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Health Education And Literacy – The HEAL Project

Posted by on January 3rd, 2020 Posted in: Funded Project, NLM Resources, Patient Engagement, Public Health
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This week’s blog post was written by Dr. Traci Alberti, the Co-PI of an NER Year 4 Grant Funded Project – “Health Literacy and Health Information Resource Education in the Lawrence, Massachusetts Community.”

Limitations in health literacy are associated with ineffective care, poor compliance, increased use of health services, worse health status and even death. Nearly 77 million Americans experience limited health literacy, with greater proportions among Latino populations.

Utilizing NNLM funds, Co-investigators Dr. Traci Alberti, Nurse Practitioner and Assistant Professor, and Catherine Wong, Health Science Librarian, both from Merrimack College, have partnered with the Merrimack Valley Area Health Education Center (MV-AHEC) and the Notre Dame Education Center-Lawrence (NDEC-L) to provide health literacy and health information resource education for English as Second Language Adult Learners in the Lawrence, Massachusetts community.

The Notre Dame Education Center- Lawrence provides free educational opportunities for community members that include English as second language classes and work skills classes.  Adult community students taking English classes at NDEC-L participated in Health Education And Literacy (HEAL) classes and a MedlinePlus consumer health information workshop during the fall, 2019 semester. HEAL is an established national health literacy program developed by Literacy for Life, which is based out of the School of Education at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. The 8 week curriculum is designed for English as second language learners and covers education around basic health and nutrition knowledge, emergency recognition, pharmacy and medication safety and access to healthcare. A MedlinePlus consumer health information workshop was also taught by Ms. Wong, a Health Science Librarian.  The health information workshop taught the adult learners how to access MedlinePlus from their mobile phones, utilize language options, sign-up for email notifications and how to use this resource to access information on health and wellness topics of their choosing.

 Based on post-program survey data, HEAL participants significantly improved their knowledge on health information, nutrition, healthcare access, and confidence in speaking with healthcare providers. Participants also reported learning new health information resources and skills with plans to utilize these resources in the future.

The program will run again during the spring, 2020 semester.  Plans for program expansion and sustainability within the community partners is currently underway.

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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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