Confessions of a Health Literacy Expert

Engaging The Patient

Dr. Hilary Seligman
Dr. Hilary Seligman, UCSF, Health Literacy Expert

Here is a repost of one of our favorite – and most popular – guest blogs from last year’s Engaging the Patient Health Literacy Month series. If you didn’t catch Dr. Seligman’s post from this year’s edition, make sure to read Can You Take the Patient Out of the Health Literacy Problem.

Hilary Seligman, MD– I have a patient who I will call Antonia.

Antonia is in her early 70’s. She came to the United States from Guatemala many years ago, but never learned to speak much English. This doesn’t cause her much of a problem; her community is small and tightly-knit, so she doesn’t have much need to speak English in her home or her neighborhood. And she has a large family—children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren—who live close by.

Antonia is one of my favorite patients. We communicate in different languages, and taking…

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This entry was posted in Health Literacy, Patient Engagement by Heather Swift. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heather Swift

Heather “Swifty” Swift has been Kicking mAss since 1998. At 28 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a recently single mom with two small babies on her hip. After completing treatment with the thought that cancer was in her rear view mirror she worked, locally, as a volunteer for Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance doing community outreach to be certain that no one faced cancer alone. In 2005, she had a secondary diagnosis of breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which only amped up her commitment to creating positive change and to becoming a strong and effective advocate for the young adult cancer community. Now, at age 42, Swifty, her partner, Brian, and her two teenage children work together locally, nationally and internationally to advocate for change. Swifty regularly meets with legislators to work towards tangible change in health care, legislation that addresses the needs of cancer patients, care-partners, and families. She works directly with clinicians, medical/nursing students, youth & college students, cancer support organizations and others to educate them about the special needs of young adults living with a cancer diagnosis. Swifty is passionate about providing support by connecting people living with cancer to resources, to other cancer survivors, and to mobilizing and training individuals and groups to find their inner advocate. Swifty currently works with a number of amazing, hand-selected organizations, which provide her with opportunities to educate, to advocate, and to change the conversation about cancer and to work to bring an end to the disease. A few include: LiveSTRONG, mAss Kickers, Imerman Angels, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Dusty Showers & The Second Basemen, and Stupid Cancer. Swifty is an oncology nursing student in upstate New York, loves time with her family, paddling sports, and peanut butter. She is a Virgo, but not the really anal-retentive type. Her strange fascination with superheroes makes her popular in geek circles, but it can be endearing. Swifty will be riding a llama across Oregon in July of 2012 and really does believe we can achieve and end to cancer and in world peace. Motto: Never Give Up! Favorite quote: “Our own life has to be our message.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

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