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Industry Public Safety, Health & Hygiene
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Healthcare and Services
Project Director: Anne Smith (Evolve Communications)
Executive Producer: Jesus Fuentes (La Neta Tierra)
Co-Executive Producer: Roberto Manzanillo (La Neta Tierra)
Artistic Director: Alma Delfina (Smith Delfina)
Technical Director: Michael Smith (Smith Delfina)
Screenplay: Eva Manzanillo (Independant)
Production Manager: Gabriel Munoz (Entravision Communications)
Musical Director: Luis Paoletti (Paoletti Productions)
Performer - Theme Song: Ivonne (Paoletti Productions)
Motion Graphics/Animation: Juan Pablo Reyes (Alkemia Lab)
Lead Evaluator: Mariana Enriquez Olmos (Center for Research Strategies)
Health Content Coordinator: Cristina Bejarano, MPH (Independant)
Call Center Coordinator: Fernando Pineda Reyes (CREA Results)
Project Funder: Kelly Dunkin (The Colorado Health Foundation)
Project Partner: Joanne Lindsay (Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing)
Media placement: TV Campaign - 20 Branding Spots Featuring Actors - Univision Colorado - April 19, 2009
Media placement: TV Campaign - 20 Informational Spots Featuring Actors - Univision Colorado - April 19, 2009
Media placement: TV Campaign - 20 Call To Action Spots Featuring Actors - Univision Colorado - April 19, 2009
Media placement: TV Campaign - 20 Promotional Spots Featuring Actors - Univision Colorado - April 19, 2009
Media placement: Noticias Univision Colorado News Coverage - Univision Colorado - April 26, 2009
Media placement: TV Campaign - 10 Call Center Spots Featuring Local Team - Univision Colorado - May 3, 2009
Media placement: Twelve Half Hour Telenovelas - Univision Colorado - May 3, 2009
Media placement: Despierta Colorado - 2-Minute Interview Segments - Univision Colorado - May 27, 2009

Summary of the Campaign
The Encrucijada project began in 2007 when collaborators discussed replicating an idea they’d heard about on NPR. The Baltimore Child Health Plan used an 8-minute telenovela (Spanish language soap opera) to educate Hispanics about the public health system. 72 percent of Colorado children who are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid/CHP+ are Hispanic. The telenovela seemed an ideal means for communicating the value of CHP+/Medicaid to Spanish speakers. Colorado’s top Spanish language TV station (Univision) brought Jesus Fuentes to the project. Fuentes planned production, engaging other Latino businesses to provide support. Fuentes wrote the 12-chapter script and theme song, and tested his ideas against the target audience. The Colorado Health Foundation provided a grant to budget, form an advisory group, and finalise project plans. Other partners were brought in: an evaluator, a health content coordinator, and a call center. A second grant covered project execution and broadcast. The series was shot in Spring 2009 in Los Angeles, CA. Encrucijada aired in May 2009 and again in September. Viewership averaged over 20,000 people per episode; the call center handled nearly 2,100 calls. The evaluation has demonstrated that the series impacted behaviors, including increasing knowledge about CHP+/Medicaid and prevention of chronic disease.

The Goal
The goal of Encrucijada is to increase enrollment among Spanish speaking families in public health insurance programmes and increase knowledge/behaviors around prevention and management of chronic disease. The use of a telenovela (Spanish language soap opera) is not common practice in the US; however its success as an educational vehicle is well documented in Latin America. With that information, our team approached The Colorado Health Foundation (TCHF), whose goal is to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. TCHF has a reputation for funding risk-taking ventures in order to achieve better health outcomes for underserved populations. TCHF loved Encrucijada!

Encrucijada is undergoing a rigid evaluation conducted by Mariana Enriquez-Olmos of Center for Research Strategies. Some findings: • Average of 20,000+ viewers in nearly 15,000 households watched weekly. • Call center received over 2,050 calls, and fulfilled nearly 3,000 requests for information. • 115+ adults responded to three surveys before, during and after broadcast. • Five case studies were conducted. • Participants reported increased behaviors toward disease management and an increase in healthy living behaviors. • Participants reported an increase in behavior seeking enrollment in public health insurance. • PR/Press: - Covered by Colorado Public Radio and National Public Radio. - A story by Associated Press was picked up by 98 publications worldwide. - Two Colorado Healthcare Communicators Awards (Best Diversity/Health Disparity Project; Colorado Non-Profit Project of the Year). - Top honors at Colorado Broadcasters Association Awards (First place - Best Community Relations Project/Campaign) • Encrucijada is a success!

Once the production grant was secured, the team took action. A Spanish speaking health content coordinator met with area providers to insure that the project’s information was factually correct. Cristina Bejarano worked with Fuentes to infuse the chapters with important health information. Smith Delfina, with many telenovelas to its credit, began securing an amazing cast including Socorro Bonilla, Sergio Bonilla and other experienced Mexican actors. They were passionate to help the community by their participation. Shooting took place March-May of 2009, and the first episode aired on May 3, 2009; a promotional schedule started April 19, 2009. A call center staffed by local Spanish speaking community health workers (promotoras) was trained and a 1-800 number aired so that viewers could call and be connected to the CHP Plus Application Assistance Center near them. The series re-aired weekly September through November, 2009 and will re-broadcast in fall of 2010.

The Situation
In 1997, US President Bill Clinton signed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill into law, giving health insurance and access to care for five million American children. Since its inception, SCHIP has expanded to cover millions more kids. In Colorado, estimates show that 72% of the children eligible but not enrolled in Child Health Plan Plus are Hispanic. The telenovela series Encrucijada was created to address that health disparity; to educate Spanish speakers about the value of enrolling their children in public health insurance programs. Since airing in 2009, the series has received nationwide coverage and numerous awards.

The Strategy
The team approached the Colorado Office of Healthcare Policy and Financing and Univision Colorado seeking partnership. Univision offered the services of Creative Services Director Jesus Fuentes as Executive Producer for the project. With a planning grant from The Colorado Health Foundation, the Encrucijada team formed advisory committees representing leaders and grassroots organisers from the Latino community. These advisors informed the creation of the story, characters, and topics covered. The team searched the globe for the right production partners, ultimately finding them in Los Angeles (Smith Delfina) and Mexico (Luis Paoletti). It was determined that twelve 'chapters' (episodes) would be created, and Fuentes began work on storyboards and scripts. Univision designed a broadcast plan that donated the half hours, putting foundation dollars against a promotional schedule and matching it 100%. As the strategy came together, our project director developed a grant request that would cover project expenses.