It’s official – October is Health Literacy month!
Did you know October is “Health Literacy Month?” Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price made it official on September 24 when she signed the proclamation at Fort Worth City Hall. Teresa Wagner of UNT Health Science Center and Jessica Rangel of SaferCare Texas were present for the signing.
Health Literacy empowers patients to improve their health through education provided by trained literacy instructors on how to talk to their doctor and follow medical advice.
“This is a project we have been working on for over a year,” said Patti Taylor, director of quality and patient safety at the DFW Hospital Council (DFWHC) Foundation. “With a large percentage of Texans at or below basic health literacy levels, the DFWHC Foundation Health Literacy Collaborative has a dedicated team to inspire awareness in the community.”
Upcoming projects include multiple social media campaigns and Internet sound bites.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates only 12 percent of adults have proficient health literacy. In other words, nearly nine out of 10 adults may lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease. The same study also indicated only 14 percent of adults have below basic health literacy.
“Those are frightening numbers,” said Taylor. “Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services. In addition, these outcomes are associated with higher healthcare costs.”
The DFWHC Foundation Health Literacy Collaborative Committee was created to inspire a health literate culture in North Texas as well as the entire state. Goals include:
• Distribute a Health Literacy Toolkit for entities to “get started.” The tools are available at: https://dfwhcfoundation.org/quality/;
• Formulate collaborative research on local health literacy;
• Conduct a Health Literacy Needs Assessment for community needs.
“We want to encourage healthcare providers to participate in the Health Literacy Collaborative Committee,” Taylor said. “As we speak, we are in the process of writing grants and applying for funding. We also plan to host workshops and training sessions in the community.”
The committee meets every quarter while the subgroups meet monthly. For information, please contact Taylor at [email protected].