Award Report – Health Literacy: Tools for Improving Health Communications
The conference entitled, “Health Literacy: Tools for Improving Health Communications” was held on May 30, 2007. The conference was co-sponsored by the New York Medical College (NYMC) Health Sciences Library (HSL) and School of Public Health (SPH) along with the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NorMet). It was jointly funded by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) and the New York State Department of Health. The conference goal was to provide health professionals and hospital staff with an educational opportunity to develop awareness of health literacy issues and improve communication skills with individuals throughout the Hudson Valley Region of New York. In fact, the revelant issues and communication skills needed are basic to all health professionals. NN/LM network members, regional health professionals, and individuals from community agencies were encouraged to attend. The expectation was that the conference would serve as a platform from which to develop a regional coalition and be able to draw upon the community building skills already in place among the participants: it did. One outcome was the creation of a health literacy tool kit, which was soon followed by a virtual version. The conference page web now includes the scope and agenda for the conference as well as the tool kit, with new links added as needed http://library.nymc.edu/PHInformatics/hltoolkit.cfm. When the so-called “dancing nurses” video shown by one of the speakers was requested more than 14 times, the link was immediately added to the site: http://www.ahrq.gov/QuestionsAreTheAnswer//.
Attendees rated the conference overall close to excellent by all measures by the end of the day, and post-conference survey evaluations completed July 16, 2007 also generated extremely positive results. Although plans initially estimated 100 likely attendees, the final total was 194 individuals.
Diana J. Cunningham, MLS,MPH- New York Medical College- Health Sciences Library- Valhalla, NY