223010 Adult education as a vehicle for health communication

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 8:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Ariela Freedman, MPH, MAT , Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Decatur, GA
Hannah LF Cooper, ScD, SM , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Ruth Parker, MD , School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Kathleen R. Miner, PhD, MPH, MCHES , Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Katharina Echt, PhD , Atlanta VA Rehab R & D Center, School of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Emory University, Decatur, GA
Over the next decade, as literacy rates are predicted to decline, the field of Health Communications faces increasing challenges to effective methods of communication with low literate groups. As low literate adults can be considered a hard-to-reach population by traditional forms of health communication, it is important to look to other disciplines for strategies to increase adoption and sharing of essential health information and skills. Among other recommendations to remove low literacy as a barrier to health communication, the Institute of Medicine suggests using adult education programs as a vehicle to teach functional health literacy skills.

This presentation focuses on using a Georgia adult literacy center as living laboratory through which to explore health literacy education and health communication. Specifically, this presentation will use results from approximately 12 classroom observations, 25 interviews with teachers and adult learners, and document reviews of health literacy curricula to describe the ways in which the adult education setting functions to motivate adult learners to adopt health literacy skills. Interviews also use constructs from Diffusion of Innovations theory to explore adult learners' perceptions of functional health literacy skills and explain how these perceptions contribute to the adoption and sharing of skills with family and friends.

The innovation of this presentation is that it links the science of health communication with the science of education. Given the significant forecasted challenges in health literacy, it is imperative that public health draws on the expertise of education to advance health communications.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how the strategies used by the field of adult education can inform health communication work.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This is my dissertation.
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.

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