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Texas State lands contract to help improve Texas Medicare enrollment

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
August 22, 2017

Researchers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University have been awarded more than $630,000 by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC) aimed at improving enrollment in Medicare in Texas.

The contract calls for the Texas State researchers to craft, distribute and test messages aimed at Medicare-eligible Texans. The messaging will include radio and television public service announcements, web and social media messages – in English and Spanish – and will begin with the 2017 Medicare enrollment period, October 15 through December 7.

The messaging strategy grew out of previous research in 2015 between the Texas State team and THHSC, which included a statewide survey of 930 Texans, interviews with benefits counselors and 16 visits to locations all around the state, all designed to improved outreach to rural, low-income Texans. Both projects are supported by the federal Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act.

Faculty experts in advertising, journalism, public relations, electronic, digital and social media will participate in the campaign, which will include crafting, distributing and testing messages through multiple platforms. The television PSAs will be produced by YC Yes Productions, and longtime advertising executives Sabrina Jordan and Carmen Graf will manage the distribution. The team is led by co-principal investigators Kelly Kaufhold, an assistant professor in digital media, and Judy Oskam, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“We’re really looking forward to teaming up with our partners in the state health agency again,” said Kaufhold. “We had a great experience last time and we’re proud to be working on something as important as helping Texas seniors get access to the health coverage they’ve earned.”

The work has already yielded some important scholarship, with presentations in August at a national conference on journalism and mass communication research, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. For more information about Texas State’s involvement in this project, please contact Kaufhold at

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,849 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 180,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.

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