Master Health Literacy: A Participant-Focused Program in Development
Goldbeck DeBose, Kyrille
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BACKGROUND Many of us face anxiety and uncertainty when it comes to health concerns. To help address this, three librarians at a research university are working with partners to develop a Master Health Literacy (MHL) volunteer program modeled after national extension programs such as ‘Master Gardener,’ and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Master Wellness Volunteer program. The MHL program will provide scaffolded health literacy content and guided self-directed learning to support individuals in growing knowledge and skills, and to empower community members to access and apply information for personal and community well being. An internal grant funded student positions to conduct a literature review and environmental scan for evidence-based program development. METHODS Guiding the program development, we met with faculty partners in Population Health Sciences and Agricultural Extension. Three students were hired to conduct a review of the literature and an environmental scan of programs and educational materials; as well as to apply findings towards an initial program outline. RESULTS Literature review results will summarize: (1) need for health literacy programs, (2) successes of programs, (3) issues encountered by programs, and (4) potential solutions for preventing or addressing issues. Environmental scan results will highlight significant program websites and educational materials. A draft MHL pilot program outline will be shared. CONCLUSION The literature review and environmental scan results, and conversations with stakeholders indicate a demonstrated need, and that this program has the capacity to serve various constituencies. Based on literature review findings, we have made modifications to our original ideas; in particular to scaffold the types of information, sources, and skills for initial program content to address various levels of participant experience. We will also add training to support final program projects. As next steps, we will work with partners to develop and implement a pilot program in 2018.