Health Publisher Rodale Press Sees Need To Reach Clients
As Well As Professionals With Information
EMMAUS, Pa., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- "Make sure that babies and children get all their shots; vaccinations can really keep your kids from getting sick. Try to keep a record of those shots to show doctors ...."
"When it's cold out, STAY DRY. Keep your head covered with a hat or cap and wear shoes and socks. Change your socks as much as possible and do anything else you can to keep your feet warm and dry ...."
"(To get tested for tuberculosis), a doctor or a nurse will give your skin a little prick and place a substance there. Then, you HAVE to return when they tell you to! This is VERY IMPORTANT! If it will be difficult for you to return, tell them right away ...."
These suggestions sound too simple and practical to be useful to most Americans. But for people trapped in the vicious cycle of homelessness, such measures are the first line of defense in the difficult battle to remain healthy. And they are among dozens of practical health tips in three pamphlets produced by Rodale Press, Inc. for distribution at homeless centers nationwide.
Rodale, the publisher of Prevention Magazine, "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies," and other health related publications, will make supplies of the three pamphlets available free of charge to any homeless service agency willing to pass them out to clients, according to Sanford Beldon, Rodale senior vice president. The set includes "How to Stay Healthy," "Health Tips for Women and Children," and a third with specific information on AIDS and tuberculosis.
Beldon said the idea of providing the homeless easy-to-understand health information came to him from his volunteer work at a New York City drop-in center. "I would look at the information they had on health issues, and it was all very technical and meant for the professionals working at the center -- virtually nothing was targeted to the homeless people themselves," Beldon said. "Being from Rodale Press, where our philosophy is to give individuals the information to make themselves healthier, I saw clearly the possibilities in providing that kind of material to the homeless."
Beldon enlisted the research staff of Prevention and Mike McGrath, an award-winning health writer who said he had been looking for writing opportunities in the health field since becoming Editor-in-Chief of Organic Gardening Magazine in 1991. McGrath said the assignment also appealed to him since he and his wife have been active volunteers at area shelters.
"At the beginning, I thought the research would take me about six months; it wound up being more like a full year of reading and lots of talking with medical experts and people who run shelters," McGrath explained. "Then I just did what we at Rodale do best -- take extremely complicated medical and scientific information and translate it into language that's easy to understand so that the information can be used by the people it's meant to reach."
Beldon showed McGrath's work to his contacts in health care and human services, incorporating their suggestions and additions. Then he distributed the completed pamphlets to workers and homeless clients at a shelter in New York; the reaction was positive, he said.
Beldon noted that in the current national debate over the cost of health care, preventive care and promotion of healthy behavior are generally seen as essential elements of any health care reform package. The pamphlets, he says, extend those concepts to the under-served homeless population.
"Given the tremendous diversity of the homeless population -- educational and social background, length of homeless status and other factors -- preparing this material presented quite a challenge," Beldon said. "We believe, though, that the pamphlets will provide useful information for many homeless people and demonstrate that there is interest in their well-being."
Homeless shelters and assistance agencies can get supplies of the three health information pamphlets by contacting:
Homeless Health Project
Rodale Press, Inc.
33 East Minor Street
Emmaus, PA 18098
/CONTACT: Sanford Beldon, 610-967-8203, or Bob Martin, 610-967-7588, both of Rodale Press/
CO: Rodale Press, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania Pennsylvania