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Planning Grant for the Utah Health Literacy Coalition

This project supports the further development of the Utah Health Literacy Coalition in its mission to improve access to health information, especially for underserved communities, in Utah. It will do so by convening a group of selected subject matter experts and stakeholders to participate in a professionally facilitated planning workshop to establish short, medium, and long-term goals. The primary product of the workshop will be a strategic plan to guide the furtherance and sustainability of the organization. Background: The Utah Health Literacy Coalition (UTHLC) was formed to meet a recognized need to expand the influence of Utah-based health information practitioners and to further the cause of health literacy. The group has grown into an affiliation of health educators, public health officials, community health workers, librarians and other interested professionals who are dedicated to improving health for all Utahns through the provision of understandable, accurate, and useful health information in various health information and health delivery contexts. UTHLC currently has approximately 20 members. UTHLC promotes health literacy through the expansion of professional knowledge, which encourages best practices in health communication, including meeting health consumers where they are with respect to their ability to listen to, read, and comprehend health information. UTHLC pursues these goals through educational programs, share groups, library lending arrangements, and outreach. Most of the group's activities to date have involved the sharing of best practices and programming ideas which have been implemented in their respective organizations. The group has recognized a need to expand its role in Utah's health literacy and increase its influence. It wishes to pursue its objectives through formalizing its institutional relationships and building capabilities and capacities to further the cause of health literacy among Utah citizens. These capability and capacity objectives will be met through the expansion of programming and services and are intended to align public libraries with knowledge and resources available through medical libraries and public and private health organizations. Earlier this year, UTHLC and the Network of the National Library of Medicine MidContinental Region (NNLM MCR) had planned to deliver a Medical Library Association (MLA) Certified Health Information Specialization (CHIS) level 1 all-day preconference workshop, Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for your Community, at the Utah Library Association's (ULA) annual conference, on May 13, 2020, in St. George, Utah. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the conference and the workshop were cancelled. That workshop was a conscious part of UTHLC's objective to train more librarians throughout Utah. An unintended positive consequence of the pandemic resulted in many Utah librarians receiving the CHIS training via multiple online trainings offered by the NNLM during the Spring and Summer months of 2020. UTHLC had an initial goal of training 20 to 30 public librarians in Utah to support the delivery of quality health information via their public library systems and to connect health resources across communities. We have requested an update to the current roster of MLA certified individuals in Utah and hope to soon update Appendix A: Summary of Consumer Health Specialization Certifications in Utah as of January 2, 2020 with the new information. UTHLC has recognized a longer-term need to adopt sustainable organizational structures and practices in order to better aid the delivery of reliable health information. We recognize that CHIS training is a critical baseline component towards building the plan to be executed in the planning workshop that is proposed in this application. The objectives of the project outlined in this proposal align with goals of the NNLM and the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network. Specifically, the results of the planning meeting will enhance library staff knowledge of health information, especially as it relates to health literacy; coordinate and support community engagement and programming activities in the MCR, including activities to raise awareness of All of Us; foster partnerships involving libraries and organizations interested in health information, including other NNLM members; and leverage public libraries as community conveners where the public can find help locating health information, meeting spaces and access to technology.
Identify any specific population(s) this project will serve: 
Medically Underserved Areas/Populations
Identify roles of participants this project will serve: 
General public
Library or information professional
Project Lead:
Lee J. Whiting
Funding Source: 
MCR
Project Funding:
Federal Fiscal Year: 
2020
Funding Amount: 
$3663
Funding Period:
Oct 24, 2020 to Apr 30, 2021
Project Status:
Awarded