These questions outline the many components of outreach and can help you plan and evaluate your outreach efforts in AI/AN communities. The goal is to be able to answer "YES" to the following questions:
___ Do you know the history and culture of the AI/AN community?
You don't need a degree in AI/AN studies, but an understanding of the federal government's relationship with AI/AN people is essential. You will also want to know about a few of the high and low points in the community's history. A familiarity with the community's customs and approaches to health care, whether traditional or conventional, will also prove helpful.
___ Do you know your state's Medicaid program and SCHIP?
You don't want to over promote or undersell the importance of this program to the community. To set realistic expectations, gain an understanding of the following:
___ Have you developed background materials?
Once you have familiarized yourself with your state's program, create a fact sheet or reference guide that you can use when you meet with potential leaders and partners. The fact sheet should explain why health insurance is necessary, how it benefits families, who is eligible, that families are still eligible for services from the I/T/U system even if they enroll in Medicaid/SCHIP, and how to enroll children. In addition to developing a fact sheet, tailor the fliers and other materials that are provided in this toolkit so that they are ready for distribution.
___ Have you established a relationship of trust?
Establishing trust is absolutely essential, but it takes time. Observe the community and listen to its members. Be sensitive to the protocols of working with tribes. Determine the most trusted advocates who will support your cause. Share your commitment to improving children's health with these members. Ask them to help you connect children to better health care coverage.
___ Are you sensitive to personal information?
Health care is a very personal and emotional issue. Be supportive, and ask only for the information needed on the application. Make sure that applicants understand that you will keep this information confidential, and provide them with a copy of their application upon completion. Make sure outreach workers and others are trained and understand that they must also keep the information confidential.
___ Have you localized your outreach efforts?
Talk with parents of AI/AN children. Find out what they want from health care coverage or what they appreciate about the program. Then determine what is applicable to your program and promote it! Take the tips and messaging from this toolkit and localize them. Observe what strikes a chord with community members and keep refining your approach.
___ Are you prepared for home visits?
Be courteous and respectful. Dress casually, as your audience will be dressed for home. Call ahead to confirm that it is still appropriate to meet with them. Some families prefer to meet you at another location such as an inexpensive coffee shop or local restaurant.
___ Are you following up with families?
Follow up with families to find out how they fared in the enrollment process. Satisfied customers will refer others. Here are a few things to keep track of:
___ Have you evaluated your outreach efforts?
Establish an anecdotal or database evaluation method. This information will help you promote your program to families, the media, potential funders and anyone who will listen. For more information on evaluating your efforts, download the Covering Kids & Families Evaluating Communications and Outreach guide.
___ Have you said thank you to everyone involved and recognized their contributions?
Customize the Certificate of Appreciation for anyone who participated in your outreach efforts, including local businesses, schools, tribal leaders and any media outlets that were particularly generous in their coverage of your outreach efforts.