Regional Health Literacy Summits
The National Institute for Literacy, through its LINCS Regional Resource Centers, convened three Regional Health Literacy Summits in 2008. The forums brought together adult literacy and health professionals to share health literacy information and resources for implementing health literacy programming. Health literacy is often defined as the ability to read, understand, and act upon health-related information. Improving health literacy may improve the health status and quality of life of America's adults, especially among adults with marginal literacy skills. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) reported the extent of low health literacy in The Health Literacy of America's Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. About 22 percent of adults only had Basic health literacy and 14 percent had Below Basic health literacy.
The Regional Health Literacy Summits also addressed how partnerships among adult literacy providers and health literacy providers can help in eliminating literacy barriers in accessing quality health care.
- Region 3 - February 28, 2008 in San Francisco, CA. This summit was sponsored by Literacyworks in partnership with San Francisco State University College of Humanities, Center for Immigrant and Refugee Community Literacy Education (CIRCLE); Community Engagement Program, University of California San Francisco (UCSF); and Center for Vulnerable Populations, UCFS/San Francisco General Hospital. Presenters included Dr. Dean Schillinger, MD, University of California San Francisco Associate Professor of Medicine, and various literacy providers and adult students. Contact Paul Heavenridge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Region 2 - March 5, 2008 in Atlanta, GA. This summit was sponsored by the Center for Literacy Studies, University of Tennessee, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy, Georgia State University; Office of Adult Literacy, Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education; and Literacy Action, Inc. (Atlanta). Presenters included Cynthia Baur (US/DHHS) and Dr. Yolanda Partida, UCSF Fresno. Contact Chas Durant (email@example.com)
- Region 1 - March 25-26, 2008 in Indianapolis, IN. This summit was sponsored by World Education and Kent State University/Ohio Literacy Resource Center in partnership with Indiana Department of Education/Division of Adult Education. Among the presenters were Paul D. Smith, MD, University of Wisconsin (Health literacy: A clinician's point of view) and Andrew Pleasant, Ph.D., Rutgers University (Advancing health literacy: Building bridges). The summit also highlighted health literacy initiatives in Wisconsin, New York, Iowa and Rhode Island. Contact Kaye Beall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Community Literacy Summit
In 2007, the National Institute for Literacy convened a national summit on community literacy to provide a forum for community literacy coalitions, faith-based organizations, funders, and other community-based stakeholders to share information and to learn. The Community Literacy Summit focused on evaluating community-wide efforts. Information gathered on these measures resulted in the Guide to Performance Management for Community Literacy Coalitions. The Institute’s publication addresses how community literacy coalitions and their partner organizations can track the progress they make in improving literacy in their communities. Practitioners can then use this information to improve their activities and therefore, the effectiveness of their work.
Approximately 80 coalitions nationwide typically engage in a variety of activities, including direct literacy services or volunteer recruitment for direct service organizations.