Health Literacy, Health Disparities, Cultural Competence Course

Through the Office of Health Literacy, we offered a course on health literacy, health disparities, and cultural competence. The purpose of the introductory educational sessions provided the opportunity to 1) learn about issues surrounding health disparities and health equity among socioeconomically diverse communities; 2) introduce health literacy as a means of intervention to improve patient outcomes, and 3) promote strategy and skill building in the area of cultural competence.  These sessions were designed for those who have not had previous training or exposure to these topics. This course was taught by Professor Paula Allen-Meares along with guest co-lecturers. The class was offered in an interactive format, culminating in a skill building workshop. This interdisciplinary seminar was free of cost and open to all graduate and professional students, clinicians, and faculty in the health science colleges and professions at UIC as well as external institutions.

The content that was offered in this course has been incorporated into the current curricula offered to the medical students at UIC. We are also using the content to train research assistants who are being asked to work on an upcoming grant.

Doctors in the Community Series

With the sponsorship of the Chicago Community Trust, one of the initiatives of our office is to go into communities, particularly those who are undeserved, to discuss health topics that affect the population. The Office of Health Literacy sends representative doctors from UIC and UI Health to these areas; the doctors give interactive talks with the members of the community to teach about health concerns like diabetes and cancer, and answer questions that may exist about health and navigating the complicated health care system.

10/24/17 6:30 PM St. Pius Church Dr. Olga Garcia-Bedoya and Dr. Claudia Lora Cardiovascular Disease
10/28/17 8:00  AM Rainbow Push Headquarters Dr. Alana Biggers Breast Cancer
3/8/18 5:00 PM Puerto Rican Cultural Center Dr. Rebecca Singer Women’s Health and Domestic Violence
4/13/18 5:30 PM Lincoln Park Community Shelter Dr. Alana Biggers Cardiovascular Disease
9/22/18 11:00 PM Loretto Hospital Dr. Alana Biggers Breast Cancer
8/15/19 6:00 PM Resurrection Project Dr. Maria Laura Casalegno Prostate and colorectal cancer prevention

Bridges to Baccalaureate Program

Well-articulated policies and coordinated plans can help two-year colleges play an important role in increasing the proportion of underrepresented students who successfully complete biomedical science research focused degrees and go on to successful research careers in their chosen fields. The Biomedical Bridges to Baccalaureate program leveraged existing partnerships, strategies and resources between the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Malcolm X College to improve the transfer pipeline and baccalaureate degree completion of underrepresented students in biomedical research focused science careers represented in the College of Medicine, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math and Neuroscience) and, when there are appropriate transdisciplinary research opportunities, the College of Nursing and the School of Public Health. While Malcolm X College was the primary community college partner for this program, students from other City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) schools could also be enrolled in the Bridges program. The program also enhanced collaborations and professional development opportunities between UIC, Malcolm X College, and other CCC college faculty.

The UIC Bridges to the Baccalaureate program was a NIH funded initiative (R-25) to recruit underrepresented students from the City Colleges of Chicago and enhance their basic research skills. The goals of the program were to: 1) produce behavioral and biomedical scientists in nursing, public health, psychology, chemistry, biology, and physics who will provide healthcare leadership within the community, and 2) mentor faculty in the community colleges and enhance their expertise as educators in their fields.

Students in the City Colleges who were in programs that prepare them to transfer to a behavioral or biomedical major at UIC were invited to apply for the program.  Eighteen students were selected for a one-year enrichment program.  Students participated in a two week workshop focused on scientific inquiry and the research process. Students then worked with their faculty mentor on research activities for the remaining 6 weeks in the summer. Students continued to work 10 hours a week with their mentor through the fall and spring semesters. Monthly seminars were held to continue to develop their academic skills, professional behaviors and interest in careers focused on health science research.

We plan to apply once again for the grant that will allow us to offer this opportunity to a new group of student scholars.

Radio Show

Did you know that the Office of Health Literacy has its own bi-weekly radio show which airs on the UIC Radio station? The Dr. Paula Show is streamed online at every other Tuesday at 11:00am. These 15-minute interviews with leading researchers at UIC and elswhere touch upon a variety of topics in the realm of health literacy and health disparities. See the schedule below for upcoming air dates and guests!