The Importance of Health Literacy Programs at the High School Level
CitationGuy, Emilia R. 2019. The Importance of Health Literacy Programs at the High School Level. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThe purpose of this research was to investigate the effectiveness of a unique health literacy program titled MEDscience and to gain an understanding of the current state of health education and student health literacy in graduating high school students. The prevalence of health conditions are high and health education programs are inconsistent, causing many young adults to enter our society lacking knowledge and skills surrounding disease prevention, healthy habits, how to properly manage a health condition, and how to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals. Education and development of essential knowledge and skills are necessary to combat this poor health literacy, but it must be done in a way that allows students to practice these skills and utilize the knowledge, making the education more realistic and applicable. This study measured the effectiveness of the MEDscience program, developed by Harvard Medical School (HMS) on improving health literacy (AIM I), as well as evaluate the current state of health education, both implicit and explicitly (AIM II), and finally the relationship between participation and the improvement of health literacy in students taking the program (AIM III). Students were assessed in groups; non-MEDscience, pre-MEDscience, and post-MEDscience, in addition to teacher faculty, with the MEDscience Test for Content, MEDscience, The Experience formative assessment, a participation assessment, and a faculty survey, depending on the cohort. The MEDscience program was found to be an effective tool to raise the level of health literacy in students and there was a positive correlation between student participation and post-MEDscience test scores, evidence that active participation and engagement in the experiential sessions at HMS are a positive indicator for an increase in health literacy. This study suggests the current health education curriculum should include more aspects of human systems in a healthy and diseased state to better improve our young adult population’s level of health literacy. In addition, the data supports an effective method of teaching these topics are embedded in MEDscience, a program centered on experiential learning, problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004189