243950 Health Literacy and Adult English Instruction: Moving students and instructors along the health literacy continuum together

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Susan Bockrath, MPH, CHES , Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, UNMC College of Public Health, Lincoln, NE
The potential synergies between adult health education and English-as-a-Second-language (ESL) instruction have provided the impetus for many recent community-based interventions. This presentation will describe three distinct, collaborative English and health literacy programs implemented in Minnesota and Nebraska at varying intervals between 2007-2011. These programs took place in adult literacy centers with the goal of meaningfully improving participants' English language skills and health knowledge. Experience with all 3 programs will inform the discussion of the 2011 mixed-methods case study of the most recently realized program's pilotówith Hispanic, Somali, Hmong and other language learners as well as their professional and volunteer instructors at four adult education sites in Minnesota. Qualitative data (including participant observations, student work, teacher reflections, and semi-structured interviews) illustrate that students who began the health literacy classes with overwhelmingly pessimistic views of cancer diagnoses, demonstrated in a shift in knowledge that should encourage recommended screening adherence. Of critical importance for future work of this nature, the health literacy of English instructors in these contexts was, often, lower than assumed by program designersóa challenge at times exacerbated by norms of classroom culture and power. This presentation will also discuss data on students' and instructors' subsequent screening and secondary dissemination of key messages related to this program's curriculum (data to be collected in March 2011).

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Define health literacy as it applies to second-language English speakers. Compare language proficiency domains and components of health literacy. Describe 2 challenges or limitation to implementing programs that combine health content within English language instruction as illustrated in this case study.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Susan Bockrath works as a health literacy consultant and trainer to health care providers and consumers in Nebraska and Minnesota. Since 2008, she has worked with ECHO Minnesota designing and piloting health literacy curricula for English language learner (ELL) adults. From 2007 until 2009, she was the Health Literacy Program Coordinator at the Lincoln Literacy Council in Nebraska where she designed, oversaw, and taught health literacy classes for immigrant adults. Susan has extensive experience evaluating health and education programs serving language minority communities across the country. She is CHES certified and holds Masterís Degree in Public Health Education from Emory University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health Education and Disease Prevention at the University of Nebraska Medical Centerís College of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
ECHO Minnesota curriculum developer Consultant

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.