The US does not have universal healthcare, which means that the only way for a citizen to receive medical help is to have health insurance. However, for many people living in America, this is a luxury they cannot afford. For those families and, in particular, their children, it would be helpful and informative to have the opportunity to take a course that would explain some basics of health. This reality is the reason behind the nurses of the community center creating a program aimed at sharing medical knowledge with children living in low-income areas. The purpose of this paper is to describe the program and its steps of familiarizing children from poor families with health topics.
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The Reason Behind the Health Literacy Program
Universal healthcare is a system implemented in the majority of counties in the world that provides its citizens with free access to medical procedures. The US is not considered one of those nations, forcing its residents to resort to health insurance for medical procedures and checkups. The current percentage of uninsured citizens is around 9%, which constitutes a total of 2 million people (Galewitz, 2019). The individuals who do not have medical insurance are typically from low-income families who found it to be too expensive and whose employers did not provide it for them. This means that 2 million people in the US do not have access to basic medical procedures and are often forced to ignore their medical problems so as not to pay extortionate rates even for a routine checkup. At the same time, the individuals living in low-income communities are “at increased risk for mental illness, chronic disease, higher mortality, and lower life expectancy” (Healthy People, 2020, para. 4). This means that the most vulnerable citizens are not able to get the help they need and deserve.
With this in mind, the nurses at the community center decided it would be helpful to design a program aimed at improving the knowledge adolescents from low-income families have about health. The course is aimed at children ages 3-7 years old, 9-12 years old, and 14 to 18 years old with the material tailored to what they can realistically understand and remember about the topic. This course could help people who were unable to afford medical insurance to be better equipped to deal with any problems of this type they may encounter in the future. Additionally, a well-planned interactive program could help these children become interested in studying as their background often sets barriers in schools and stifles their educational potential.
The Initial Steps of Creating the Health Literacy Program
It is essential to make the health literacy program accessible to the children interested in participating in it. To do that, it is important to choose a location that would be easy to get to for the kids, even if their parents are working and cannot drive them there. To achieve that, the chosen place has to either be within walking or biking distance of the children’s homes, otherwise it will be necessary to provide transportation to and from the location. Additionally, one has to consider the course’s schedule as it should be informative but cannot take up too much time as students have other activities, both relating to the school and their hobbies.
Another important step is to consider the program’s design as it should touch upon topics and skills that would be helpful in the children’s lives. To achieve that, it would be beneficial to outline what health-related problems would be encountered by people in general, as well as individuals living in low-income families, at a higher rate. Additionally, it would be valuable to outline their symptoms so that teenagers know what to the lookout for. These issues should become the foundation for the topics that will be discussed within the program as they will be the most effective at solving the dilemma that stems from not having universal healthcare.
The Role of the Organizers of the Program
The course’s primary goal is to provide children from low-income families with information. Therefore, the program’s organizers, including myself, should take on the role of teachers. However, educators typically take on many different responsibilities, not all of which are beneficial for the task at hand. In particular, the course should not seem like a class where children are graded as that will put additional pressure on them. Instead, it would be perfect for me to act as a prompter who “encourages their students to participate and make suggestions about how students may proceed in an activity,” particularly at the beginning (Eton Institute, 2019, para. 10). By the end of the program, I will take the role of a participant with the children initiating and leading the discussion.
Additional Resources for the program
The course will be most effective if it is interactive. Therefore, the organizers need to provide additional materials that could help the program achieve its goal. These resources should include textbooks, educational posters, and CPR training mannequins. Additionally, it would be helpful to hire simulation patients on whom the student can practice their newfound knowledge as that can prove to be both educational and fun.
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The victims of the current healthcare system in the US are the people living in low-income neighborhoods who are often forced to ignore their medical problems as any visit to the hospital will be expensive. To improve this reality, a health literacy program for the children living in these communities is proposed. This course is meant to be educational and interactive with the organizers encouraging the kids to be active participants in the discussion.
Eton Institute. (2019). The 7 roles of a teacher in the 21st century. Web.
Galewitz, P. (2019). Breaking a 10-year streak, the number of uninsured Americans rises. Kaiser Health News.
Healthy People. (2020). Poverty.