also have some of the highest poverty rates in the region.
“Medicine can be easy to forget, especially if a person is dealing with stress due to poverty, complicated medicine schedules, advancing age or other factors,” said Wade Norwood, chief strategy officer for Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency. “During focus groups with representative patients, many emphasized the complexity of their lives and their medicines. We feel this campaign can help empower people to make an important change that is within their control.”
The My Reminder campaign encourages residents to develop routines that make taking daily medication a habit. For instance, patients may choose to set a cellphone alarm, place a pill bottle by their tootbrush or store their pillbox in their morning coffee cup. The campaign’s website includes links to helpful reminder strategies, community resources and a form to share a reminder.
Designed by Roberts Communications, My Reminder complements a broader med-adherence campaign by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and builds on research by the local insurer and others. According to a 2014 Excellus BCBS report, the estimated annual cost of treating patients who did not keep their high blood pressure in check with medications was $319 million for six counties in the Finger Lakes region, including Monroe County.
About one-third of adults in the Finger Lakes region have hypertension, defined as blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or more. The condition contributes to one-half of heart disease deaths and is a leading cause of stroke and kidney failure.
Want to share the My Reminder campaign with your organization or group? Call 585-224-3170 to request free English or Spanish posters.