Urban Partnerships to Address Health Literacy in High Need Populations
Low health literacy disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority communities and lower-income socioeconomic groups. To address this critical determinant of health inequity, two nonprofit organizations, Repairers of the Breach, a day shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, and Bread of Healing a neighborhood-based clinic serving individuals with low incomes, partnered with researchers at Marquette University to implement and evaluate an evidence-supported health literacy program. The partnership delivered the curriculum in seven one-hour sessions over seven weeks. The program attendees were predominantly African American men and women from 19–73 years old. Most participants had formal education ranging from elementary school to some college. Forty individuals attended at least one class and 14 attendees completed 4 or more classes. Program completers demonstrated gains in confidence and topic knowledge. Most interviewees reported a personal/family need for the program, acceptability of the group format, and the ability to learn the skills they needed for self-care. The project used a successful collaboration between community-based organizations serving vulnerable populations and an urban academic institution to demonstrate the necessity, feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of formal health literacy education in adults with low incomes or who are experiencing homelessness. Urban and metropolitan serving institutions can work in partnership with community to address low health literacy in high need populations.
Arozullah, A. M., Yarnold, P. R., Bennett, C. L., Soltysik, R. C., Wolf, M. S., Ferreira, R. M., . . . Davis, T. (2007). Development and validation of a short-form, rapid estimate of adult literacy in medicine. Med Care, 45(11), 1026-1033. https://doi.org/10.1097/MLR.0b013e3180616c1b
Bekhet, A. K., Zauszniewski, J. A., & Matel-Anderson, D. M. (2012). Resourcefulness training intervention: assessing critical parameters from relocated older adults' perspectives. Issues Ment Health Nurs, 33(7), 430-435. https://doi.org/10.3109/01612840.2012.664802
Berkman, N. D., Sheridan, S. L., Donahue, K. E., Halpern, D. J., & Crotty, K. (2011). Low health literacy and health outcomes: an updated systematic review. Ann Intern Med, 155(2), 97-107. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-155-2-201107190-00005
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (June 29, 2018). Health Literacy. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/gettraining.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (March 11, 2019). Program Performance and Evaluation Office (PPEO)-Program Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/eval/index.htm
Dennis, S., Williams, A., Taggart, J., Newall, A., Denney-Wilson, E., Zwar, N., . . . Harris, M. F. (2012). Which providers can bridge the health literacy gap in lifestyle risk factor modification education?: A systematic review and narrative synthesis. BMC Fam Pract, 13, 44. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2296-13-44
Griffey, R. T., Kennedy, S. K., D'Agostino McGowan, L., Goodman, M., & Kaphingst, K. A. (2014). Is low health literacy associated with increased emergency department utilization and recidivism? Acad Emerg Med, 21(10), 1109-1115. https://doi.org/10.1111/acem.12476
Kutner, M., Greenberg, E., Jin, Y., & Paulsen, C. (2006). The health literacy of America’s adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2006483
Literacy for Life. (2016). About Literacy for Life. Retrieved from https://literacyforlife.org/about/
Literacy for Life. (2016). HEAL Program. Retrieved from https://literacyforlife.org/programs/
McDonald, J. H. (2014). Handbook of Biological Statistics (3rd ed. Vol. 2018). Baltimore, Maryland: Sparky House Publishing.
Mellor, J., & Uselton, E. (2016). HEAL Program Evaluation Report, 2014-2015. Retrieved from
Milwaukee Health Department. MKE Elevate: A community health improvement plan. Retrieved from https://city.milwaukee.gov/health/MKE-Elevate.htm#.W_NwSehKhPY
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2019). Health Communication and Health Information Technology. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/health-communication-and-health-information-technology/objectives
Ratzan, S., & Parker, R. (2000). Introduction. Retrieved from Bethesda, MD:
Taggart, J., Williams, A., Dennis, S., Newall, A., Shortus, T., Zwar, N., . . . Harris, M. F. (2012).
A systematic review of interventions in primary care to improve health literacy for chronic disease behavioral risk factors. BMC Fam Pract, 13, 49. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2296-13-49
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). National action plan to improve health literacy. Retrieved from https://health.gov/communication/initiatives/health-literacy-action-plan.asp
Copyright to works published in Metropolitan Universities is retained by the author(s).