Members of the most recent class pictured: Upper row, left to right: Juan Ortiz, Daril Caceres, Ernestina Luna, Julio Perez, Mariana Arellano
Lower: Maria Bravo, Josefina Bernal, Armida Solis, Yu Han Jing, Yolanda Gonzalez, Cristina Diaz, Mai Xiog
Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) kicked off Health Literacy Month by announcing a grant award of $4,000 to the Rogers County Literacy Council (RCLC). This will be the third Health Literacy Grant awarded in Rogers County in the past five years. Funds made possible by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services will fund an English language class for adult learners here in Claremore. The topic of the class will be health and wellness.
America’s Health Rankings, an annual report by the United Health Foundation, ranks Oklahoma near the bottom of the list, according to Leslie Gelders, director of ODL’s Literacy Resource Office. “We rank 45th out of the 50 states,” Gelders said. “Among health conditions considered, Oklahoma received alarming scores in such areas as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular deaths, high cholesterol, annual dental visits, availability of primary care physicians, and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly nine out of ten Americans have problems reading and using consumer health information,” Gelders said. “If the majority of Americans have problems understanding health information, imagine the obstacles faced by people with low reading skills or a limited understanding of English.”
Edel Godwin director with RCLC said, “We are excited to collaborate with others in our community to carry out this effort, the literacy council is so fortunate to have access to the community center and the library. We hope to make a difference in the lives of our fellow citizens by encouraging language improvement and therefore improving access to health information.”
Classes begin on November 7 at the Claremore Community Center. There will be ten classes in this program, Monday evenings 6:15 pm to 8:15 pm. Contact Stacy Lucas at 918-695-9004 to sign up.
Studies reveal that an individual’s ability to read and understand health information is actually a stronger predictor of a person’s health than his age, socioeconomic status, education or ethnicity.
“In order to improve the state’s health outcomes, Oklahomans need to be able to access and understand reliable health information,” Gelders said. “We also need to be able to speak effectively with our medical professionals, follow dosage instructions, and use available resources to make informed health decisions for ourselves and our families.”
Gelders said health literacy programs and partnerships are a relatively new concept for Oklahoma library and literacy programs.
“The Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services are providing the funding for these grants.”
For information on Oklahoma’s adult literacy efforts, visit http://libraries.ok.gov/literacy/
RCLC is needing tutors and has learners waiting for tutors at this time. Volunteer sign up for the tutor training in Rogers County is ongoing. Open Minds training will take place in a February 2017. Sign up confirm your seat. To learn more about the local literacy effort, contact Edel Godwin with RCLC 918-277-4331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org