Healing Health Literacy at Two Urban Low-Income Clinics

Marquette University PA Program implemented and evaluated the health literacy curriculum “HEAL” at two urban clinics serving low-income adults in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

PA faculty provided instruction and counseling on how to communicate about symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment; how to interpret medical terminology and forms; and when to seek care at an emergency room.

“Low health literacy is a modifiable yet under-recognized barrier to high quality and equitable healthcare.  This project made low health literacy more apparent to providers, students, and patients at these clinics,” said Grantee Joshua Knox, MA, PA-C.

Forty course participants demonstrated gains in confidence of topic knowledge, although results were not statistically significant. However, all participants reported a high degree of satisfaction; and changes in health behaviors were observed. The project also impacted Marquette PA students and the medical staff at both clinics, more than 150 individuals, by increasing their awareness and providing training on how to address low health literacy among their patients.

The grantees presented this initiative at the Wisconsin Academy of PAs conference, AAPA and additional events, and in Metropolitan University Journal.

This project was supported by the Kathy J. Pedersen Grant to Promote Equitable Care and additional funding.

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