“Racism Still Exists”: A Public Health Intervention Using Racism “Countermarketing” Outdoor Advertising in a Black Neighborhood

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The negative health effects of racism have been well documented, but how to intervene to redress these effects has been little studied. This study reports on RISE (Racism Still Exists), a high-risk, high-reward public health intervention that used outdoor advertising to disseminate a “countermarketing” campaign in New York City (NYC). Over 6 months, the campaign advertised stark facts about the persistence of racism in the USA. A probability sample of N = 144 participants from two predominantly Black NYC neighborhoods completed measures of health status, health behaviors, and social attitudes. Three months postintervention, statistically significant declines in psychological distress were seen among study participants who were exposed to the campaign compared to those who were not. There were no changes in other hypothesized outcomes. The campaign also generated significant public discourse, particularly in social media. The results suggest that racism countermarketing campaigns may have promise as a community-based intervention to address health inequalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-872
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • African American/Black
  • Countermarketing
  • Neighborhoods
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Public health intervention
  • Racism


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