One task of adulthood is caring for one s health, and, for many, caring for the health of children, a spouse or significant other, or aging parents. Health changes over time in response to wellness activities, aging, or disease. Adult learning is central to people s abilities to cope with changing physical abilities, medical conditions, and the changes in lifestyle and social conditions resulting from them. Chapters in this volume address:
How adults learn while coping with chronic illness
Curriculum design for a program for parents with special needs children
Health education within adult literacy, adult basic education, and English as a Second Language classes
Ways to address the needs of adults who have low levels of health literacy
Means of increasing cultural competence among health workers to meet the needs of diverse patients
Community education performed by trained indigenous community health advisors
Approaches to help adults evaluate and learn from online information
The influence of globalism on health
Ways that health education can be a social justice issue
This diversity of arenas prompts new roles for adult educators. They provide health education alone or in collaboration with health professionals, and they educate health professionals about adults′ learning needs, especially individuals who have low levels of health literacy and are from diverse cultural backgrounds. They create meaningful curricula, assist individuals to interpret health information, and influence the design of online information. Other important contributions include training local individuals to serve as community health advisors, helping adults cope with health challenges rooted in increasing globalism, and working for social justice. Finally, adult educators can work with communities to create health–related public policy that contributes to improved quality of life.
EDITOR S NOTES 1Lilian H. Hill
1. The Role of Adult Learning in Coping with Chronic Illness 7Lisa M. BaumgartnerBeginning with one patient s story, this chapter discusses the research regarding the role of adult learning in coping with chronic illness and provides recommendations for health care workers.
2. Curriculum Design in Health Education 17Simone C. O. Conceição, Holly Colby, Anne Juhlmann, Sarah JohaningsmeirA collaborative curriculum design model was used to develop a program for parents of special needs children. The planning process involved four institutions and engaged the work of varied health professionals and one adult educator knowledgeable of curriculum and program design.
3. Health Literacy Education Within Adult Literacy Instruction 29Sandra J. DiehlThe classroom can be a valuable setting for health education for those with limited proficiency in English who are engaged in literacy, family literacy, adult basic education, and English as a Second Language classes. Curriculum, teacher training, and infrastructure are discussed, and several case study examples are provided.
4. Health Literacy: An Opportunity to Improve Individual, Community, and Global Health 43Andrew PleasantThis chapter describes the evolving meanings of the term health literacy and describes the results of one detailed program example using health literacy as a theory of behavior change that produced positive health gains.
5. Adult Educators and Cultural Competence Within Health Care Systems: Change at the Individual and Structural Levels 55Linda Ziegahn, Hendry TonIncreasing diversity has challenged health institutions to provide care that is responsive to patients with varied health beliefs and practices based in culture. This chapter defines cultural competence, and describes the efforts of the staff of a university hospital to learn about and implement different practices that would improve care for diverse patients.
6. Adult Learning, Community Education, and Public Health: Making the Connection Through Community Health Advisors 65Susan Mayfield–JohnsonLocal community health workers are able to provide training and linkages to available health services and, because they are accessible and trusted, can serve as change agents in the lives of their communities.
7. The Role of the Adult Educator in Helping Learners Access and Select Quality Health Information on the Internet 79Melissa Wright, Adelia GrabowskyWhen people turn to the Internet to learn about health conditions and issues, many are unable to understand the information they obtain. This chapter documents the gap between what is available online and many learners reading abilities, reviews criteria for evaluating Web–based information as well as good sources of information, and examines what adult educators can do to assist learners with locating, evaluating, and using Web–based information.
8. Globalism and Health 89Michael L. RowlandOur health connects us with others across the globe through international travel and results in rapid transmission of disease, importation of products, migration of health professionals, global climate change, and increasing
inequities prompted by globalism. Adult educators need to become more engaged in research regarding communicating health information in accessible ways, health promotion, and health policy.
9. Health Education as an Arena for Adult Educators Engagement in Social Justice 99Lilian H. HillPatients are increasingly being asked to take more responsibility for self–care in a complex health care system, and this can be a challenging prospect for even the most educated. Adult educators need to be involved in health education, not only because of the skills and knowledge our training enables us to contribute, but because it is an issue of social justice.