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Saturday, February 24, 2018
HomeHealthBringing health literacy home for the holidays

Bringing health literacy home for the holidays

Krisit Westphaln & Eileen Fry-Bowers

Krisit Westphaln & Eileen Fry-Bowers

Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services National Assessment of Adult Literacy estimates that approximately 77 million Americans are currently at risk for low health literacy.


From a refugee family who arrives to a health care visit with minimal English speaking skills to an English speaking family attempting to understand a multi-medication asthma regimen for a loved one, navigating the jargon and technology within the health care system can be both challenging and frustrating for families.


A lacking of health literacy, or understanding about one’s health, can lead to potentially devastating effects including but not limited to poor access to health care, prolonged uncomfortable symptoms, delayed diagnoses, and unanticipated hospital readmissions. Additionally, low health literacy affects people of all ages and all stages of life.


When was the last time that you sat down with your loved ones and talked about health literacy, literally? Skills such as reading a pamphlet or calculating a medication dose aren’t always easy. Feelings such as fear or sadness can also impact health care actions and decisions. Communication and comprehension represent key components in promoting health and wellness.


Tune into Healthcetera Radio on Thursday, November 24th as Senior Fellow Kristi Westphaln interviews health literacy scholar and health policy expert, Dr. Eileen Fry-Bowers. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Fry-Bowers holds a degree in law from Whittier Law School, a PhD from the UCLA School of Nursing, and she currently serves as faculty at the Hahn school of Nursing and Health Science at the University of San Diego.


The holidays are right around the corner. Take a few minutes to learn how you can bring tidings of health literacy to your friends and family. Dr. Fry-Bowers demystifies health literacy as she defines it, provides strategies for enhancing health literacy, and explains the important Ask Me 3 questions that you should ask your health care provider at every check up.


Give the gift of health this year by boosting your family health literacy and tune into Healthcetera radio.

You can listen to the interview here on iTunes

Written by

Kristi Westphaln, MSN, RN, PNP-PC, is a San Diego-based pediatric nurse practitioner with a passion for all things pediatric. She has been in the nursing profession for 15 years, with 11 years of PNP expertise in the areas of pediatric primary care, pediatric emergency health care, pediatric trauma and child abuse. Ms. Westphaln will be producing for the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement a series of elementary school-based health education podcasts and will continue her work in radio with “HealthCetera.” She currently serves as the legislative/health policy chair for the San Diego chapters of the National Association of Pediatric Nurses (NAPNAP) and the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and she was recently honored as a 2017 National NAPNAP Advocacy Scholar. She anticipates completing her PhD in nursing from the University of San Diego in May 2018 and aspires to pursue post-doctoral education in the pediatric health policy research arena. Her research interests include child health promotion, social capital, health care access and use, home visitation and health disparities/social justice.

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