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Press Release: DeSales University Offers Study Abroad Opportunity at Historic Oxford University
Date: 2/10/2008

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DeSales University Offers Study Abroad Opportunity at Historic Oxford University

"This is a new course that was developed in response to a call by the Institute of Medicine to enhance patient-centered care, to mitigate errors, and to support patients in making informed health decisions," said Dr. Carol Mest, director of graduate nursing programs at DeSales. "There are health literacy concerns worldwide. The flexibility of the course lends itself to local or foreign application."

The course will include 30 hours of classroom instruction at St. Edmund's Hall and 15 hours of challenging international experiential learning. Mest will serve as the faculty member for the course.

"The goal of the course is to have students not only acquire an appreciation of the scope of the health literacy problem, but also be able to directly apply this new knowledge in the field," said Mest.

Health Literacy is the ability of an individual to access, understand and use health-related information and services to make appropriate health decisions. A person's level of health literacy directly affects the quality of care they receive, as well as the outcomes of that care.

The study abroad course at Oxford will address contemporary health care issues as they relate to health literacy. It will be of value to all students personally as well as those planning careers in health care occupations, such as nursing, physician assistant, social sciences, health care management, and to future educators and information specialists.

Dr. Margaret Slusser, chairperson of the department of nursing and health at DeSales University, has taught in the Oxford Study Abroad program on several occasions, and can address the value of such an opportunity first-hand.

The experience of studying at Oxford is incredible for students," said Slusser. "Students have the opportunity to learn while they experience a foreign culture in a country steeped with history. The program is designed to allow students ample free time to travel throughout the United Kingdom and many students choose to visit France or Ireland as well."

According to Mest, no single factor can create or predict health literacy, but rather a complex interplay of communication skills, culture, and education form the determining factors for low health literacy risk. These characteristics contribute to an individual's ability to read, understand, process and act on health information.

"This may mean that a patient is unable to take a prescription medication properly because of the inability to read, understand and process the label instructions," said Mest. "This form of illiteracy can result in negative health outcomes, increased cost of care, higher utilization of emergency services, and increased mortality."

During their course of study at Oxford, students will have an opportunity to analyze the impact of health literacy in a global context, using the British system as a framework. Students will be assigned challenging course-related field activities in which they will implement a literacy project in a community setting.

For more information, please contact Dr. Carol Mest, director of graduate nursing programs, at ext. 1394.

Press Release: DeSales University Offers Study Abroad Opportunity at Historic Oxford University | Posted on: 2/10/2008

For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive D
irector of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034

610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu

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