State and national leaders join together to address novel approaches to improving health literacy

October 01, 2010

Women & Infants Hospital and Latino Public Radio today announced the results of ESCUCHE - Evaluating the Spanish Radio Community's Understanding of Clinical Research and Health Topics - at a summit entitled "Innovations to Improve Health and Science Literacy."

With the involvement of an active Advisory Committee comprised of community members and content experts, ESCUCHE set forth to develop and evaluate a 10-week health and science literacy curriculum targeting the needs of a Spanish-speaking radio audience through Latino Public Radio.

Statistical results from the program were positive. After participating in the ESCUCHE Program, the 51 participants (29% men and 71% women with a range of ages and educational backgrounds) showed an overall improvement in science literacy based on the mean score for the ESCUCHE Science Literacy Assessment. Improvements were demonstrated by each educational level, with the greatest mean improvement in the group that had a high school education.

"Knowledge increased in each of the ESCUCHE Program content areas, supporting the increase in health literacy as well as overall science literacy," said Maureen Phipps, MD, MPH, co-principal investigator, director of the Division of Research at Women & Infants Hospital, and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and community health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. "Enhancing science and health literacy in vulnerable populations has the potential to improve overall health in communities and prevent the development of a wide range of acute and chronic diseases. A next step is to evaluate health outcomes associated with improving health science literacy on a broader scale."

"The ESCUCHE Program's unique radio format was able to show value in investigating novel approaches to improving science literacy," said Pablo Rodriguez, MD, co-principal investigator, associate chair of Community Relationships in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Alpert Medical School, and president of Latino Public Radio. "We were also pleased that the participants were overwhelmingly positive about the program and have even requested more programs and a continuation of the program format."

During the first phase of the study, Drs. Phipps and Rodriguez held a series of community forums to determine which health topics would be most relevant to the Latino community. The topics that were decided upon were health screenings, immunizations and HPV (human papilloma virus), cardiovascular disease, diet and exercise, diabetes, breast cancer, contraception, HIV/AIDS, smoking, and asthma.

The evaluation phase of the ESCUCHE program included 51 listeners who: In addition to the ESCUCHE results, the summit featured two keynote speakers. Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for Vocational and Adult Education in the United States Department of Education, addressed adult literacy and its relationship to health. Prior to her position in the Obama administration, Dr. Dann-Messier served as president of Dorcas Place, a community-based adult education agency based in Providence.

Angelo Falcón, president and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP), also addressed the group about national policy implications surrounding the importance of addressing health and science literacy. Mr. Falcón is on the board of directors of the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention (LCAT) and is the author of "Latino Health Policy: Beyond Demographic Determinants" in Health Issues in the Latino Community (San Francisco; Jossey-Bass, 2001). He is also a member of the board of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Mr. Falcón also chairs the U.S. Census Advisory Committee on the Hispanic population.
About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation's leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns and a U.S.News Best Hospital in Gynecology. The primary teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women's medicine, Women & Infants is the seventh largest obstetrical service in the country with more than 9,000 deliveries per year. In 2009, Women & Infants opened the country's largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

New England's premier hospital for women and newborns, Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility, as well as the nation's only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Center of Excellence from the American College of Radiography; a Center for In Vitro Maturation Excellence by SAGE In Vitro Fertilization; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health; and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute's Gynecologic Oncology Group.

About Latino Public Radio

Latino Public Radio (LPR) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to inform, educate and entertain the Spanish speaking radio audience through the production and distribution of intelligent, high quality, cultural and educational programming that reflects the diversity of the Latino community.

Since LPRs inception in 2005, the station has presented itself to the community as a resource to protect and project the values of the Rhode Island Latino community. LPRs team of strong, dedicated members is comprised of renowned professionals and community leaders who are committed to the Latino community, striving to educate and inform listeners. The station's focus is to bring audiences intelligent discussion about salient issues of the day that impact the Latino community. These include health, politics, business, financial services, and education. LPRs vision is to continue making a difference in Rhode Island and to expand its educational programming to other Latino communities in the U.S.

Care New England

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