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During this spring 2019 semester, select students from the collaboration between Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) and Merrimack Valley Area Health Education Center (AHEC ) Scholars Program for Merrimack College Health Science Students, implemented a health literacy and basic health education program, developed by Literacy for Life, called Health Education And Literacy (HEAL). HEAL is an eight-week health literacy curriculum designed to teach adult basic health education on topics such as nutrition, medication, emergency recognition and healthcare access to English-as-a-Second-Language Learners. These AHEC Scholars, along with Dr. Traci Alberti, Merrimack College Health Science Librarian, Catherine Wong, and Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Cultural & Language Specialist, Ana Ortiz, traveled to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, to become certified instructors of the HEAL Program.
This HEAL pilot was delivered out of Lawrence’s Notre Dame Education Center (NDEC-L). NDEC-Lawrence is a nonprofit community-based organization with the primary goal of educating low-income, undereducated adults and empowering them to improve their lives and those of their families. On the last day of the HEAL class, one student said, “These teachers were wonderful – I learned so much from them. I now feel like I can better manage my health from what they taught us.”
“It is a fantastic opportunity for the college and our students to be able to interact and build collaborative community partnerships,” said Traci Alberti, Family Nurse Practitioner and Assistant Professor at Merrimack College, who oversaw the project. “We can explore some of the health care and health education needs of the Lawrence community and simultaneously provide students with the exposure and hands-on experience to build new skill sets they are going to be able to carry forward to their careers.”
“My heart is full of gratitude,” said Health and Wellness graduate student and Research Fellow, Ashley Hall, of her experience leading, developing and implementing the AHEC Scholars Program. “This experience has provided me with supplemental hands-on learning that added to the classroom experience. I’ve been able to apply what I learned in the classroom to real-life situations in an underserved community, a population-in-need.”
The AHEC Scholars for Merrimack College Health Science Students Pilot Project was funded in part by a Merrimack College Provost Innovation Fund Community Engagement Grant awarded to Dr. Traci Alberti. Ashley Hall’s Fellowship opportunity was funded by the Jack Twomey Fellowship, sponsored by Cummings Foundation.
Merrimack College Pilots HEAL Program at Notre Dame Education Center – Lawrence
Courtesy of Traci Alberti, PhD, FNP-BC
Ass’t Professor Merrimack College - School of Health Sciences
Instructors: Various (Morning, Afternoon or Evening Classes)
Cost/Fee: Free to - $50 (See Flyer above)
Requirements: Registration and English test to determine appropriate class level
NDEC Lawrence's English language program includes both instructor-led
and self-guided, computer-based classes. For adults seeking to enroll in ESOL classes, the emphasis is on listening, speaking, reading and writing English. Topics covered include: navigating community systems, literacy in health, nutrition, finances, civics and workplace behaviors.
LEVELS: Basic, English 1, English 2, English 3 , English 4,
ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
Program >Program Information > ESOL
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