League of California Cities Shines Spotlight on
Library’s Health Literacy Program
Literacy Update: July 2015
Listed as a “California City Solution,” the Azusa City Library’s health literacy program was featured in a League of California Cities newsletter on May 18, 2015. The “English Lessons for a Healthy Life” classes were created in 2012 to provide adults an opportunity to learn how to improve their health as the context for learning to speak English. The program is offered in partnership with the Azusa Neighborhood Wellness Center and the Azusa Pacific University Department of Global Studies, Sociology and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
a program of the Azusa City Library, in collaboration with the Azusa Neighborhood Wellness Center and the Azusa Pacific University Department of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). Based on the belief that literacy is not an end in itself, but rather a catalyst to transform lives, Health Literacy Learning classes focus on English vocabulary, grammar, conversations, and reading and writing exercises related to topics such as nutrition, exercise and preventing disease. Health Literacy Learning students learn English while they explore choices and behaviors that lead to healthy lives for them and their families.
This unique collaboration was established by The Literacy Program of the Azusa City Library. Supervised APU TESOL Department students teach the classes. Neighborhood Wellness Center nursing students visit the classes weekly to record students’ blood pressure and steps walked (from pedometers provided to students) and answer health-related questions. Two levels of classes are offered. Each is scheduled twice a week, for 8-week sessions.
Health Literacy Learning was developed with funding from the Canyon City Foundation.
What is Health Literacy?
Health literacy, as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Healthy People 2020), is “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.”
Did You Know...
• Poor health literacy is “a stronger predictor of a person’s health than age, income, employment status, education level, and race.” (Report on the Council of Scientific Affairs, Ad Hoc Committee on Health Literacy for the Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association, JAMA, Feb 10, 1999)
• In one California study, 65% of participants with low reading skills reported they avoid going to the doctor because of difficulties with paperwork; 75% of medical professionals said they were aware of medical errors that were the product of low literacy.
• Among patients with Type 2 diabetes, low health literacy is associated with worse glycemic control and higher rates of retinopathy. (Dean Schillinger, Ph.D., Journal of the American Medical Association July 24,31,2002)