Science and Health Communication Group members awarded nearly $100,000 grant by the Knight Foundation
Drs. Andrea Tanner (SJMC), Daniela Friedman (HPEB), Lee Pearson (HPEB), Megan Weis (HPEB) and Professor Van Kornegay (SJMC) have been awarded a $97,674 grant by the Knight Foundation to develop strategies to provide independent information to Richland County residents regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The USC researchers are partnering with the Richland Library and the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health to assess people’s knowledge, perceptions and communication sources and needs regarding the ACA and to develop ACA communication and educational strategies.
“This is an important issue that is impacting all Americans. We are excited to work with the Richland County Library and the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health to inform Richland County residents about the ACA and we are thankful to the Knight Foundation for supporting this collaborative project,” said Tanner, who serves as Co-Principal Investigator.
The USC researchers are conducting a telephone survey and focus groups with Richland County. Findings from this formative research will inform the development of ACA communication and educational materials and programs that can effectively inform residents in Richland County, as well as other areas of the state.
“We look forward to speaking with individuals in Richland County to find out what people know about the ACA. We will also learn how adults in South Carolina are receiving ACA-related information and how they would prefer to receive this information so we can develop clear and culturally appropriate messages to be delivered through their preferred communication channels,” said Friedman, who also serves as Co-Principal Investigator.
Even though open enrollment for health insurance created under the ACA began in October, according to Kaiser Health tracking Poll, 42% of Americans are unaware that the ACA is law and almost half (49%) do not have enough information to understand how the reform law will impact their own family. The lack of awareness and confusion is even more pronounced in South Carolina where the Governor and state health agency leaders have shown they do not plan to create a South Carolina specific health insurance exchange and they want to opt out of Medicaid expansion. The Knight-funded initiative is expected to cover a two-year time period and will address the confusion for South Carolinians by promoting awareness of and knowledge about the ACA in Richland County.