Factchequeado and Cuidate/Take Care Annapolis are identifying and countering health misinformation in diverse communities
To help correct the scourge of medical misinformation which experienced a resurgence during the pandemic, especially among Black and Latino populations, the ABIM Foundation is awarding $110,000 in grants, the foundation announced today.
Two grants will be given that seek to blunt the kind of propaganda that most impacted people from Black and Latino communities as the COVID-19 pandemic raged.
Mitigating medical misinformation will require myriad approaches to better understand promising opportunities to ensure patients and the public get accurate, evidence-based information they can use to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. Plus, it helps build and restore trust in science and the medical professionals who should be the primary sources of medical advice.
“Far too many families have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic because they were misled by medical misinformation that spread fear and distrust in medicine,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation. “Factchequeado and Cuidate/Take Care Annapolis are just two great examples of programs that are working to provide accurate medical information where it’s needed most and build their trust in medical professionals.”
Factchequeado, a project by Maldita.es and Chequeado, is the first organized effort to address the lack of Spanish-language fact-checking in the U.S., and has received an $80,000 grant to monitor and respond to misinformation claims, with a focus on those that are trending on WhatsApp. Factchequeado pushes high-quality information where misinformation is spreading, rather than depending on individuals to seek out factual health information independently.
Through the grant, Factchequeado will also partner with Spanish-language media organizations and with fact-checking entities to help them produce more content in Spanish.
Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S. are especially vulnerable to misinformation, with Spanish-language misinformation on social media platforms flourishing and oftentimes going unchallenged. A 2021 Nielsen report found that Hispanic people are 57% more likely to use social media as a primary source of information about COVID-19. And young Hispanic adults are more than twice as likely as the general population to use messaging apps like WhatsApp.
“This grant is a significant boost to our efforts to counter unverified medical information in Spanish-speaking communities across the U.S.,” said Clara Jiménez Cruz, cofounder of Factchequeado. “Specifically, it will help Factchequeado use a WhatsApp chatbot to provide users with factual health information automatically and reverse the medical misinformation that has become so prevalent.”
Cuidate/Take Care Annapolis
A $30,000 grant will enable Cuidate/Take Care Annapolis, a health education outreach program born during the pandemic, to expand its reach beyond the COVID-19 information it dispensed to Latino and Black communities during the health emergency to include support for persons with chronic illnesses.
Latino and Black team members conduct door-to-door outreach in and around Annapolis, offering culturally and linguistically appropriate education materials, addressing health questions and concerns, and connecting families to much-needed resources like food and health care.
In addition to extreme health dangers experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Latino and Black communities in Annapolis also suffered housing instability, food insecurity, and a lack of health care access. And while 21% of Annapolis residents in 2020 identified as Latino, the Anne Arundel County (MD) Department of Health reported that more than 70% of Annapolis’ COVID-19-positive cases were among Latino residents.
“While this program was borne out of an immediate need to get timely information into hard-to-reach populations, we have since learned the need extends beyond the pandemic,” said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. “With this grant we can continue doing pop-up vaccine and testing clinics, while also working on more conditions like diabetes and heart disease that were problems for residents before COVID struck.”
About the ABIM Foundation
The ABIM Foundation’s mission is to advance medical professionalism to improve the health care system by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policymakers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about the ABIM Foundation, visit www.abimfoundation.org, connect on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter.