October 20th - Lunch - Special Interest Group: Building a Culture of Health Literacy During COVID-19
Low health literacy can affect everyone and techniques used to improve the content and delivery of health communication should be universal. Individual health literacy is also contextual and situational – many of us, even highly-skilled readers, are struggling with the barrage of information, misinformation, and conflicting information about COVID-19. Generally, however, low health literacy is highly correlated with lower levels of educational attainment, being a minority, limited English proficiency, having low reading skills and other measures of lower socio-economic status. Research tells us that individuals with lower health literacy also tend to have lower digital skills and less access to the internet, which is incredibly problematic when so much COVID-19 information is disseminated online. Individuals who tend to have low health literacy are struggling with caring for themselves and their families during this crisis because they cannot access, understand, or use COVID-19 health information.
Director, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.
Rene Esler has more than 25 years of U.S. and international experience working for and with the private sector, nonprofits, and state and federal government agencies. Her work mostly focuses on program and partnership development, health communication, health literacy, and health service accessibility, particularly for Federally Qualified Health Centers and Title X service providers. Rene directs JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.'s Atlanta office. Prior to joining JSI, Rene provided technical assistance to faith-based organizations, managed scientific peer review projects, and developed strategic and communication plans for global aid organizations. Rene spent more than 10 years overseas, where she worked for the private and public sectors, including two years with the U.S. Agency for International Development as a social protection advisor. She has an MBA from the University of North Carolina/Greensboro, and an MEd from University College, Cork, Ireland. She is also an avid aerialist and owner of Challenge Aerial in Atlanta, GA.
Iris Feinberg, MD
Georgia State University
Dr. Iris Feinberg is the Associate Director of the Adult Literacy Research Center at Georgia State University (GSU) and an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Learning Sciences in the College of Education and Human Development at GSU. Her research interests are how literacy impacts health decisions/health outcomes, and her research focuses on both individual and provider-level health literacy and communication skills. Dr. Feinberg is a co-investigator on a 5-year CDC-funded Research Prevention Center, providing expertise in health literacy, translation, and dissemination for a low literacy multi-ethnic refugee population; several COVID-19 projects have been completed that create culturally and linguistically appropriate health education materials that use evidence-based health literacy techniques.
Brandi Hacket, LMSW, C-ASWCM
Brandi Hackett, LMSW, C-ASWCM attained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Shorter College and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia. Since graduating in 2004, Brandi has worked in a variety of settings primarily with older adults. Her clients to date have ranged in age from their late 30s to over 105 years old! She will begin her new role with the Lewy Body Dementia Association as Manager of Support Services in late Sept 2020. She is professionally published for her article on “Compassion Fatigue” in the Journal for Certified Senior Advisors – and has also been featured in local publications and radio broadcasts. She also has written and presented multiple continuing education classes for Social Workers, Discharge Planners, Nursing Home Administrators, and Music Therapists. Brandi currently resides in Canton, Georgia with her family.
Michelle Hutchinson, DMD, MPH, CPH
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Prior to her current role as the health literacy lead in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office of Communication Science, Michelle was a health communication specialist in CDC’s Office of the Chief of Staff and the agency’s Center for Global Health. She has worked with subject matter experts, researchers, policy analysts, and leadership across the agency to make their material resonate with various audiences including members of Congress, public health partners, the media, and the public. Before coming to CDC, she ran her own communications and marketing company for 12 years, serving clients in a variety of industries, including those in public health, science, and medicine. Michelle began her career journey as a dentist and later became an educator. Throughout all her careers, she has put an emphasis on providing information that patients, students, clients, and clients’ clients can find, understand, and use.
She received her doctoral degree in dentistry from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, her master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, her bachelor’s degree from Clark University, and her teaching certification from Georgia State University. She enjoys doing Zumba and playing word games but not at the same time. ????
Mary Helen O'Connor, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Community Engagement at Perimeter College
Mary Helen O’Connor, Ph.D., serves as the director of the Center for Community Engagement at Perimeter College. In this role, she is responsible for fostering outreach, engagement, and research collaborations between university faculty, staff, and students in response to the critical needs of the community. Her teaching and research in the field of migration studies, education, and rhetoric and composition explores refugee education, agency and identity. For more than a decade, Dr. O’Connor has been a volunteer and advocate for refugees and immigrants in Clarkston, Ga., one of the largest resettlement communities in the United States. She presents and lectures on migrant students, refugee and immigrant issues, and community advocacy. Dr. O’Connor is the recipient of two prestigious university awards: a George M. Sparks Award and the Carl V. Patton President’s Award for Community Service and Social Action in the Outstanding Faculty Award category. She is the first in university history to receive both honors in the same year. Dr. O’Connor was named a “Daily Point of Light” by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service established by President George H.W. Bush during his presidency. The award recognizes extraordinary volunteers who are donating their time and talent to better their communities.