label on the prescription bottle reads, "Take one tablet by mouth
twice daily with meals until finished. Do not drink alcoholic
beverages when taking this medication." These simple
instructions may be clear to many of us, but to someone with limited
English language skills, this vital health information may be lost.
More importantly, if the label is not clearly understood, a serious
adverse reaction could occur. Poor health literacy may lead a person
to take medicine incorrectly. It may also lead to delayed or
inappropriate health care, missed appointments, and a poor understanding
of health information.
Expecting the Best is a health and wellness curriculum for
English as a Second Language (ESL) students designed to improve health literacy,
functional literacy, and enhance English communication skills. Lessons
focus on health care and nutrition. The
project addresses common literacy concerns that adult educators and health
care professionals have expressed and builds upon the strengths of these
two disciplines. Expecting the Best is a collaborative effort between
the Coastal Area Health Education Center, the
North Carolina March of
Dimes, the North Carolina
Community College System, the Schools of Public Health and Medicine at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill and the Division of Public Health in the North
Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.