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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Stay Healthy This Winter: Flu Shot Resources from NLM

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

The flu, also called influenza, is a potentially serious respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses, and getting the flu vaccination every year is the best way to lower your chance of getting the flu and spreading it to others.  National Influenza Vaccination Week 2016 is December 4-10, and the National Library of Medicine offers helpful information and reliable links about the flu shot for many different populations:

  • The General Public: Find a short summary of how the flu shot works, who should get the flu shot, and the latest news and resources about the shot on MedlinePlus.
  • Multilingual Resources: Find information on influenza and the flu vaccination in a dozen or more languages on HealthReach.  Information about the flu shot is also available in over 20 languages on MedlinePlus.
  • Native American Communities: The American Indian Health portal offers links to statistics, information for researchers/health professionals/educators, and general information on the flu, targeted towards Native American communities.
  • Older Adults: On NIH Senior Health, older adults can learn about recommended immunizations for anyone older than 50, including the influenza vaccination.
  • Individuals with HIV/AIDS: Access links about recommended vaccinations for individuals living with HIV/AIDS on AIDSource, including information about the flu shot.

MedlinePlus Flu Shot

Public Health Literacy

Monday, November 7th, 2016

by Terri Ottosen, Outreach and Education Coordinator, NN/LM, SEA

Many of us following information on health literacy, with an interest in keeping current and apprised of new developments, have noticed more discussion recently of the idea of community health literacy. In one discussion, someone described it as “a collective capacity to support each other in finding health information, making sense of it, talking it through and finding ways to take action – either as a community or by supporting individuals to get the help or make changes they need.” She went on to describe that this concept is the “potential for people with higher health literacy skills to lift up those in their community with lower skills.”

The concept of community health literacy is often referred to public health literacy in the literature. One paper by D. Freedman, “Public Health Literacy Defined,” in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2009, describes health literacy as “a comprehensive model comprised of two distinct components, individual health literacy and public health literacy” with the latter defined as “the degree to which individuals and groups can obtain, process, understand, evaluate, and act on information needed to make public health decisions that benefit the community. (http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(09)00092-0/abstract)

This idea is exciting for librarians because that is exactly what we do. No matter your institution, librarians can and do help support individuals and organizations, find, utilize and evaluate health information to help them get the help and answers they need to make the changes needed or the information needed to make informed health decisions. For those working with groups or individuals, there are tools and resources to help you learn more about the concept as well as ways to help focus your efforts. This can be far more challenging than focusing efforts on individuals because it’s more about assessing the entire community’s needs and targeting efforts to “lift” the health literacy levels of a geographic area or distinct territory, which could include a hospital, neighborhood, residents, etc.

Lydia Witman, Patient & Family Library Manager, at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia Medical Center, posed a question recently on IHA Health Literacy List, about assessment tools that could be applied at the population/community level, so that the outcome of the assessment would help users be able to find the percentage of health literacy levels in a given community. One response from a leader on the list included a link to the Health Literacy Data Map (http://healthliteracymap.unc.edu), which identifies sub-communities with the biggest health literacy challenges. It is based on the prevalence of the key demographic groups identified in the NAAL (National Assessment of Adult Literacy), which is often cited in health literacy literature as the standard data set, as having the lowest health literacy levels. If you’ve not seen this tool, please check it out. According to the “About” section of the website, it provides an “interactive, searchable, national map of health literacy estimates for 216,864 census block groups in the United States.” The development and maintenance of the site was funded by the National Institute on Aging and is a collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Boston University Medical Center, Northwestern University, RAND Corporation, and the University of Michigan.

Here are some additional sources of further information on public health literacy and community health literacy:

Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals (Centers for Disease Control) – Web-based training program to educate health professionals about public health literacy and their role in providing health information and services and promoting public health literacy.

Health literacy and public health: A systematic review and integration of definitions and models (BioMed Central, BMC Public Health)

Working with Libraries, Schools & Community Organizations – Resources to help begin or expand your educational and community health literacy activities. The site includes curricula, links to research, and more. (Centers for Disease Control)

Examining health literacy disparities in the United States: a third look at the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) – Article on the importance of relational social status for understanding health literacy disparities in the United States. (BioMed Central, BMC Public Health)

Health Literacy and Health Literacy Resources (NN/LM) – Provides background information on health literacy and resources from trusted organizations.

Area Health Education Centers will use National Library of Medicine funds for youth development

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

The National Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Organization has announced three of its member AHEC organizations (Atlanta AHEC (The Southeast Primary Care Consortium), Eastern Connecticut AHEC, and Southeast Pennsylvania AHEC) will participate in the second year phase of a health information literacy initiative funded with $150,000 from the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Projects will address youth empowerment through health information skills and social action projects.

The multi-center award approach is designed to test implementation of Project SHARE, Student Health Advocates Redefining Empowerment, across varying community contexts. Project SHARE is a previously funded NLM curriculum developed at the University of Maryland/Baltimore. The curriculum encourages health communication, action, leadership and evidence-based knowledge acquisition at individual, family, and community levels.  Awardee AHECs will incorporate health professions shadowing, mentoring and expertise throughout the project and are working with inner city young men, and Native American tribal youth.

A key project partner, John Scott with the Center for Public Service Communications (CPSC), will assist awardees in rolling out the projects. The CPSC has been involved in high-school based NLM activities for over a decade in South Carolina. From those experiences, a primary project component has been adopted. Project SHARE students will incorporate an over-arching social action project that, while not part of the original curriculum, has been shown to build enthusiasm and commitment to project learning in students of the South Carolina programs. New AHEC awardees will combine program elements to make an engaging experience for students.

National Health Observances – November 2016

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Below is a list of National Health Observances for the month of November. By supporting National Health Observances, you can:

  • Educate the public about health risks
  • Organize successful health promotion events and campaigns
  • Get new ideas, information, and resources on health topics of interest.

Contact the sponsoring organization to request outreach materials and information.

NIH Featured Toolkit: American Diabetes Month

Source: 2016 National Health Observances, National Health Information Center, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.

National Health Observances – October 2016

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Below is a list of National Health Observances for the month of October. By supporting National Health Observances, you can:

  • Educate the public about health risks
  • Organize successful health promotion events and campaigns
  • Get new ideas, information, and resources on health topics of interest.

Contact the sponsoring organization to request outreach materials and information.

NIH featured toolkit: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Source: 2016 National Health Observances, National Health Information Center, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.

Last updated on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016

Funded under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012340 with the University of Maryland, Health Sciences and Human Services Library, and awarded by the DHHS, NIH, National Library of Medicine.