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Letter to the Editors and Comings & Goings Sept. 2004

I Introduction

This week we bring you the sad news of the death of a health promotion colleague and friend, Jim Shea, who died on Monday, August 30 at the age of 43.

This week also includes a letter responding to OHPE Bulletin 376.1 on Health Literacy and Health Promotion, and more information about a couple of resources in that article, (

We also have our usual round up of comings and goings in health promotion.

Send us your news or comments! Read our submission guidelines at and write to

We look forward to hearing from you.

II Letter to the Editor re: Health Literacy & Health Promotion

I read this article with much interest--. My initial thoughts are that literacy per se--- is a major health promotion issue and that it is indeed basic to social justice and a key determinant of health. I would hope that health promoters throughout the world already have literacy in their sights and have been working on this issue for some time. I feel that maybe the cart is before the horse. Putting aside the issue of understanding health terms, systems, technologies etc I would hope that the vast expertise and mana of health professionals would be encouraging funding, access etc of basic literacy programs. This then is the horse.

I understand that many people who can read have much difficulty accessing and understanding health information etc. However I feel that as health promoters the first place to put our energies is in actively supporting the right of every person to learn to read, write and acquire basic numeracy skills. We can then build the cart. To

raise the literacy levels of a nation is to address health inequalitites and raise the health status. I appreciate and enjoy reading your bulletin.


Sharon Vera

Health Promotion Development Advisor

Public Health Unit

Midcentral Health

Box 2056

Palmerston North

New Zealand

tel (06 3509110)

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III. Update on Health Literacy & Health Promotion Resources

Thanks to a message from Doris Gillis, of the Health Literacy in Rural Nova Scotia Literacy Project, a correction has been made to a resource listed in OHPE bulletin #376.2:

She wrote: "I am very pleased to see that you included our research project in your latest newsletter focusing on literacy and health. Please note that the correct link is

and not the CPHA link as was listed.

4) Health Literacy in Rural Nova Scotia Research Project

This is the website for a research project supported by a SSHRC grant to look at the experiences of a rural Nova Scotia population to better understand the links between literacy and health. Among other things, it contains recent reports on the project and links to other relevant resources.

We also noticed that there was no contact information provided for the CD-ROM resource listed at the end of the Resources message. A little searching found the following additional information for the resource:


1) Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion

This CD is related to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Health Literacy report ( produced by the Academy for Educational Development in collaboration with the IOM. It contains four video clips related to the report, the executive summary of the report and several other related IOM reports as well as links to more information on health literacy. The CD-ROM is available in limited quantities from the Office of Reports and Communication (

Another Health-Literacy Resource

Doris Gillis of the Health Literacy in Rural Nova Scotia project has written an excellent overview of the issues of Health Literacy in a feature article for the Canadian Health Network magazine in April 2003. Titled "Beyond words - The health-literacy connection", the article and accompanying references provide insights into the impacts of literacy on health, and offers suggestions for health practitioners as well as family members. See this article at (the shortened URL as the CHN pages are more than 156 characters) :

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IV. Comings & Goings

We have a few Comings and Goings that we missed a couple of weeks ago from the non-profit sector, and sad news of the death of a colleague.

Send us your news or comments! We welcome your feedback on our feature articles, news about old colleagues and new colleagues, and comments on our newsletter and searchable database of health promotion information. Read our complete submission guidelines at and write to

We look forward to hearing from you!

CHN Health Promotion Affiliate Team:

The Health Promotion Affiliate for the Canadian Health Network is pleased to announce they have now fully recruited for the project team with the addition of Maureen Davis, CHN Information Specialist and Krissa Fay, CHN Network Development Coordinator. As the team leader, Wendy Pinder will continue in her role as CHN Health Promotion Affiliate Project Manager with Maureen taking the lead on building a solid and comprehensive collection of health promotion materials to be available through, and Krissa building and supporting partnerships and collaborations with CHN and its affiliates, regional networks, and other health organizations to develop the health promotion capacity of CHN and its website.

Appointments Noted in Community Action News

* Peter C. Goodhand is the new CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society (national), Toronto

* Mimi Lowi-Young is now Executive Director of the Ontario Division of the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB) in Toronto

* Jai Mills is the new Executive Director of the Mental Health Support Network, Hasting-Prince Edward Corporation in Belleville ON

* Glenda Yeates has taken the position of President and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Health Information in Ottawa.


We were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of James (Jim) P. Shea on Monday August 30, 2004. Jim was a wonderful colleague and friend to many of who work in health promotion and community development. He was also a talented photographer and artist. He will be missed by many people who knew and loved him.