Improving health for low English proficiency patients through health literacy training

There is a higher rate of hospitalization and use of emergency services among patients with limited health literacy. A 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies states "limited health literacy may lead to billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs." Problems associated with low health literacy have significantly increased in Lincoln, Nebraska, especially among the fastest growing segment of the population -- refugees and immigrants from troubled lands. Recent arrivals include Iraqis, Sudanese, Hispanics and Vietnamese. Most experience health deficits and poverty, and have little knowledge and understanding of the medical system and of healthy living styles. This Fresh Ideas project will help such low English proficiency (LEP) patients take charge of their health care by acquiring basic English medical terminology, learning about healthy living practices, developing a medical history, undergoing a medical screening and obtaining medical assistance. The project, a partnership between two community clinics and the Lincoln Literacy Council, is designed to significantly improve the health status of at least 180 vulnerable LEP clients. The key innovation is the diversion of vulnerable LEP clients at clinical intake into a 12-week healthy living training program working with health literacy tutors as well as case managers from the clinics. This project directly addresses the Foundation's desire to fund "fresh ideas that represent new approaches to the health and health care problems that affect our country's most vulnerable people." A toolkit will be developed for replication purposes.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $179,549.00

Awarded on: 9/12/2006

Time frame: 9/1/2006 - 6/30/2009

Grant Number: 57366


Lincoln Literacy Council

745 South 9th Street
Lincoln, 65808-3107


Clayton F. Naff
Project Director