Jun 15 2015 Posted: 14:29 IST

NUI Galway will hold the 19th annual Health Promotion Research Centre Summer Conference on Thursday, 18 June in Áras Moyola. Plenary lectures, workshops, oral and poster presentations will explore the importance of health literacy and how it can be enhanced as a priority area for health promotion.

The ‘Healthy Ireland’ Framework identifies health literacy as a priority action to empower people and communities for improved health and wellbeing. Health literacy is linked to literacy and is about people’s knowledge and ability to access, understand, assess and apply health information in order to take decisions in everyday life to improve their health.

The conference will bring together policy, research and practice perspectives on how health literacy can be strengthened, including the implementation of interventions across sectors that will promote the health of the citizens of Ireland.

Dr Rima Rudd, Harvard School of Public Health, will deliver a lecture on new developments in health literacy and policy implications. Dr Rudd said: “Health literacy research challenges us to consider how we can make health information more accessible and health services easier to navigate.”

Dr Geraldine Doyle, UCD School of Business in UCD will focus on health literacy research in Ireland and internationally. Dr Doyle has been involved in large European surveys and studies on health literacy and said: “Having generated first time data on the measurement of health literacy, it is now important that national and EU monitoring of such health literacy measurement continues over time. Strengthening health literacy, at both individual and health system levels, offers a simple solution to the cost of health care provision and for the sustainability of health care systems.”

During the conference lectures will be also be delivered by: Dr Graham Kramer, GP and National Clinical Lead in Scotland for self-management and health literacy, who will describe the health literacy policy in Scotland; Inez Bailey, Director of the National Adult Literacy Agency, who will deliver a lecture on the evolution of health literacy policy in Ireland and the challenge of implementation; and Dr Jo Protheroe, General Practice, University of Keele, England, who will describe the process of moving from research to practice, using examples from Stoke Public Health.

Oral and poster presentations and skills based workshops will also feature during the day, giving every delegate a chance to network and meet with the speakers and colleagues.

Dr Jane Sixsmith, Director of NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre and Chair of the Annual Conference 2015, said: “The conference is a key event in the Health Promotion calendar in Ireland and it provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the promotion of health towards a Healthy Ireland for everyone. The conference is relevant to practitioners, researchers and policy makers.”

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