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Health Literacy Program

May 2, 2024

Breaking Down Barriers for Youth-in-Care

In collaboration with our on-site Pediatrician, Dr. Tania Wong, her residents, and the Bridges for Learning Team, we have created a health literacy program for youth-in-care. This program was soft-launched in the spring and will be officially implemented in the fall of 2024 as a full-year high school course for BFL students. This program will integrate experiential learning opportunities with online learning modules to improve health literacy and access to health care for our youth.

The intervention, funded by the Canadian Pediatric Society, involved the creation of a Grade 11/12 course that can be aligned with the Health and Human Services 12 criteria and approved by the government of Nova Scotia. The course aims to address barriers to care by enhancing health literacy, fostering comfort in seeking medical help, and promoting timely access to healthcare, customized for the unique circumstance of youth-in-care. 


The educational activities within the course encompass documentation of personal and family histories, exploration of career options in healthcare, didactic learning opportunities, and a visit to the IWK Health Centre. During the hospital visit, students will engage in a facility tour, meet healthcare professionals, participate in discussion-based learning, and experience hands-on simulation scenarios. Support will be provided both in class and on-site at the IWK by Teachers, Staff Physicians, and Resident Doctors.


The first stage of this project included soft launches of experiential and traditional learning opportunities this spring.  The students visited to the IWK for a comprehensive tour, a hands-on experience in the Hematology lab (including the opportunity to examine their own blood), and a Narcan stimulation activity.  The students enjoyed an inside look at the Emergency Room, a casting activity where they had the opportunity to make their own cast for themselves or others, CPR training, a look inside the CELLFie Lab and Naloxone and Epi-Pen education. 

We are very excited about this new program and the students who were part of the first stage are excited to continue to take part as well.  Thank you to Dr. Wong, The IWK Health Centre and the Canadian Pediatric Society for making this incredibly meaningful program possible.  We can’t for the full program to start in September.

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