Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) Department Chair of Health and Wellness Coaching, Duston Morris, recently published research on health literacy education in Speech Language Pathology (SLP) programs. Dr. Duston Morris is a certified Health Education Specialist and Health Coach. He has been practicing and teaching in community health, public health, health and wellness, fitness and recreation for more than 25 years, and his research agenda explores the relationship between exercise, physical activity and other healthy lifestyle characteristics, the benefits of active infrastructure, and interprofessional education for healthcare students. Download the full publication here.
This study was part of a larger study that explored how SLP leaders (i.e., program administrators and faculty) implement health literacy education in SLP training programs. Health literacy skills are a vital aspect of an individual’s quality of life and well-being and low health literacy is related to low life expectancy and higher prevalence of disease and illness.
Historically, healthcare providers have overlooked the health literacy skills of their clients. Findings from the study reported that more than half (56%) of SLP leaders implemented HLE within their SLP programs. However, only 4% always teach students why health literacy is important and 75% never instruct students to encourage clients to ask questions. Although HLE occurred in SLP programs, use of HLE varied greatly across different programs. This research points to the importance of incorporating health education in healthcare training programs. Health and Wellness coaching programs should review their training protocol to ensure that students learn how to improve their own health literacy and are able to effectively assist their clients with health literacy education.
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