Thursday, November 24, 2005

December 1st is World AIDS Day

Check for World AIDS Day events in your community.

If you are in Vancouver, join us for World AIDS Day
at the Gathering Place (609 Helmcken Street).
The day begins with coffee and muffins at 9:45 with
speakers all day until 5:00 pm. Evening events include
PWA Support Group Gathering and Candlelight Vigil
from 7:00-9:30 at 1107 Seymour Street in Vancouver
and a Service of Celebration at 7:00 pm at Central
Presbyterian Church, 1155 Thurlow Street, Vancouver.

Visit BC Coalition of People with Disabilities World AIDS Day
displays at seniors organizations as well as at
disability centres at many colleges and universities throughout
the province.

View a Knowledge Network Tribute to World AIDS Day
on December 1st
Their Brothers' Keepers: Orphaned by AIDS
TV premier10:00 pm December 1st, repeats December 27th
at 7:00 pm
Call Me Average -- a portrait of Vancouver artist, Joe Average
December 1st at 11:00 pm

Knowledge Network

Learn about HIV and AIDS so that you can help to educate others.
Contact the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities' AIDS &
Disability Action Program / Wellness & Disability Initiative / Health
Literacy Network at 604-875-0188 or by email at
for our free HIV prevention booklets.

Fall issue of "Literacies" journal now available

The Fall 2005 issue of Literacies journal is available at
The theme is "Literacy and Community."

Take a look at over 50 pages of terrific Canadian news and articles,
including Janet Pringle's "No Justice without Clear Language"
Pringle is a plain language writer and trainer working with and for
people with developmental disabilities.

In this article she writes:
"When I'm asked to create a plain language brochure, report or list of
instructions, for example, I usually begin by writing the first draft
alone, using language that I think will be clear. Then I work with
teams of two or three 'translators' with developmental disabilities.
They are the experts in this field and they tell me what they

And while you're at the Literacies website, check out back issues,
including the Fall 2004 issue on Health and Wellness
This issue includes an article called "Health Literacy and People with

Support Literacies by subscribing. One year is only $15.00/two years
$25.00. Details at the website.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sources of Translated Consumer Health Information

The following websites provide consumer health information in English and a variety of other languages.

BC HealthFiles offer reader-friendly health information in English and are also available in Chinese, French, Punjabi, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

The Region of Peel (ON) Public Health provides fact sheets on a range of health topics in Chinese, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

The Canadian Mental Health Association provides information on a variety of topics in:
Farsi/Dari, Hindi, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Somali, Serbo-Coration, Tamil and Urdu.

The BC Schizophrenia Society offers information in English, French, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish, and Urdu.

The Australian Multicultural Health Communication Service offers one of the most comprehensive websites of translated consumer health information. Languages include:
Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Assyrian, Bengali, Bosnian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Dari, English, Farsi/Persian, Filipino/Tagalog, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Khmer/Cambodian, Koori, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Macedonian, Maltese, Maori, Oromo, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Pushto, Russian, Samoan, Serbian, Sinhalese, Somali, Sorani, Spanish, Tamil, Tetum, Thai, Tigrigna, Tongan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

The Ohio State University Medical Center provides reader-friendly information on nearly 100 health conditions, diseases and procedures. Languages include African French, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, English, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Ukrainian.

Ethnomed Patient Education Resources also offers consumer health information in a variety of languages.

Needs of Parents with FASD in Prince George

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is among the most common developmental disabilities of our times. It is caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol in utero and is a leading cause of birth defects and mental handicaps. The available data on FASD focuses largely on the challenges faced by children affected with FASD, and the challenges of parenting children with FASD. In the thirty years since FASD was first recognized, an entire generation of individuals has reached adulthood. Despite the fact that one million Canadians over the age of 15 may have FASD, the amount of information about adolescents and adults who are affected by FASD remains a mere trickle.

UNBC graduate student Velma Abraham has been working to change this. In particular, she has been studying the perspectives of adults with FASD who go on to become parents themselves. Service providers and parents were interviewed in Prince George, BC to explore the needs of adults who face the dual challenge of parenting and living with FASD.

People with FASD have limited cognitive skills, are less likely to participate in the labour force, are more likely to be the victims of violence, and are vulnerable to cycle between prisons or institutions--or at least to live in substandard conditions. Although FASD was first diagnosed in the late 1960s, it remains difficult to accurately diagnose adults who suffer from the disorder and therefore provide access to appropriate services.

The research was initiated by the Parenting Services division of Northern Health and undertaken by Abraham for her master’s degree in Psychology, which was completed under the supervision of professor Cindy Hardy.

More information:

Monday, October 17, 2005

Education Evening Thursday, October 20th - Mood Disorders Association of BC

The MDA is hosting an Education Evening on Thursday, October 20th at Sunrise Hall - located at 1950 Windermere St. Dr. Hiram Mok, a psychiatrist at the UBC Mood Disorders Clinic, will be giving an update on depression. There will be a question and answer period followed by light refreshments.

For more information please visit the MDA's website at

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

BC's Access to Health award nominations close October 31st

The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities' Access to Health awards are given each October to mark International Health Literacy Month. Nominations must be received by 4:30 pm October 31, 2005.

Awards are given each year to individuals in:

  1. the community agency category and
  2. the healthcare professionals category.
The awards recognize outstanding work by individuals supporting access to health information and services for people with disabilities throughout British Columbia.

To nominate someone for an award:
  • you must be a person with a disability living in BC
  • contact the Health Literacy Network for a nomination form or visit Community Alerts (August 10, 2005) at the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities website:
  • complete all three parts of the nomination form
  • mail or fax your nomination form by 4:30 October 31, 2005.
Award winners are selected based on the information you provide. Explain clearly how you nominee's work has made a difference in your life. If you are unable to complete the form or have questions, call Shelley at the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (604-875-0188).

Monday, October 03, 2005

October 3 - 9 is Mental Illness Awareness Week

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. MIAW is an annual national public education campaign designed to show Canadians the reality of mental illness.

Mental illness affects more than six million—or one in five—Canadians. Mental disorders constitute 5 of the 10 leading causes of disability around the word. Many Canadians do not realize they are ill and don’t seek help because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. There are a lot of misconceptions about mental illnesses and the people who have mental illness. The goal of Mental Illness Awareness Week is to help bring mental illness out from the shadows and to prove that people with metnal illnesses can lead healthy, productive lives.

There are many events across BC celebrating Mental Illness Awareness Week. Here are some highlights:

Making Mental Health Matter, Prince George BC
7 – 9pm, October 4, 2005
A 2 hour workshop geared at “looking after your mental health”
For further information please visit

'People Say I’m Crazy’ – Film viewing and Mental Health Panel Dicussion, Penticton BC
7 – 9pm, October 4, 2005
The 1st documentary by someone with schizophrenia. John invites his audience to tour the world of “his beauitful mind” and see how the illness binds his family together as he fights to build a fulfilling life. Panel discussion to follow.
Please contact Joanne Perry at or 250-493-6327 for further information

Mental Illness Awareness Display at West Vancouver Memorial Library, West Vancouver BC
1 – 8pm, October 5, 2005
Brochures, refreshments and a short video will be on display to help increase awareness and educate the community about available resources.
For further information please visit

For more information about Mental Illness Awareness Week, an event in your area or to post your own community event please visit the Mental Illness Awareness Week’s official website at

Monday, September 26, 2005

Physical Activity Online Workshop/Teleclass Series

The Toronto-based Physical Activity Resource Centre (PARC) was launched in 2003 to give support to physical activity supporters working in public health, community health centres and recreation centres in Ontario.

HLN members may be interested in PARC's online/teleclass workshops. Participants need a computer with high-speed Internet access and a separate phone line. All workshops are free of charge and are one and a half hours in duration. To register, please visit

Upcoming Online/Teleclasses

"Physical Activity and Behaviour Change"
Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 10:00 am
This workshop is for community leaders (e.g. health professionals, educators, recreation) involved in planning and/or implementing physical activity initiatives. Learn the theories behind influencing behaviour change; to better understand, reach out to, and reflect the changing needs of adults in your programs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005, 1:00 pm
Walking is the number one physical activity of choice of Canadians. In this workshop for community leaders, you'll discuss tips and strategies for getting people in your community walking, current walking programs, and learn what others across Ontario are doing.

"Physical Activity Promotion 101"
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:00am

"Physical Activity and Behaviour Change"
Wednesday, January 11, 2006 1:00pm

Note: PARC also offers workshop materials that can be adapted to suit the needs of participants. Topics include physical activity and older adults, physical activity and various chronic illnesses, and physical activity and stress. For details, visit

New Journal of Nursing in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The International Journal of Nursing in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is a free web-based journal published by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in Massachusetts. Intended for healthcare professionals and parents, articles published in the first two issues reflect an international perspective. The third issue is to be published soon. Available at

Alternative health therapies reduce substance abuse

In July, UBC announced that research has shown that acupuncture treatment can be used to reduce substance use among addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Acupuncture was offered to residents of the DTES on a voluntary, drop-in basis five days a week. Over 2,700 treatments were given over a three-month period at two locations in the DTES. Subjects reported a reduction in overall use of substances in addition to a decrease in intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Participants who attended the treatment reported a reduction in severity of withdrawal symptoms that included shakes, stomach cramps, hallucinations and suicidal feelings. Patricia Janssen, an Assistant Professor of Health Care and Epidemiology, remarked “A reduction in symptoms can provide a window of opportunity for users to become engaged in more comprehensive and long-term approaches to addressing their addictions”

International Health Literacy Month: Access to Health Awards

The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities’ Health Literacy Network (HLN) is calling for nominations for the 3rd annual Access to Health awards. Access to Health awards are given each October to celebrate International Health Literacy Month. Each year HLN recognizes outstanding service by an individual in 1) the healthcare professional category and 2) the community agency category. Nominations must be submitted by a person with a disability living in BC by 4:30 pm October 31st. For nomination forms and guidelines to distribute to your clients or members, contact Shelley or Claire at 604-875-0188. Email

Health Literacy Network Launches Consumer Health Information Advocate Program (CHIA)

The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities’ Health Literacy Network is introducing a new program that will connect people with disabilities and health information and services in their communities. Consumer Health Information Advocates—or CHIAs—will be members of the Health Literacy Network (HLN). CHIAs will be information advocates, sometimes providing resources from BCCPD or directing people to information or healthcare resources within their community.

What does it take to be a Consumer Health Information Advocate (CHIA)?
A Consumer Health Information Advocate:
* is a person with a disability or a family member or caregiver
* is curious and willing to learn
* has a passion for sharing information, especially about health and living well with a disability
* is willing to share knowledge and experiences with staff at HLN so we can help CHIAs around the province.

What do CHIAs get?
CHIAs get:
* accessible health information for themselves and to give to others in their communities
* regular health information updates and news about other CHIAs around BC
* to be part of a new and unique network of disability consumer health information advocates
* to work with HLN to help healthcare professionals understand what you need to live well with a disability
* to learn how to get the most from your doctor/healthcare provider
* to learn about other sources of consumer health information in your community and beyond
* to help plan the future of HLN and the CHIA program.

Interested in learning more? Contact Shelley or Claire at the Health Literacy Network. Phone 604-875-0188 or call toll free and leave a message at 1-877-232-7400. You can also email

Friday, September 23, 2005

Welcome to Health Literacy Network News

The Health Literacy Network (HLN) is a program of the British Columbia Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) in Vancouver, BC. HLN is affiliated with the BCCPD's AIDS & Disability Action Program and Wellness & Disability Initiative.

HLN was launched in 2000 and adopts a population health approach. Health is determined by many factors, including:

  • Income and Social Status
  • Social Support Networks
  • Education and Literacy
  • Employment/Working Conditions
  • Social Environments
  • Physical Environments
  • Personal Health Practices and Coping Skills
  • Healthy Child Development
  • Biology and Genetic Endowment
  • Health Services
  • Gender
  • Culture
We define health literacy as the ability to find, understand, and use information to improve health and well-being. We believe that health literacy includes literacy skills as well as a many other factors such as: disability, anxiety, embarrassment about the question at hand, low self-esteem, and pain or physical discomfort.

Health Literacy Network News profiles programs, projects, research, workshops, courses, and other activities that help people with disabilities and others access health services and understand health information. Our intention is to stimulate creativity and inspiration. We hope that when you read about a unique workshop or project in one part of the province that you might consider developing a similar project in your own community. By sharing news of events, resources, research and programs, we can develop a recipe book of health literacy solutions.

To share news from your community or organization, send an email to the Health Literacy Network News at or