Miami, July 27, 2021 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) School of Continuing Education & Professional Development was awarded a one-year grant by Florida Blue Foundation and the Florida Literacy Coalition for the implementation of a health literacy program to benefit its adult education, ESOL, and family literacy students at the Hialeah Campus.
MDC is one of 14 state recipients of the grant that will integrate health and nutrition information into the curriculum of the School of Continuing Education & Professional Development. The focus is to help students acquire the knowledge, literacy skills, and resources that will help them navigate the medical system and make informed health decisions. More than 21,000 students from programs throughout Florida have benefited from the grant program initiative since 2009.
There is a growing recognition among health care providers and adult educators around the country that limited English language and literacy skills can have a significant impact on health. According to the National Adult Assessment of Literacy, 14 percent of Americans cannot comprehend basic health information. The study indicates that health illiteracy is especially prevalent among: adults who did not complete high school, with 49 percent having below basic health literacy; and foreign-born adults who speak English as their second language.
People who lack literacy and health literacy skills are much more likely to use medications incorrectly, have at least one chronic disease, spend more time in the hospital, and are four times more likely to have poor health than those with higher health literacy skills. The potential for cost savings and improved health outcomes are significant. Adult education, literacy and family literacy programs can play an important role in helping people to acquire these skills.
“Our mission is to help people and communities achieve better health,” said Susan Towler, vice president of the Florida Blue Foundation. “By improving health literacy in our state, we are addressing one of the obstacles to good health and health equity in our communities. Through our partnership with the Florida Literacy Coalition, we are making an immediate impact to help people keep themselves and their families healthy during the pandemic, while creating sustainable change throughout our communities.”
The Florida Health Literacy Initiative provides training, resources, and funding to assist Florida ESOL and family literacy programs to integrate health education into their instruction. The objective is to help students develop basic literacy and English language skills while gaining information to make informed choices regarding their health and nutrition. MDC’s grant is for $5,000.
“The continued support of this Initiative reflects the Florida Blue Foundation’s strong commitment to helping adult learners, many who are new to this country, become informed health advocates for themselves and their families,” said Greg Smith, executive director of the Florida Literacy Coalition. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the Florida Blue Foundation and this year’s grant recipients to help adult learners throughout our state achieve better health through education.”