Professor David Young
Montana State University
Montana State University
Gail Kouame, NN/LM, PNR,
Consumer Health Outreach Coordinator
University of Washington
Gallatin County Detention Center
Mary Alice Gillispie
Healthy Roads Media
This presentation will describe a pilot project designed to improve the health literacy, self-care management skills and health care decision-making of inmates during incarceration and upon release from a county jail. Inmates in U.S. jails/prisons have a disproportionately low level of health literacy and a high incidence of chronic health conditions requiring ongoing treatment and management.
Health literacy is defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Poor health literacy is a stronger predictor of a person’s health outcome than age, income, employment status, education level and race. Good health literacy skills are critical for meaningful health care decision-making and positive health outcomes. Individuals with poor health literacy incur medical expenses up to four times greater than those with adequate health literacy.
This project involves delivery of 12 one-hour health literacy training modules to 60 inmates. The one-hour modules are designed to be interactive with a PPT presentation, use of handout materials including workbooks and hands-on practice on laptop computers. Since internet access by inmates is not allowed in the jail, a health-based internet-in-a-box offline system was developed for inmates to practice accessing basic health information. Pre and post survey questionnaires are used to measure the impact of the project on health literacy.
This project has the potential to be replicable and applicable to criminal justice facilities and to audiences with low health literacy and limited access to the internet. This project is funded by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), Pacific Northwest Region (PNR) and involves: Gallatin County Detention Center; Montana State University (Extension Service, College of Nursing, and Libraries); Gallatin City-County Health Department; Gallatin Mental Health Center; Healthy Roads Media; Community Health Partners; and, Bozeman Public Libraries.
Creating healthy, safe, thriving rural communities and promoting health literacy in under-served vulnerable populations
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