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Development and evaluation of a health literacy project in a pediatric outpatient setting

Linda van Schaick, MS, Ed1, Benard Dreyer, MD2, Claudia Aristy1, Alan Mendelsohn, MD3, Jessica Foltin, MD, FAAP4, Irene Quinones5, and Sandra Nuñez, MPH1. (1) Reach Out and Read and The H.E.L.P. Project, Bellevue Hospital Center, First Avenue & 27th Street, New York, NY 10016, (212) 562-3165, schail01@med.nyu.edu, (2) Department of Pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, (3) Department of Pediatrics, New York School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, (4) Pediatric Emergency, NYU Medical Center, 545 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, (5) Bellevue Hospital, 462 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Pediatricians, educators and volunteer readers at Bellevue Hospital’s Reach Out and Read (ROR) Program have worked together to make early literacy a regular part of pediatric care. ROR was found to be associated with more frequent reading by parents, and improved language development in their children. In an effort to address parent’s health literacy needs, an adaptation of the ROR program has been designed. In the Health Education and Literacy for Parents (H.E.L.P.) Project, trained parent educators and volunteers offer parents short, educational activities in the clinic hallways while parents wait to see their pediatrician. These activities provide strategies for improving their own health and optimizing the health, growth and development of their children. The objectives of the program include helping parents: 1) understand basic medical prescription label information, 2) learn new strategies for giving medications correctly and documenting doses, 3) feel more confident asking questions of providers 4) understand how to use existing community health and literacy resources and 5) see themselves as “learners” -capable of increasing their skills to better themselves and their families. Plain language, bilingual materials, containing pictograms was specially designed for this project. Special Medication Instruction and Medication Log Sheets are introduced during the activity and later used by pediatricians when medication is prescribed. Over 650 families have received this intervention. Families’ reception to the program indicates that health and literacy education can be combined effectively. A Quality Assurance evaluation of the activities and materials is underway to assess the effectiveness of this project.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Education Strategies, Health Literacy

Related Web page: www.reachoutandread.org/cgi-bin/ny.pl

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Innovative and Collaborative Health Literacy Initiatives in New York City

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA