204654 Increasing Health Literacy Awareness throughout the Continuum of Care

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Patricia J. Terstenyak, MPH , Community Outreach Department, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Cleveland, OH
This project seeks to introduce health literacy to Community Health Workers and front line clinical staff through the development of a health literacy curriculum and the facilitation of train-the-trainer workshops, which will provide the tools and skills to address low health literacy barriers in the communities they serve. Health literacy efforts, targeting these professions, increases awareness of health literacy throughout the continuum of care.

The curriculum is built on identified best practices from literature review, existing health literacy curricula, surveys, and focus groups. Components include: plain-language, health literacy assessments, social and cultural dynamics, patient-provider health communication skills, and teach-back method, with added focus on skill-building and client-focused tools. Current health literacy curricula are designed to the professional medical community. Our curriculum will meet the needs of CHWs and front line clinical staff in their unique role in building trusting relationships with their clients. It is based on surveyed CHWs and front line clinical staff current knowledge of health literacy, their perspective on the relevance of health literacy to their work, and strategies they may be using to support their patients' needs. The focus group results revealed the need for more competency training including communication skills and strategies for system navigation, highlighting the need of having transportability of skills from position to position.

The train-the-trainer health literacy workshops will provide education, instructional tools and programmatic guidelines, enabling master trainers to deliver the workshops, increasing the dissemination of health literacy concepts, skills, and methods.

Learning Objectives:
Define health literacy. Articulate the relevancy of health literacy awareness and skills to community health workers and front line clinical staff. Describe the relationship between low health literacy function and health care outcomes. Illustrate practical health literacy skills and tools to assist community health workers and front line clinical staff to achieve positive health outcomes.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Curricula

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Since 2006, I have coordinated the Community Health Worker/Health Advocacy program at St. Vincent Charity Hospital. I have presented at and facilitated CHW trainings in the Cleveland area. I am currently on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Northeast Ohio Affiliate education committee and co-wrote their Komen Community Representative training manual. Since 2007, I have been involved in health literacy planning and programs in Cleveland and I am currently the lead on a health literacy initiative directed towards community health workers at St. Vincent Charity Hospital for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.
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.