Two-minute Reads on Health Literacy and Planetary Health

San Antonio, Texas — Melanie Stone, director of Community Service Learning at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and co-director of Health Confianza, recently spoke with The School of Public Health at UT Health San Antonio about health literacy and planetary health.

Read the quick 2-minute Q&As below.

Melanie Stone

Q: What is health literacy?

A:  Simply put, it’s being able to find, understand and use health information to make decisions that position you for greatest success for health.

Q: Why is health literacy important to health care?

A:  As I point out to my students, what is the point of being a health care professional if your patients walk away from your encounter not knowing what to do?

Q: Why is health literacy important to public health and the health system?

A:  Community members should not be bearing this burden of health literacy.  We need to fix the underlying issues that make our health system so difficult to use.

Q: What program do you oversee and what are its goals?

A:  Health Confianza is a novel approach to health literacy, using multi-level strategies that couple technical expertise with trusted partners in the community.

Q: How does organizational health literacy help clients and patients?

A:  Organizations have a responsibility to create policies and practices that ensure their health services are able to be used as effectively as possible.

Q: What do you want public health students to know about the power of health literacy?

A:  People want to do what’s best for their and their family’s health.  Let’s do what we can to make it a level playing field and give everyone that chance.

Stone organizes an annual Community Service Learning conference. Last year, the theme was “One Planet. One Health” conference, exploring the ties between public health and the environment. 

Q: What is the difference between planetary health and global health?

A:  Planetary health is a transdisciplinary field focused on human disruptions to the planet, inclusive of global health, OneHealth, environmental science, and more.

Q: What did you find most surprising as you delved into this topic during the conference?

A:  I was surprised that the US health care sector is a leading contributor to carbon emissions globally.  We can do better.

Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest public health challenge related to planetary health?

A:  Public health must lead the way in making decisions that will affect our planet for coming generations, while ensuring equity in our mitigation efforts.

Q: What can those in the health professions do to improve our planetary health?

A:  Be mindful of the needless waste occurring every day in hospitals and clinics and be advocates for change.

Q: What message can we give to our future generations of leaders?

A:  We believe that collectively our actions will reverse the tide and open new pathways to a sustainable future. Time is ticking, but it’s not too late.





Please share!
Secured By miniOrange