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Accompanying slide deck to my June 15, 2010 presentation to the Canadian Public Health Association Conference. This was part of the Public Health System and Workforce session

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  1. 1. The role of English as an Additional Language Teachers within Emerging Concepts of Health Literacy <ul><li>Philip Girvan </li></ul><ul><li>St. Francis Xavier University </li></ul><ul><li>CPHA Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Toronto, ON </li></ul><ul><li>June 14, 2010 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Presentation Objectives: <ul><li>Discuss the two emerging models of health literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Explore collaborative opportunities between public health practitioners, nutritionists, EAL curriculum designers, teachers and students. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Expert panel on health literacy's definition of health literacy (CPHA, 2008) <ul><li>The ability to access, understand, evaluate, and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a number of settings across the life-course </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background <ul><li>>60% of Canadians do not have “the skills necessary to manage their own health to an acceptable degree” (Canadian Council on Learning, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>The elderly, the unemployed, and immigrants have been identified as particularly vulnerable to health literacy issues (CCL, 2008) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Methods <ul><li>One on one semi-structured interviews with 3 English as an Additional Language teachers </li></ul>
  6. 6. Questions <ul><li>What does “health” mean to you? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you understand health literacy? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think literacy is related to health outcomes? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you tell me about some of the health literacy challenges facing learners? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have any ideas about what might be included in lessons to help learners improve health literacy skills? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you doing similar things in your teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>What advice would you give learners wishing to improve their health literacy skills? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have any ideas about what knowledge or training would help you better address health literacy issues in the classroom? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Teacher’s health definitions <ul><li>Good health or bad a physical disease.  Don't automatically think  of emotional health or psychological health.  Physical health...first thing that comes to mind. </li></ul><ul><li>Health involves the whole person so I guess it’s your physical, your psychological, your emotional, and your spiritual and your social and your cultural …being pain-free  ... Health is what allows you to do the things you want to do freely </li></ul>
  8. 8. Teachers’ health literacy definitions <ul><li>speaking knowledgeably to your physician?   People have to be in a large part responsible for their own health and they have to be literate to be able to have a discussion with the doctor about symptoms and about maybe anything else that comes with that what your options might be for your health.  … I think that the more you know about the subject the better you are and the more literate you are . </li></ul><ul><li>literacy is our ability to interpret and understand our environment so if you put it to health literacy then it's the ability to understand health what health means and also what one needs to do to stay healthy and that's health again in that broader definition </li></ul><ul><li>professionals who do know have to take into account that people will have different literacy levels so they have to make very specific and very clear information related to [?] and if that happens if professionals can do that then definitely people can become healthier. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Health literacy as a clinical risk (Nutbeam, 2008)
  10. 10. Health literacy as a personal asset (Nutbeam, 2008)
  11. 11. Health literacy as a personal asset <ul><li>the ‘asset’ concept lends itself to a broader application outside of health care settings for example into schools, adult learning, and community development programs (Nutbeam, 2008). </li></ul>
  12. 12. Implications of interpreting health literacy as a personal asset <ul><li>Health literacy transcends the individual. </li></ul><ul><li>Health literacy also transcends the clinical encounter. </li></ul><ul><li>Individual and systems barriers affecting health literacy. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Expert Panel noted the following systems barriers <ul><ul><li>lack of affordable English/French as an Additional Language programs and community-based literacy upgrading programs;  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>inadequate workplace training and education;  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>confusing or conflicting health information from the media and the Internet;  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>complex health systems; and,  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lack of awareness and knowledge about health literacy among health and literacy professionals. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Teachers suggest learners’ health literacy issues could include: <ul><li>Communication issues, e.g., </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Language barriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timidity  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Acclimatizing to Western model(s) of health </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social construction of health, e.g., mental illness is not necessarily recognized as illness by all cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social networks (may or may not be support networks) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Collaborative opportunities <ul><li>Developing the model of health literacy as a personal asset involves actors outside traditional health fields, e.g. EAL teachers, promoting health literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Difference between clinical & preventative health.  Teachers may not necessarily be comfortable discussing clinical but can show where to buy healthy food and go hiking...  </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher’s suggestion re promoting health literacy </li></ul>
  16. 16. Collaborative opportunities (continued) <ul><li>Classroom visits </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher training </li></ul><ul><li>Field trips </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum design </li></ul>
  17. 17. Conclusion <ul><li>small-scale investigations of health literacy conducted locally and investigating specific population groups such as the one conducted in this paper are a useful means of gathering information on the specific, contextual health literacy issues affecting a community BUT… </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>…without the development of health literacy measurement criteria specific to the investigated population, there will be little advancement in the teaching and learning of the skills necessary for health literacy. </li></ul>
  19. 19. References <ul><li>Canadian Council on Learning. Health Literacy in Canada: Initial Results From the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey . Ottawa, ON. 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Council of Learning. Health Literacy in Canada: A Healthy Understanding 2008 . Ottawa. Ottawa, ON. 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Nutbeam, D.  “The Evolving Concept of Health Literacy”.  Social Science & Medicine 67.  2008.  2072-2078. </li></ul><ul><li>Rootman, I. & Gordon-El-Bihbety, D. A Vision for a Health Literate Canada: Report of the Expert Panel on Health Literacy .  Canadian Public Health Association. 2008. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Contact information <ul><li>[email_address]   </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Thank you </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>