Classes to Improve Health Literacy for Immigrants in Lincoln, Neb.

Improving Health for Low English Proficiency Patients Through Health Literacy Training

In 2006, the Lincoln Literacy Council, of Lincoln, Neb., created and began offering a 12-week course to teach immigrants the basic medical information and vocabulary necessary to lead healthier lives.

The project was part of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) solicitation, Fresh Ideas: Improving the Health of Immigrant and Refugee Communities. The collection of funded projects aims to give immigrants and refugees the tools and support they need to improve and maintain their own health.

Key Results

  • The Literacy Council held seven, 12-week health literacy sessions, serving a total of 135 students.
  • Students' knowledge of health-related vocabulary words increased during the 12-week sessions.
  • Health screenings held during classes uncovered undiagnosed health issues.
  • The Literacy Council created a tutor in-service program and added a section to its Web site listing resources to help general English tutors add information and vocabulary on health topics to their sessions with students.