Joanne Fernandez improves health literacy.
Senior, Biomedical Education (Sophie Davis)
My Experience Summary:
I was a 2010 Mayoral Health Literacy Fellow. The Health Literacy Fellowship allowed the students to learn about health literacy and improve our communication and teaching skills. We helped adults learn English and improve their literacy skills by becoming teachers in adult literacy classrooms. It consisted of three components: Community Fieldwork, Health Policy Seminars and Clinical Site Visits, and Research Projects. From Monday-Wednesday I taught adult low literacy and ESL classes, Thursdays I dedicated to my research projects of patient activation at the William F. Ryan Center and on Fridays were the seminars.
Why I went:
As a future physician, I think it's important to be able to communicate with patients from all walks of life and literacy levels. In order to have patients become active participants of their medical care, it's crucial to communicate effectively to ensure quality care.
What I Learned:
"Don't judge a book by it's cover." Teaching is such a rewarding experience especially when a student is able to recall and apply what you have taught them.
I remember I mentioned in one of my beginning lessons that adults should generally go to the doctor twice a year for general checkups. About a month later, one of my students went up to me and said they found a new doctor and set up an appointment. I asked the student what was wrong and he replied "Nothing, don't you remember you said to go to the doctor at least twice a year. I used to only go once a year."
Advice For Others:
Don't do things just to place it on your resume. Make sure whatever activity it is that you decide to do reflects your genuine interest. It parallels the quote: "Make your passion your paycheck." So make every experience worthwhile.