PHAR 3206: Foundations of Health Literacy

Course Details

Overview

  • Online course
  • 3 credits
  • Offered Fall, Spring

Prerequisites
This course is open to any student with an interest in the subject.

Course Materials
Book: Fadiman, A. (2012). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. United States: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Course Directors
Jody Lounsbery, PharmD, BCPS
Anna Milone, PharmD, BCPS
Email: phar3206@umn.edu

Course Description

In this course, you will focus on health literacy and its implications for patients, health care providers, and the health care system at large. We will discuss the consequences of poor health literacy and practical strategies for improving health literacy. This will include steps that individual patients can take and communication strategies for future health care providers. You will explore disparities in health and health care and the relationship to health literacy. We will discuss cultural competency through both student discussions and a book club and consider the impact on the patient experience. Functional health literacy includes being able to navigate the health care system and health insurance. As a class, we will discuss choosing a health insurance policy and controversies therein.

Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Define health literacy and its implications for a patient at an individual level and within the health care system at large
  • Describe the importance of health literacy by listing examples of individual and institutional consequences of poor health literacy
  • Discuss implications of disparities in health and health care
  • Discuss cultural competency and its impact on the patient experience within the health care system
  • Explain the basic concepts related to navigating insurance within the health care system
  • Identify practical strategies to improve health literacy as a future health professional, including individual and systems-based approaches
  • Apply the fundamentals of health literacy through various learning activities

Topics

  • Definition of health literacy
  • Measuring health literacy
  • Dr. Google and self-diagnosis
  • Disparities in health care
  • Cultural competency -- Language barriers
  • Insurance structures and choosing an insurance plan
  • Strategies to address health literacy at the level of individual providers
  • Strategies to address health literacy at a system level
  • Patient education materials and readability