Integrated Health Literacy

Integrated Health Literacy Program (IHLP)

"The Integrated Health Literacy program provides our students with meaningful opportunities to learn and understand a healthy lifestyle and to be able to advocate for their own health. We are teaching them lifelong skills and strategies to be healthy adults.  Hopefully this will permit them to strengthen the health of our community. We also value the partnership between the school system and our community healthcare experts, Atlantic General Hospital."  
- Mr. Louis Taylor, Superintendent

Each WCPS student in grades one through eight will experience Integrated Health Literacy lessons.  These lessons are written by Worcester County teachers, with the help of medical professionals and are integrated into Reading Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies curriculum.  The lessons do not compromise the integrity of the content or the standards being addressed by the classroom teacher, but rather are tailored to address reading, math, science and/or social studies as well as naturally infusing Health Literacy standards and content into the class.  The integrated lessons can vary depending on grade level – for example having students calculate their calorie intake based upon information on a food label or the proper medication dosage depending on their weight during a math lesson. For first grade, principles may be as simple as a hand washing exercise.  This does not negate, nor diminish the effective health instruction taught by our health and physical education teachers, but rather supplements and enhances the content knowledge that they already teach, giving our students even more health information. 

What is Health Literacy? 

Health literacy is the ability to obtain, process, understand, utilize and apply basic health information, allowing an individual to make appropriate health decisions.  According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 12 percent of adults have proficient health literacy. The study found that individuals with a health literacy level below basic were much more likely to report their health as being poor and less likely to use preventive health services than their peers.  Atlantic General Hospital has developed a partnership with the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy at the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health, who drafted a set of health literacy standards for the Worcester County K-8 public school curriculum. No approved health literacy standards for public schools currently exist in the U.S.

Currently, we are administering an Integrated Health Literacy Senior Exit Survey. We hope to show that seniors who have had Integrated Health Literacy lessons will graduate as more health literate members of our community.  Please click here to see the Health Literacy for All – A Parents’ Guide to Integrated Health Literacy for details about the program. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Tamara Mills, Coordinator of Health Instruction, WCPS. 

To find out how Worcester County Public Schools is doing in their health and wellness improvement process, please click here.

Looking for more information about the Integrated Health Literacy partnership with Atlantic General Hospital?
Click here for more!