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