The Gloucester County Institute of Technology (GCIT) and Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) partnered with Nemours Children’s Health System on Oct. 3 to promote health care literacy among high school and college students. Pictured (sitting, left to right) GCIT Superintendent of Schools Michael Dicken, RCGC President Frederick Keating and Nemours Children’s Health System Operational Vice President Pauline Corso; (standing) Gloucester County Freeholders Heather Simmons and Frank DiMarco, GCIT and RCGC students.
Navigating the health care system can at times be confusing for even the savviest adults. For high school- and college-age students, it can be mindboggling.
A new partnership between Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC), the Gloucester County Institute of Technology (GCIT) and the Nemours Children's Health System addresses the growing need to educate and empower young adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the health care system and prepare them to become their own health care advocates. RCGC is the first college in the nation to participate in Nemours' "Navigating the Health Care System," a curriculum designed to promote health literacy as students transition into adulthood. GCIT will be the first high school in New Jersey. Implementation of the curriculum for both schools begins fall 2018 through winter 2019.
"Understanding how the health care system operates and being prepared to handle personal medical matters is an important life skill for all adults. It has become a growing concern that college students are not as informed as they should be when it comes to navigating their own health care needs," stated College President Frederick Keating. "RCGC is proud to lead this endeavor as the first college in the nation to partner with the Nemours Children's Health System to address health illiteracy and educate students so that they become their own health care advocates."
Created by Nemours Children's Health System, the four-module health unit provides guidance on finding appropriate care, understanding medical history, insurance and privacy, and scheduling office visits. As high school and college students mature and begin to manage their own health care, it is important that they understand basic health information and the services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Research conducted by the National Health Education Standards indicates a strong relationship between school health education and health literacy, with literature from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting a strong link between academic achievement and students' health and wellbeing.
"This partnership in New Jersey is a perfect example of Nemours' commitment to bring our health care expertise far beyond the walls of our care locations," said Pauline Corso, chief operating officer of the Nemours physicians network in the Delaware Valley and operational vice president with Nemours Children's Health System. "Nemours is working to bring our health literacy program to people across the country and I am elated that some of our early progress is in a region we are already proud to serve through our locations in Deptford and Cherry Hill."
With many of today's parents taking care of their children's basic medical duties like scheduling doctor visits, young adults are unfamiliar with how to successfully navigate the complex health care system. Patient confidentiality and HIPPA Laws also become an issue as teens reach the age of 18 and become responsible for taking care of their own health care. It has become evident that many high school and college students are not informed or prepared to take on the task. Nemours' new health care curriculum helps to prepare them to navigate the transition into adulthood and manage important life skills.
"GCIT is proud to be the first high school in New Jersey affiliated with the partnership between RCGC and Nemours Children's Health System," said Superintendent Michael Dicken. "We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with these outstanding institutions to empower youth to accurately navigate the health care system. With the health-care landscape in this country constantly changing, this initiative is a vital resource for both current and future GCIT students."
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians recognize that all adolescents require guidance, education and planning to manage their own health care as they become adults. As health literacy increases, people are more likely to seek preventive services and enter the health system healthier, have lower rates of preventable hospital and emergency department visits and are less likely to report their health as poor.
"The ability to navigate the health care system can be daunting to adults, and the fact that this new program is going to teach our young adults this life skill is fantastic," said Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger. "The health literacy curriculum that will be offered will provide our high school and college level students the chance to make their transition to adulthood much smoother by teaching them how to be advocates for their own health. We are grateful to Nemours Children's Health System for providing the curriculum and training to RCGC and GCIT at no expense to our taxpayers."