BC Health literacy initiatives
Recently, a CanMedLib list serv member posted a question on what Canadian health literacy initiatives are out there. My response was that I am aware of quite a few initiatives happening in British Columbia but they are not conveniently documented on websites. I attended two fora on health literacy earlier this year:
– One was a Health Literacy round table convened by Marina Niks, Researcher in Residence, Douglas College and Dr. Irving Rootman, Chair of the Health and Learning Knowledge Centre at the University of Victoria. This was attended by a sizeable number of stakeholders who were either implementing formal health literacy initiatives or working in the area informally. It was an excellent opportunity to brainstorm a framework and definition of health literacy in British Columbia and chart a way forward.
– The second was an excellent workshop convened by Marina Niks where she had invited 6 programs to present on their health literacy initiatives. Some of these included:
- Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Literacy Project which will run a public awareness campaign using multi-media, presentations to high school and college settings and capacity building in the community through training youth workers. Connie Coniglio, firstname.lastname@example.org is the contact for this project.
- Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and Richmond Public Library Partnership partnership where physicians are encouraged to send patients to the library for information and also to recommend consumer resources. Belinda Boyd: Belinda.Boyd@vch.ca is the contact.
- Not featured at this workshop but the Drug Use Optimization branch of Pharmaceutical Services Division is working on outreach projects such as participation in health fairs and medication safety workshops in community programs. These will be described in future posts.
There is a definite need to have these initiatives documented somewhere in one place. In particular, since October is health literacy month, it is timely to showcase health literacy projects to promote its importance and share its positive outcomes and lessons learned. We are a long way from having a robust health literacy strategy like that of Iowa but sharing our stories is one way to do this. Please use the comments feature to share information about health literacy programs, health fairs and other health outreach/promotion activities you are aware of.