Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Challenges and Strategies of Health Education for Non-Literate Populations

Marnetta Shetler Bradford, Ysonde Gomez-Hobbs.

Problems associated with health promotion and education for non-reading populations are frequently encountered by health educators. They are ill prepared to meet this challenge and often overlook basic proceduures that can avoid serious health risks for their students/populations. The problem is compounded by their use of medical knowledge that has it own characteristics and syntax. Their written communications are difficult to interpret by literate consumers and impossible for those who are non-literate. Frequently this lack of communication is exacerbated by deep cultural gaps between the health educator and students/patients who do not read.

Problems and poor health outcomes associated with non reading populations in health care settings will be identified. Presentation of case examples which illustrate techniques for educating patients who are unable to read will be presented.

Participants will be invited to discuss the following, and other, interventions to promote positive health outcomes for non literate populations:
Culturally and socially sensitive methods for determining literacy level of indeviduals; Use of familial intermediaries as health educators; Use of nonwritten instructions; Identification of common strategies used by students/patients to disguise literacy problems; Identification of common problems associated with non or low literacy in health settings; Use of verbal feedback, reiteration and repetition to ensure student/patient compliance with health related instructions; and Health monitoring and record keeping techniques applicable for non-literate populations.

Participants will also be invited to share case histories and discuss possible future exchanges to foster a better understanding of issues related to health education and promotion for non-literate students/patients.


Marnetta Shetler Bradford  (United States)
Family Nurse Practitioner

Hanover Family Practice

I work in a busy family practice office which serves a diverse group of people primarily from the USA. However, I also provide services to immigrants from the Ukraine, Russia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Viet Nam. Prior to working as a nurse practitioner, I worked as a nurse in El Salvador and Brazil teaching health promoters who either were unable to read or had very low literacy skills.

Ysonde Gomez-Hobbs  (United States)

  • Challenges of Health Education
  • Implementation of Strategies for Health Education

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)