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Innovative and collaborative health literacy initiatives in New York City

Linda van Schaick, MS, Ed1, Francesca Gany, MD, MS2, Sandra Nuñez, MPH1, Lauren Schwartz, MPH3, Lisa Bernstein4, Ephraim A Shapiro, MPA2, and Elyse Barbell Rudolph5. (1) Children of Bellevue's Reach Out and Read, Bellevue Hospital, First Avenue & 27th Street, New York, NY 10016, (212) 562-3165, schail01@med.nyu.edu, (2) NYU School of Medicine, Center for Immigrant Health, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, (3) NYC Poison Control Center, 455 First Avenue, Room 123, New York, NY 10016, (4) The What To Expect Foundation, 144 W, 80th Street, New York, NY 10024, (5) Literacy Assistance Center, 32 Broadway, 10th fl., New York, NY 10004

Low functional health literacy is recognized as a major public health problem imposing considerable personal, health, financial, and social costs on 40 million Americans and their families. Low health literacy is manifested in an inability to understand unfamiliar medical vocabulary at a level required to optimally function as a patient. Despite the magnitude and complexity of this problem, the development of partnerships between health and literacy professionals has been rather slow. This panel highlights the importance and effectiveness of such collaboration between medical, literacy, and health educator professionals. Collaboration among Bellevue Hospital, the New York City Poison Control Center, the Center for Immigrant Health at the New York University School of Medicine, the ‘What To Expect’ Foundation and the Literacy Assistance Center has facilitated the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate health education materials. This collective effort has made possible the extensive dissemination of these materials in targeted communities and stimulated innovative ideas in creating illustrative health promotion and poison prevention materials. It has also supported program evaluations of the organizations’ educational materials including their effectiveness across various languages, cultures, settings (e.g., hospital, schools, clinics), and reading skill levels.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Literacy, Health Education Strategies

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