June 27, 2012

Calling all Central Texas Social Service Provider Teams!


You are conducting an intake with a potential new client for your social service program. Let’s call potential new client, Bob. As you describe the services available for Bob and the process for determining eligibility, Bob returns your questions and comments with blank stares, silence, and rolling of eyes.

Not so unusual, you may say.

You try to read Bob’s mood and body language and decide to move along with the intake. Bob nods his head in affirmation when you ask if he is interested in the program you are describing, so you ask him to fill out a very basic intake form. Suddenly Bob becomes very chatty, changing the subject from the topic at hand. As he chats away, you detect a sense of urgency in his voice. You begin to wonder if he was even listening to the last 30 minutes worth of information you explained to him- he is now talking about an entirely non-related event. He doesn’t pick up the pencil you set down in front of him. You notice he hasn’t even turned the intake form around… when you have handed it to him upside-down….

As a social service provider, you would probably consider a variety of possible explanations for Bob’s behavior. But I’m curious…was literacy one of the factors you considered? (I know- probably obvious, since this post is on a literacy coalition blog.)

In fact, literacy is very likely to be a barrier for many of the people who cross our paths. 1 in 5 Central Texans are like Bob, unable to read or write well enough to fill out a basic job application.
So where do you come in? You may think, “Well I’m not a teacher…the last book I read was in the 10th grade…who am I to talk about literacy with my clients?”

In response, the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas has designed a special training for our local social service teams. As part of our ongoing Literacy Illuminates campaign we want to arm social service teams with the tools to identify low literacy and connect clients to literacy services in the community.

This will be a 30 minute workshop we can offer at your next staff meeting and it will cover the following information:
  •  Defining literacy
  • Why is literacy so important?
  • About the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas
  • Types of literacy services
  • Literacy Illuminates campaign and providers’ roles
  • Identifying clients who are low literate 
  •  Connecting Clients with Literacy Services (How to use LCCT hotline and online searchable database)
Trainings will begin in July! If you would like to sign up your team of 5 or more providers, or if you would like more information about this workshop, please contact Emily at epulley@willread.org.

June 19, 2012

Quick Health Literacy Updates

More often than not, when I sit down to write a blog post I feel a bit of writer's block. I think, what do these people want to know about my job and health literacy? Today I'm feeling that familiar feeling...we have a lot of cool stuff going on right now, but I don't know what you all want to hear about! Leave us a comment below to let me know who you (the reader) are and what you'd like to hear from me about.

For now, I'll just give you some quick updates from our Health Literacy Department. 

We had a very successful Health Literacy Luncheon for Austin-area community leaders in partnership with Seton, Humana and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
From left: Peter and Meg of LCCT, Andy Martinez, CEO of GAHCC, Annie Crawford, Director of Ventanilla de Salud and chair of GAHCC Health & Wellness Committee, and Geronimo Rodriguez, VP of Diversity and Inclusion at Seton.

I also just got back from the week long Health Literacy Curriculum Development and Educational Leadership Institute at Tufts University School of Medicine...I learned so much and was also felt like a real asset to the group, especially on day-2 when I presented our work as a model example for others around the country. I could write 100 blog posts with all the things I learned or was reminded of during the Institute!

I'm excited to start developing a Health Literacy and Ethics workshop for Harden Healthcare's Leadership Conference in August...I'll be co-presenting with an attorney so that will be very interesting! Also in the training realm, I've had a few great workshops recently with interesting angles coming from the mental health field with Austin Travis County Integral Care, telephone communication with United Way/2-1-1, and am excited for a series of diabetes-specific HL workshops that I'm delivering to Baylor Healthcare System in a few weeks.

We're looking forward to the national publication of our Health Literacy Instructional Guide? We're excited about the expected release of that to the public early this coming fall. 

I'd love to hear your suggestions...what do you want to hear about? Health literacy curriculum development? Making partnerships with healthcare providers? Launching an earned-income venture?

I guess the first thing I need to know is...who's my reader? Health literacy folks...can you hear me? Am I talking to healthcare providers, literacy instructors, engaged community members? Holla at a playa with a comment and I'll be sure to write about the things in which you're interested!