Entertainment and Education: Let's Try Combining instead of Competing
Dr Gail Love.
This paper presents a conceptual framework for the development of culturally sensitive health-related messages utilizing the entertainment-education (EE) strategy of communication. EE will be examined for its efficacy in addressing challenges of developing community health programs for underserved populations, many of whom have low literacy levels and who have little or no knowledge of lifestyle changes or behaviors which help control chronic disease. These populations also do not have the knowledge or motivation to practice preventive or early-diagnostic health behaviors. EE strategies have been successfully incorporated into a wide variety of health education programs, primarily in Third World countries. These strategies are quite varied, ranging from street theater to radio and TV soap operas. While most EE evaluative research centers on mass-media delivered programs with health education messages, it is time to explore attributes of various entertainment formats, both mediated and interpersonal. It is also time to explore the efficacy of combining "one-shot" EE interventions within group education and discussion programs. Few global challenges facing humanity in the future are more serious than those posed by disease--we must find effective communication strategies to help in the fight to stem this oldest of humanity's threats.
Dr Gail Love (United States)
Assistant Professor of Communication
Department of Communication
California State University-Fullerton
Dr. Gail Love's primary research interest centers on social marketing and the use of the entertainment-education concept of communication in developing culturally sensitive health communication messages directed to underserved populations. She has done research in the area of developing and evaluating an entertainment-education themed video, designed to look like a soap opera, and used within a breast education program to motivate Latinas to comply with mammography guidelines. She is presently engaged in a research project with a state agency in developing and evaluating a Spanish-language video, which looks like a "telenovela" to educate Latina mothers about a poison-education telephone line to call if and when someone in the family ingests a toxic substance. She is also involved in developing an educational program on cardiac risk factors utilizing animated character to represent risk factors.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)