Background: Low health literacy has been associated with poor health outcomes and socioeconomic factors. Milwaukee has a lower educational attainment and diverse medically underserved populations within the city. Health literacy is a national concern and is part of the mission of the National Library of Medicine and its network of Regional Medical Libraries. Youth health literacy has not been measured; many health education programs have been cut or reduced in primary and secondary schools and health literacy is not mandated or funded. It has been determined that youth needs to learn how to best search for and evaluate online health information. Objective: This project will Implement a sustainable youth health literacy curriculum in a health education course at Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa School District in Milwaukee County Wisconsin. Methods: MCW librarians will provide train-the-trainer sessions to current teaching personnel at Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center on how to access quality health information using Medline Plus, Google search techniques and website evaluation skills. Youth Health Literacy: A Toolkit to Strengthen Health Literacy YHL, developed at the New Mexico Department of Health Office of School and Adolescent Health, will be integrated into the current Health Education course at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center. YHL instruction will include interactive exercises and the use of a Chromebooks available onsite. The YHL curriculum will be taught over 4 weeks and repeated 6 times during the school year. Each class is expected to include 20-30 students. The pre-and-post evaluation tool built into the YHL curriculum will be utilized to assess student learning. The project will develop a print collection of consumer health materials suitable for the target population. A LibGuide with relevant information resources will be developed for future reference for participants. Results: A local community partnership aimed at improving youth health literacy will be forged; Underserved youth will acquire sustainable health information seeking skills; Quality health information available from the National Library of Medicine will be promoted; the NNLM and GMR mission and aims to improve access to health information to diverse populations and improve health literacy will be met. Conclusion: Medical librarians in the NNLM can participate in bridging a gap in health education by building a sustainable youth health literacy program, a step towards improving health outcomes in the population.
Medical College of Wisconsin