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Improving health literacy for families in treatment

Earlier this month, Odyssey House clinical staff conducted a Health Literacy seminar for our Family Center clients. Nearly three dozen mothers and fathers participated in the event, which served as the final component of the Aetna Foundation-funded Health Education and Literacy Program (OH HELPS).

During the seminar, learning was reinforced through practical and interactive exercises in taking temperatures, dosing medication, and seeking medical help. Each participant received an OH HELPS goodie bag that included a cold kit, a digital thermometer, and a first aid kit. The day closed with an entertaining version of “Baby Talk” Jeopardy that enabled the participants to demonstrate their newly improved levels of health literacy.

OH HELPS was developed with funding from Aetna. Odyssey House partnered with the Community Pediatrics Department at Columbia University Medical Center to develop and deliver the initial curriculum that focused on basic health care topics, including: “When and How to Use an Emergency Room,” “Treating Colds and Flus,” “Immunization,” and “Basic Home Health Procedures.” These sessions were delivered over the course of the year by second year pediatric inters from Columbia University Medical Center and Odyssey House staff.

The final half-day seminar served as a means to strengthen our clients’ family-focused and practical health literacy, and to celebrate the successful implementation of the OH HELPS program into our Family Centers. Odyssey House will continue to conduct these seminars on a quarterly basis.

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