Workshop sharpens health literacy skills

January 2011…Learning to search for accurate medical information on the web can be challenging for anyone.

But kids can get lost in the maze of documents a typical web search retrieves. As a result, they may stop with the easiest information to find and access, not necessarily the best or most reliable.

One goal of the Healthy NewsWorks student media program is to educate young journalists in health literacy – the ability to find and understand basic health information and services. This competency not only will help them produce fair and balanced articles for their health newspapers; it also will guide them in navigating the medical world as consumers.

Fifteen teachers, school nurses and volunteers involved with Healthy NewsWorks recently attended a workshop focused on health literacy and ways to teach it to elementary and middle school students. The workshop was organized jointly by Healthy NewsWorks and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest professional medical organization.

Andrea Kenyon, the college’s director of public health and community outreach, led the workshop and discussed websites and search tools that young journalists and others could use to find reputable medical information. She also offered tips on how to determine which websites are most reliable and some suggestions to help young journalists come up with story ideas.

“We were thrilled with the workshop and the response from participants,” said Marian Uhlman, director of Healthy NewsWorks. “It was a wonderful chance to collaborate with a top medical organization in exploring new ways to educate our young journalists about the delivery of accurate and reliable health information.”


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