Publicity improves osteoporosis diagnosis

Outreach to community for increased awareness

To heighten community awareness of osteoporosis, staff at the osteoporosis center at Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, NC, conducted a media blitz. They contacted newspaper editors and television producers to let them know they were available for interviews."My job the first year our program started was to talk to anyone who would listen," says Jane Lesesne, RN, BSN, CDT, Osteoporosis Center coordinator at Haywood.

In addition to alerting the public, it was important to heighten the awareness of the medical community, says Lesesne. To do so, they brought several experts in metabolic bone disease to the hospital to speak to area physicians.

"Now every year, we invite a well-known speaker to give our local physicians an osteoporosis update," says Lesesne. The hospital makes the evening a big event, serving dinner and offering continuing education credits to those who attend. All the physicians in western North Carolina receive an invitation. A drug company is asked to partner with the hospital to cover the expenses.

Recently, the hospital purchased a mobile unit with a bone densitometer so staff could visit physician's offices in rural areas to educate personnel and to do screenings of their patients.

Community outreach efforts include prevention education as well as events to help people who have the disease cope with the diagnosis. A speakers bureau at the osteoporosis center provides lectures to groups such as churches. For osteoporosis month in May, the center is having a luncheon for all the women under 60 who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis in the last year.

"We're hoping to spread the word that 50-year-old women need to be looking at this disease," explains Lesesne. Speakers at the luncheon will discuss how to slow the progress of the disease and prevent bone fractures.