Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 597–602 | Cite as

Applying Organizational Health Literacy to Maternal and Child Health

  • Cheryl A. VamosEmail author
  • Erika L. Thompson
  • Stacey B. Griner
  • Langdon G. Liggett
  • Ellen M. Daley
From the Field


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.


Organizational health literacy Teaching activity Maternal and child health Graduate education 



This project was funded by a 2016 Innovative Teaching Award from the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheryl A. Vamos
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Erika L. Thompson
    • 3
  • Stacey B. Griner
    • 1
  • Langdon G. Liggett
    • 1
  • Ellen M. Daley
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.The Chiles Center, College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Behavior and Health SystemsSchool of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science CenterFort WorthUSA

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