By Claire Hutkins Seda, Writer, Migrant Clinicians Network and Managing Editor, Streamline
Salvador Saenz, the well-known illustrator and public health educator behind many of MCN’s popular comic books including our new diabetes comic book, recently completed yet another colorful resource on diabetes, this time with Farmworker Justice. In the four-page, full-color “Life of the Party: Making Healthy Choices with Diabetes,” the characters learn to read nutrition labels and what foods to eat freely before heading to a party. The resource is available in Spanish, English, and Haitian Creole:
Several years ago, Saenz partnered with the University of Texas, Health Science Center in Houston and the School of Public Health, El Paso Regional Campus, to develop a series of comic books on cholesterol and hypertension in English and Spanish. Access all of the resources at: https://www.migrantclinician.org/toolsource/746/hypertension/index.html.
In “How to Control Your Hypertension,” the reader meets Raymundo and his family, as they navigate Raymundo’s new hypertension diagnosis. The comic book covers medication adherence, side effects, the clinician-patient relationship, and methods of controlling stress, through the low-literacy format. An activity on the “garden of virtues” encourages the reader to seek out virtues like hope, perseverance, gratitude, and self-control to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The piece, available in English and Spanish, ends with a page to track blood pressure levels and to write out health goals. The accompanying guide for community health workers and promotores includes activities around hypertension and brochures to help patients with hypertension to think through questions to ask the doctor.
A second comic book, “How to Control Your Fat and Cholesterol,” continues to follow Raymundo’s family, this time focusing on his wife and son, who discover that they have high cholesterol. The comic book details in pictures what high cholesterol does to the body and provides practical advice on how to reduce cholesterol numbers.
Many other groups have created comic books for outreach with their own approaches and illustrators. The School of Pharmacy at the University of Southern California focuses on an entertaining approach to hypertension in its comic, “Lucia’s Llama Drama,” in addition to other comic books addressing diabetes, childhood obesity, breast cancer, immunizations, and more, available in English and Spanish: https://pharmacyschool.usc.edu/fotonovelas/
The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at the University of California, Davis, has a prediabetes comic book in English and Spanish called, “The Five Healthy Steps for the Prevention of Diabetes”: https://aghealth.ucdavis.edu/educational-materials
Read this article in the Spring 2020 issue of Streamline here!
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