2023 Health Literacy Award Winners
Health Information Toolkit
Iris Feinberg, PhD
Assistant Research Professor
Mary Helen O’Connor, PhD
Assistant Professor GA State University
Clarkston, GA, is home to 7500 refugees from over 20 countries who speak over 60 languages. The community is served by 2 volunteer-led free clinics and one sliding-scale clinic. In these facilities, clinicians struggle to explain basic diagnostics and health behaviors. To help improve accessibility of key health information, Drs. Iris Feinberg and Mary Helen O’Connor’s team created short, animated videos in 14 languages. These online videos have been viewed over 750 times, and post-test data reveals that subject knowledge increased after users watched them.
Since October 2020, this dedicated team has engaged in:
- interviewing clinicians,
- writing scripts,
- creating videos,
- translating and vetting multi-language videos, and
- managing the Health Information Toolkit website.
Reaching non-native English speakers in each of the 14 languages required a coordination of efforts. The team collaborated with language-concordant community members to ensure the project met its overarching objective: to make health information accessible to all.
This project helps professionals effectively provide high quality healthcare information to diverse communities. And that’s important because the consequences of not understanding that information are very real. By preventing such misunderstandings, healthcare providers increase the likelihood of improved health outcomes. As a fundamental aspect of quality healthcare, cultural and linguistic responsiveness ultimately improves health equity.
Singapore’s Case Study: Breaking Traditional Norms of Patient Education Through Digitalisation to Increase the Awareness of Health Literacy and Encourage Health Ownership
Patient Education Steering Committee
Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)
Patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals (HCPs) have described patient education (PE) resources as lacking visibility and being highly inaccessible. And these conditions only worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. A growing fear of hospital visits often caused patients to forego scheduled appointments altogether.
Since 2020, the Patient Education Steering Committee (PESC) at TTSH has developed digital enablers and strategies to make PE accessible anytime, anywhere. These tools equipped HCPs with skills and confidence to engage patients meaningfully. Further, TTSH empowered patients to better health through co-learning and shared decision-making. They accomplished these results by building community health knowledge access points. Access points included a digital health library, online health talks and activities, a staff PE portal, and dedicated PE training workshops. PESC developed three key digital enablers and digitalization strategies: digital platforms and resources, virtual health talks, and PE ambassadors. The overall aim was to address inaccessible health knowledge access points. They achieved this by bridging health literacy gaps between organisations and individuals. The digital health library, virtual health talks, and PE training workshops helped meet their goal. Ultimately, PESC moves health literacy forward by increasing resource availability and cultivating systems that contribute to health literacy.
Sexual Health Journal for People with HIV
Albert Sedano, CA
Publication Specialist Southern Nevada Community Health Center
The Sexual Health Journal was created to educate, engage, and empower people with HIV (PWH) about their sexual health. Sexual health for PWH can be confusing, judgmental, and may not promote client autonomy. The journal addresses many concerns of health literacy and stigma with clear messaging and pictures, affirmations, protection options, and plan development.
Developed over six months in 2022, Albert Sedano created the content by collaborating with providers, program professionals, and clients with HIV. Brian Felgar was able to develop and transform feedback into a cheerful journal for the community. Specific project objectives included: provide inclusive information, introduce sexual health in a holistic manner, create actionable goals, and encourage clients to an active relationship with their sexual health. The goal was accessible information for all, regardless of online accessibility.
Clinical settings aren’t always conducive to sexual health discussions. This journal, however, can be used as an entry way to build client understanding and encourage healthcare relationships. The Sexual Health Journal is an example for meeting client needs through collaborative, client-led efforts.
CHECC-uP: Community-based health literacy focused intervention for cervical cancer control among Black women living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Hae-Ra Han, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
Women living with HIV (WLH) have higher rates of cervical cancer and cervical cancer-related deaths than women without HIV. This is especially true for Black women in the U.S.
Pap testing is key to early detection, yet Black WLH report consistently lower Pap test rates than other groups. Dr. Han led the development of a health literacy (HL) focused intervention called CHECC-uP. This is the first intervention that integrates HL education to promote Pap testing among WLH.
Dr. Han established a community advisory board to seek input for intervention design and trial implementation. She oversaw all study procedures. The intervention consisted of 30-60 min HL-focused education followed by monthly phone counseling and navigation assistance for 6 months. CHECC-uP was tested with 123 Black WLH in the U.S., in 2020-2022. At 6 months, those who had received CHECC-uP had significantly higher Pap test rates than women who did not (50% vs. 21.9%, p =.025).
CHECC-uP promotes WLH's understanding of medical terminology and instructions used in cervical cancer screening. Because Pap testing is a standard preventive service recommended for women 21 years and older, regardless of HIV status, CHECC-uP is applicable to all age-appropriate women. Other health contexts can use a similar approach to promote HL.