Since 2015, HCIF has convened health literacy stakeholders in Pennsylvania on an annual basis to explore strategies to address health literacy in the Commonwealth. The 2017 Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition Meeting marked the third convening of this group. Held in State College, the event drew attendees from all regions of Pennsylvania.
Activities began on Monday, May 15, with a full-day training on health literacy developed and delivered by Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, MCHES, and Jim Plumb, MD, MPH, co-directors of the Center for Urban Health and faculty at Thomas Jefferson University. Training participants learned about the scope and impact of health literacy, practiced techniques to improve communication with patients, and assessed written materials for readability. The session also highlighted the importance of developing and using easy-to-understand websites, maps, and informed consent forms.
The meeting on May 16 opened with a panel presentation from members of the Adams County Health Literacy Task Force, who shared perspectives from multiple points on the continuum of care to demonstrate the effectiveness of working collaboratively to meet patient needs. For the rest of the day, breakout sessions highlighted health literacy work in different regions of the state. Topics included mobile health design, photonovels, regional coalition building, academic-community partnerships, language access, and becoming a health literate health care organization. Sessions were well-received, with attendees commenting on the value of both the content of the presentations and the connections they made with others.
HCIF will continue to engage partners in the Commonwealth to further the work of the Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition. Since 2010, HCIF’s regional and statewide health literacy initiatives have been funded by the Centers for Disease Control’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Health.