181142 Alaskan Health Literacy Collaborative: Working together to increase health literacy and cultural competence in cancer communication with Alaskan women

Monday, October 27, 2008: 4:45 PM

Kelby L. Murphy, BS , Health Sciences, University of Alaska-Anchrorage, Anchorage, AK
Rhonda M. Johnson, DrPH, CFNP , Health Sciences, University of Alaska-Anchrorage, Anchorage, AK
INTRODUCTION: According to US Healthy People 2010, health literacy is “the degree to which people can obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services that they need to make appropriate health decisions.” The U.S. Office of Minority Health defines cultural and linguistic competence as “a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations.” So both client health literacy and system cultural competence are important barriers to effective health service delivery and improved health outcomes. To address these issues, partnerships from an Alaskan pilot study evolved into a Health Literacy Collaborative comprised of community members, academic investigators, local non-profit agencies (e.g. Anchorage Literacy Project), and local government agencies and health service providers.

METHODS: A pilot study assessed cultural competency of health care providers (through key informant interviews) and the health literacy skills of women (using Newest Vital Sign). Data from the pilot study indicated areas of need and spurred discussion of intervention opportunities among community partners to better address service gaps and cultural misunderstandings.

RESULTS: Monthly face-to-face meetings and teleconferences resulted in first cancer screening outreach at the literacy project and ongoing plans to collaborate on new health literacy curriculum and peer educator/cultural broker training shared among collaborating partners. Lessons learned from the diverse perspectives of all participants will be shared.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the lessons learned from “Health Literacy and Cancer Communication with Alaskan Women: A Pilot Study.” 2. Discuss the development of the Health Literacy Collaborative from partnerships established through a pilot study. 3. Discuss the benefits to all partners from one example of community-based public health education and research.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am not affiliated with any agency, company, or entity that would bias or compromise either my research or my presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.