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TCC receives health literacy grant

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 27, 2013) – Tallahassee Community College has received a $5,000 grant from Florida Blue and the Florida Literacy Coalition. The grant will enable TCC to integrate health and nutrition into the English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) courses it offers to adults in Gadsden and Leon counties. The goal is to help these students and their families gain the information and skills they need to navigate the healthcare system and make informed health choices. 

Limited English language and literacy skills can have a significant impact on one’s health. The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy report found that health literacy is especially low among adults who did not complete high school and among Hispanic adults, who have lower health literacy than any other ethnic/racial group. Low health literacy costs between $106 and $236 billion a year in longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, increased doctor visits and increased medication, according to a recent report from the University of Connecticut.

“The support of this initiative reflects Florida Blue’s commitment to helping adult learners, many of whom are new to this country, become informed health advocates for themselves and their families,” said Greg Smith, executive director of Florida Literacy Coalition. “We look forward to working together with TCC to raise awareness about health literacy.”

TCC is incorporating health literacy instruction in its ESOL classes at both the Tallahassee campus and the Panhandle Area Education Consortium (PAEC) Migrant Education Program in Quincy, Florida. Lessons are based on the “Staying Healthy” curriculum provided by the Florida Literacy Coalition and include field trips, guest speakers and hands-on and technology-based activities. Topics include choosing the correct health facility, preventative health, nutrition, finding and communicating with a doctor, how to understand medicines, living with chronic diseases such as diabetes and finding answers to common health problems.

The College piloted the program on the main TCC campus in summer 2013 with nine students. It is now being fully implemented with 16 students at TCC and 26 at PAEC. Harriett Abrams, the project director, anticipates serving another 25 students at each location in spring 2014.

“We believe that the Florida Blue Health Literacy Initiative will provide life-long benefits to adult English learners, their families and our community,” said Kimberly Moore, TCC’s vice president for workforce development. 

TCC was one of 17 recipients selected for the fourth grant year of this statewide initiative. Among the other recipients is Literacy Volunteers of Gadsden County.

For information, contact Kristina Finch at (850) 201-6655 or


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