198081 Creating community advocates using a critical health literacy model

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 12:30 PM

C. Linn Gould, MS, MPH , Just Health Action, Seattle, WA
Elizabeth Mogford, PhD, MPH , Sociology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Just Health Action (JHA) advocates for reducing health inequities that result from social, political, economic, and cultural factors (social determinants of health). Through a social justice lens, JHA teaches workshops that review the evidence and then facilitates discussion and consensus on how individuals and communities can take action on these root causes (critical health literacy). In this presentation, we describe two workshop series conducted by JHA in which we use our unique critical health literacy model to produce community-based action. The physical setting for both workshop series is South Park, (Seattle), Washington, a low-income, minority, industrial/residential community that is located next to the Duwamish River Superfund Site. The first workshop series is taught to AmeriCorps volunteers at Sea Mar Community Health Centers, a community-based organization specializing in health services to Latinos. In these AmeriCorps workshops, we teach the social determinants of health, health disparities, health advocacy, and tools to take action upstream. The second workshop series is taught to an Environmental Justice (EJ) Youth Corps program for Latino youth, and conducted in collaboration with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. This program covers issues that concern the community including Duwamish River Superfund Site exposure, food security, air quality, crime and safety. Both programs culminate in collaborating with interested community organizations to develop and implement an action intended to improve population health in South Park. We describe our critical health literacy model, the community actions taken, challenges and successes, as well as an evaluation of the student's improvement in critical health literacy.

Learning Objectives:
1. Differentiate between health literacy and critical health literacy 2. Articulate the differences between an action intended to improve community health that focuses on individual health behavior change (downstream) versus community health change (upstream).

Keywords: Health Literacy, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Linn Gould, MS, MPH Managing Director of Just Health Action, a non-profit organization in Seattle, Washington that develops curriculum for and teaches workshops on the social determinants of health. Specifically, Just Health Action advocates for reducing health inequities that result from social, political and economic factors. JHA facilitates discussion and consensus around health inequities and the social determinants of health and teaches individuals and communities tools to take action on these root causes. Examples of our work can be found on JHA's website at www.justhealthaction.org.
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.