GMR Success Stories
The GMR office is happy to announce funding for the Health Literacy of Displaced Populations project via our Health Information Outreach award.
Description: This project will develop and implement a health literacy training for refugee women living in Johnson and Linn counties in Iowa. Training sessions will be developed in collaboration with scholars from the University of Iowa’s Language, Literacy, and Culture program and from the University of Iowa’s School of Public Health. These sessions will be administered by school of library and information studies students with the assistance of local translators. Once completed, the result of this project will be a cohesive, vetted curriculum designed to improve the health literacy and, ultimately, health information access and outcomes of displaced women and their families.
Objectives: The primary goals of this project are to 1) increase knowledge regarding the health information needs and health literacy of refugee women. This will result in public health, information, and resettlement organizations being better equipped to address the gaps in displaced women’s abilities to access health information for themselves and their families. 2) Develop an effectual program to improve the health literacy of refugee women so that they will be better equipped to seek health information and, ultimately, care in the US. 3) Disseminate the project findings and resultant initiative to library science schools and community organizations so that they will be able to implement this programming in their communities.
Recent federal data has shown a disparity in obesity, and health concerns related to obesity, among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. The CDC reported in 2009 that 31.2% of American Indian four-year-olds were obese, the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group, and in 2015, according to IHS data, AI/AN people had the highest rates of diabetes in the country, with rates twice as high, and a mortality rate three times as high, as non-Hispanic Whites.
Researchers, policy makers, and health professionals have realized that addressing the complex causes of Indigenous nutritional health disparities—including biomedical, social, economic, and historical factors—requires the application of both interdisciplinary academic and experiential knowledge. To help address this need, the GMR is funding the Research for Indigenous Community Health (RICH) Center at the University of Minnesota to further the development of a curated database of reliable information resources relevant to Native nutritional health, accessible via a public website. The project draws on multiple sources of “food wisdom” — including experiential, Indigenous community-based, and crossdisciplinary academic knowledge — and will create a searchable repository providing a directory of experts, a bibliography of publications, and information on relevant projects, programs, and resources.
Over the last few months, the project team has been working diligently to develop a test site into a working prototype. A needs assessment was completed and user-testing of the proof-of-concept site is taking place to maximize usability. Over the coming months, the RICH Center will populate the prototype with hundreds of publications, including links out to PubMed when applicable, as well as examples of 20+ projects and programs and more than 50 experts.
Stay tuned to Midwest Matters to hear more about the progress and learn when the final prototype is complete!