Applying Organizational Health Literacy to Maternal and Child Health

Cheryl A. Vamos, Erika L. Thompson, Stacey B. Griner, Langdon G. Liggett, Ellen M. Daley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose Describe the development of an innovative teaching activity that applies organizational health literacy to maternal and child health (MCH). Description Health literacy is a strong predictor of health behavior and outcomes. While the study of health literacy has traditionally been confined to skills and capacities of individuals, the significant role of the social and physical environmental contexts in facilitating or hindering one’s ability to obtain, understand, and make informed decision about their health has been recognized. MCH organizations play a critical role in influencing health literacy across system levels. This teaching activity aims to equip students with knowledge and skills needed to foster organizational health literacy. Assessment The teaching activity is assembled within a toolkit which includes the following: (1) instructor lesson plan; (2) interactive PowerPoint presentation with instructor notes; (3) field assignment description; (4) health literacy attribute assessment worksheets; and (5) grading rubric. The teaching tool was pilot tested by a student research team member to assess the educational value and assignment logistics, resulting in minor edits (i.e., addition of interviewer probes, and option of a group project-format to permit triangulation of multiple organizational interviews). Conclusion The field of MCH is expanding in complexity, and the demands of health systems on women, children, and families must be mediated by conscious efforts within organizations. Through teaching the importance and function of organizational health literacy to students in MCH, educators can prepare an emerging workforce to improve health literacy, and ultimately the quality of healthcare for women, children, and families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-602
Number of pages6
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 May 2019


  • Graduate education
  • Maternal and child health
  • Organizational health literacy
  • Teaching activity


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