A Health Literacy Workshop to Engage Community Groups

From left to right: Stan Hudson, MA, Nick Butler, MA

From left to right: Stan Hudson, MA, Nick Butler, MA

Hudson and Butler talked about their experiences leading communication workshops for patients and providers. The workshops train patients on how to be better patients and train providers on how to be better providers. Patients can include people with a certain disease, seniors, new or expectant parents, and LGBT people. Providers can include students and practicing doctors and you can tailor your case to that particular group. The presenters offered some guidelines for holding a workshop. You’ll need partners, time, travel, and money. But it can be done inexpensively, they said.

Before the workshop, you may want to:

  • Coordinate and prepare the meeting
  • Recruit a group
  • Find out what their issues are, and choose an appropriate case
  • Recruit and train people to act in role-plays
  • Train a facilitator
  • Market and promote the workshop

During the workshop, you may want to:

  • Conduct a pre-workshop survey
  • Talk about health literacy
  • Encourage learners to share their stories
  • Conduct role-plays
  • Discuss in small groups
  • Debrief in large group
  • Conduct a post-workshop survey

After the workshop, you may want to:

  • Report on the process and forms
  • Submit completed surveys

The presenters showed public service announcements about being an active consumer. The PSAs show how consumers who are happy to ask questions in other contexts can be very quiet and passive in a doctor’s office. All of us are more likely to have low health literacy during times of stress and in unfamiliar contexts. That’s why we need universal precautions. The presenters have had positive results with their workshops. “In small-group sessions, countless times, I’ve seen the light bulb go on with the simulated doctor,” said Butler. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to fund some of these initiatives.”