“Well Me” — Improving Health Literacy in Schools

Dr Ffion Williams, GP, Programme Lead C21 north
Ffion Jones, Fourth Year Medical Student, Cardiff University

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

This Bevan Exemplar Project introduced a programme, designed and delivered by third year Cardiff Medical Students on a placement in primary care in North Wales, to improve children’s health literacy and resilience.

Background

Health literacy is a key determinant of health. Poor health literacy is associated with increased hospital admissions and readmissions, less participation in preventative activities, higher prevalence of health risk factors, poorer self-management of chronic conditions and poorer disease outcomes.

The close relationship between health literacy and health outcomes demonstrates the importance of health literacy promotion. Improving health literacy at an early age is crucial to childhood health and development and aligns with the aims of “A Healthier Wales: Long term plan for health and social care.”

Aims

Challenges

Outcomes

The ‘Well Me” teaching programme was delivered to two schools as pilot sites. In total the ‘minor illness’ session was delivered to 68 Year 6 pupils and the ‘major illness’ session to 59 Year 6 pupils.

The staff and pupils gave excellent feedback, and the schools indicated they would like further engagement in the future.

Some students evaluated their own health literacy lower after the sessions. One key driving factor of this project was the daily experience of Dr Williams as a GP, consulting with parents and children who had low levels of health literacy. The team attributed this finding to the Duning-Kruger effect; people’s ability to over, or under, self-evaluate.

Next steps

Future steps for the project include:

“Add element of encouraging children to consider medicine as a career at an early age.”

Being “a Bevan Exemplar has given me the opportunity to lead on a project that has reminded me of all the reasons I chose to study medicine and become a GP, with an opportunity to improve health outside of the clinical consultation. Working with enthusiastic, altruistic students has been a joyful experience.”

Dr Ffion Williams