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Reaching At-Risk Populations

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To reach varied populations, communicators must consider culture, primary languages, and trusted sources of information among their audiences. For example, Latino and Spanish-speaking populations in the US may have loved ones in areas where Zika virus disease (Zika) is currently spreading. When CDC provides Zika communication materials that are effective for and meaningful to Latino and Spanish-speaking audiences, they help these audiences become better equipped to avoid Zika and to share Zika prevention information with their loved ones.

Currently, CDC is translating key messages, informational materials, and CDC’s Zika website into Spanish. CDC is also adapting the materials to make it easier for those most at risk to identify with the messages and images. Messages and images targeted to these audiences let them know that the information is meant for them and that they can make a difference in their health and the health of their loved ones. CDC and its partners are also working with Latino and Spanish-speaking organizations and audiences in areas with ongoing Zika transmission to ensure that the information provided is the information they need, and that it is presented in a way that recognizes and respects their ways of life. With audience feedback and a better understanding of their specific interests, messages can become even more meaningful and actionable.

Understanding the cultural background, community history, location, and values of your audiences is an important factor in effective communication. Understanding allows you to better address your audiences’ public health concerns and to provide them with understandable, actionable steps they can take to protect themselves and their families.

For more resources and information on CERC, please see Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication, 2014 Edition or Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Pandemic Influenza, 2007.

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