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Health Literacy: 
Tools for Improving Health Communications

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The goal of this conference is to provide health professionals and hospital staff with an educational and practice opportunity to develop an awareness of health literacy issues and improve communication skills with individuals in the Hudson Valley Region of New York.  It will present practical information that will help participants implement the new health literacy requirements of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO).  This conference will also serve as a platform from which we hope to develop a regional coalition and draw upon the community building skills already in place among the collaborators.  All participants will receive a local health literacy tool kit designed to foster applications post-conference.

New York Medical College (NYMC), Valhalla, NY
Nevins Auditorium, Medical Education Center
May 30, 2007

8:00 – 8:30   Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 8:35  Welcoming Remarks: Robert W. Amler, MD, Dean, School of Public Health, New York Medical College (NYMC) and Neil Abitabilo, President, Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NorMet)
8:35 – 8:45  Introduction: Sarah Kowalski, MBA, Director, Hospital Quality and Health Information Systems, Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NorMet)
8:45 – 9:15 Overview: What Is Health Literacy and Why Is It An Important Public Health Issue? Frank Baker, PhD, Chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, School of Public Health, NYMC 
9:15 – 10:00

Implementing Joint Commission Requirements Related to the Provision of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Health Care: Shelly Dunster, Associate Director, Department of Standards, JCAHO

10:00 – 10:15 Break
10:15 – 11:15 Literacy Skills Necessary for Effective Communication: Skill-building: Rima E. Rudd, MSPH, ScD, Senior Lecturer, Harvard School of Public Health 
11:15-12:00 Effective Use of  Health Literacy Tool-kit Resources:     Diana Cunningham, MLS, MPH, Moderator, Health Sciences Library, NYMC
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 1:45  Improving Health Communication with Immigrant Populations in the Lower Hudson Valley: Penny Liberatos, PhD, Assistant Professor of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, NYMC
1:45-2:45 Opportunities for Promotion of Health Information Resources for Low Literacy Populations: Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, MEd; MLA Health Information Literacy Research Project Coordinator and Adjunct Clinical Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
2:50 – 3:30 Take Home Points:  Panel of speakers; Q &A: Padmini Murthy MD, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, NYMC; Amy Ansehl, RN, MSN., FNP C, Executive Director, Partnership for a Healthy Population, Practicum Coordinator, and Assistant Professor of Public Health Practice, School of Public Health, NYMC and Sarah Kowalski.           
3:30-4:30  Next steps: Networking and Strategizing Reception Onsite evaluation, distribution of certificates and tool kits.

Target population: 
Two hundred health professionals from the Hudson Valley Region (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester), 34 NorMet member hospitals and their staff, NN/LM network members from throughout the Middle Atlantic Region, NYMC faculty and students, and other interested community members who are charged to serve over two million people (11%) in this region of New York State. 

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this conference, participants will be able to:

  1. Define and discuss the importance of health literacy
  2. Name at least two quick instruments used to assess an individual’s health literacy level
  3. Describe at least four strategies that you could use right away to help ensure compliance with the 2006 JCAHO Health Literacy Requirements
  4. Identify at least three tools that you can do or tools you can use in your daily practice to enhance clear communication with your clientele.

Outcomes: All participants will receive a certificate of attendance and a health literacy tool-kit, with an incentive offered for completion of a post-conference evaluation (one month later).  An onsite evaluation will also be done.

Planning Committee: Co-chairs: Amy Ansehl, RN, MSN, FNP (SPH) and Sarah Kowalski, MBA (NorMet); Frank Baker, PhD, Cheryl Archbald, MD, MPH, Marie Ascher, MSLIS, Diana Cunningham, MLS, MPH, (Prin.Inv. HSL); Dorothy Faulkner, PhD, MPH, Cheryl Hunter-Grant, LMSW; Penny Liberatos, PhD, Padmini Murthy, MD, MPH, MS.

This Conference is co-sponsored by: Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NorMet); New York Medical College (NYMC) School of Public Health (SPH) and Health Sciences Library (HSL); and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM).  The growing list of collaborators include:  Westchester County Department of Health, The Hudson Valley Regional Perinatal Network, community health organizations, and health professionals throughout the greater Hudson Valley Region.

For more information contact:  Amy Ansehl (914) 594 4947


Updated 4/25/07, D. Cunningham