- Author: Pamela S Kan-Rice
Ricardo Vela, manager of UC ANR's News and Information Outreach in Spanish, spoke to the UC Regents Public Engagement and Development Committee on Nov. 15 about science communication for Latino Californians.
Vela explained that studies show that even Latinos fluent in English may prefer to receive information in their “language of comfort.” He described partnering with Univision/Entravision to promote a COVID-19 vaccination campaign on TV in Mixteco, Zapoteco, Triqui and Purépecha, indigenous Mexican languages.
Vela introduced Josie Huerta of Univision/Entravision, who told the regents that providing science-based information to indigenous Mexican viewers in their native language was important to establish trust with the skeptical audience. The media company ran the vaccination campaign on local TV, radio, Facebook and Instagram with a link to a UC ANR for more information.
“The combined campaigns generated over 1,173,000 engagements of some form,” Huerta said.
The campaign placed the first TV spots broadcast in a language other than English and Spanish on Univision, Vela added.
“It's just amazing the reach that you have and the breadth of folks that you are able to communicate with,” said Regent Janet Reilly, who chairs the committee. “It's so important. I wish we had this in every aspect of the university.”
Reilly called NOS “an example for the rest of the university how we can reach more people and communicate with them effectively.”
Alumni regent-designate Alfonso Salazar noted that his mother was an Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program educator, visiting Latino families at their Boyle Heights homes in Los Angeles to deliver nutrition information for 25 years. “My mom is known as 'La Señora' in the neighborhood,” Salazar said.
Regent Jose Hernandez told Vela and Huerta, “I think you guys formed the perfect partnership with respect to getting any newsworthy item out to the Latino population. I think really, really we should use you folks as a model for the rest of the university, as Chair Reilly suggested, because you guys are doing it right and I commend you. Muchas gracias."
The meeting was held at UCLA and live streamed.
Watch Vela's 10-minute presentation and the regents' reactions at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTPm58GnnSs&t=4178s.