Online Program

Reducing Environmental Health Disparities through Adult Basic Education

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Gretchen Latowsky, MEd, Center for Environmental Health Studies, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., Boston, MA
Terry Greene, M.S., JSI Center for Environmental Health Studies, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., Boston, MA
Rhona Julien, Sc.D., New England - Region I, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Boston, MA
Addressing health literacy needs of populations affected by environmental health concerns advances their ability to exert leadership to affect policies and be part of the solution. Yet as environmental and public health practitioners who strive to engage the public in promoting healthy individuals and communities, we face the challenge of effectively conveying complex information to lay audiences. Exacerbating this challenge is the fact that more than 40% of U.S. adults lack even basic literacy skills, let alone detailed environmental health knowledge. A 2012 study in the Journal of Asthma concluded that health literacy seems an overlooked factor explaining racial and ethnic disparities in asthma. Widespread availability of structured Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs for persons with limited proficiency provides an opportunity. ABE classes offer a supportive environment for adults to work together to plan, test, implement, and evaluate interventions in their own homes and communities to improve environmental health. The ABE system nationwide is well positioned to be an active partner in helping to reduce health disparities among ABE learners. In 2005, ABE programs served over 2.5 million students.

Participants in this session will explore newly created lessons on asthma designed specifically for use in ABE classrooms. Basic principles in creating low-literacy health resources will be presented along with models for establishing successful partnerships with ABE classrooms. The session will share the approach and evaluation findings from an initiative conducted by the JSI Research & Training Institute with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Formulate strategies to address environmental health disparities in collaboration with members of the adult basic education system. Design environmental health lessons for adult education learners to foster their leadership in promoting environmental justice.

Keyword(s): Health Literacy, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Project Director for multiple federally-funded community-based health literacy initiatives. I am an asthma specialist who contributed to the asthma lessons on health literacy that were created and evaluated for use in ABE classrooms under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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.