New Health Literacy Campaign Targets Women

Released: 10/6/2005 12:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR)
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Newswise — The Society for Women's Health Research is partnering with Verizon in a new health literacy public education campaign to educate women about simple steps they can take to improve their health. Focused on exercise, nutrition and smoking cessation, "Her Healthy Life" is the title of the campaign, announced Thursday, Oct. 6, at the National Press Club during National Health Literacy Month. The campaign's messages are designed for women who may have low health literacy skills, which refers to the ability to understand and use health information.

"We are excited about this new campaign that encourages and empowers women to take charge of their health," said Phyllis Greenberger, president and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of all women through research, education and advocacy. "Health literacy problems affect millions of Americans from all backgrounds. Women make the majority of health care decisions for their family, so it is important to give them information they can use to make good choices.

"Through the campaign, we are providing simple tips for improving health that women can initiate on their own without visiting doctors or undergoing tests, which are often too expensive and inaccessible for poor and underinsured Americans."

Older people, non-whites, immigrants, and those with low incomes are disproportionately more likely to have trouble reading and understanding health-related information, according to the Center for Health Care Strategies. Those with poor health literacy are more likely to have a chronic disease and less likely to get the health care they need.

The campaign's messages will be delivered to the public in both English and Spanish through radio public service announcements (PSAs), print brochures and a new Web site, www.herhealthylife.org. Actress Fran Drescher, star of the new television series "Living With Fran," recorded two English PSAs for the campaign, and Dr. Isabel Gomez-Bassols, host of the national self-help radio program "Doctora Isabel," recorded three messages in Spanish.

The PSAs will air nationally in October on the "Dr. Laura" radio show in English and on the "Doctora Isabel" show in Spanish. These programs were selected because of their large female audiences.

The print brochures will be distributed by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), a Louisville, Ky., based organization dedicated to helping parents and children achieve their greatest potential together through quality literacy programs. The brochure, available in English and Spanish, features basic information on the benefits of exercise, a healthy diet and not smoking, and simple tips for healthier living. NCFL will distribute the brochures at its national conference and will also make them available to more than 6,000 partner literacy programs nationwide.

The Web site features additional resources for help, including contact information for national organizations that focus in depth on the campaign's topics.

The campaign is made possible through a $145,000 grant from Verizon to the Society for Women's Health Research. This is the largest and first national health literacy project undertaken by the Society.

"At Verizon, we are committed to making information available and in a way that is understandable to everyone, thereby improving the ability of people to act," said Kathryn Brown, senior vice president of public policy development and corporate responsibility. "We're proud to support the effort to educate women about simple steps they can take to improve their lives."

One of the world's leading communications companies, Verizon is committed to championing literacy. The Verizon Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications. In 2004, the foundation awarded more than 26,000 grants totaling over $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving literacy, computer and technology skills, and identifying domestic violence solutions. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer 528,000 hours in their communities and provided $37.6 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations

In addition to core campaign materials for "Her Healthy Life," Verizon's October residential phone service bills feature health literacy information, encouraging individuals to learn more.


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