UNESCO Literacy Prize

Literacy projects in China, the United States, Nigeria, Senegal and the United Republic of Tanzania are the winners of the five UNESCO Literacy Prizes this year. One of them was awarded to a US organization that partners with health organizations. Good news considering the recent study that found only smoking was a stronger predictor of early death than illiteracy. You can listen to a podcast from Scientific American to hear more about it.

Healthy minds … knowledge is power … format is power

I recently attended a conference in Tucson on health information which you can read about at BlogJunction.

I’ve been thinking about format lately. What is the best way to share information? Stories are an important vehicle for knowledge transmission – sometimes there is more to learn from a story than from a bulleted list of facts. The key thing you learn from a story is a piece of information’s “relevance” – or you could say even “moral value”.

So I thought of this when I reflected on several stories I had heard over the weekend. These were stories about the use of Medline Plus in Spanish, in how it had been used by community health outreach workers, promotoras, in border towns in Arizona and Texas, to enrich their knowledge and the information they could give to the Spanish speakers they were serving.  The presenter told some stories of the use of Medline Plus being used to give information about a life-saving surgical procedure to a man whose anxiety was so high about it, he was considering not getting it.  Once he understood, and had more information, he decided to get the procedure done.  It illustrates not just that information about health care has useful information, but that it is an important and necessary component of the health care system, especially a system that many times can only give 15 minutes per patient.

After hours of presentations on various health websites, and the resources they offered, it was this story that helped me, someone not involved in the health care field except as a patient, understand the moral value and relevance of free, authoritative health information.  It also

I’ll be linking to the video of the conference as soon as it is available so stay tuned.