Shealyn McCoy, MPH, Program Coordinator, Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center delivers “Health Literacy” training.


According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Health Literacy” is defined as:

“The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions.”

Despite the inherent importance of “Health Literacy,” did you know that only 12 percent of the US population is considered to be proficient in “Health Literacy”?

That means that health care providers and community based organizations have an almost 90 percent chance of encountering a patient or client that will require substantial assistance in understanding, implementing and managing their care.

To continue to meet the increasing need for service providers to both understand and overcome today’s “Cultural Competency/Health Literacy” challenges; Millennium Collaborative Care has continued to collaborate with training development and delivery experts  Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC).  Over the last 18 months, approximately  5,500 individuals from  attested partner organizations including  hospitals, primary care providers, community based organizations and the faith-based community have received CCHL training on key topics such as:

  • Cultural Competency and Health Literacy
  • Differentiating Between Cultural Competency and Cultural Sensitivity Principles
  • Faith Based Health Promoter Series
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Cultural Competence Introduction
  • Teach-Back Method Training
  • Health Literacy
  • Improving the Patient Experience Training
  • Improving Care Transition Model

Danise C. Wilson, MPH, Executive Director, Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC) and Kimberly Backey, Millennium Manager of Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives.

“Millennium realizes that CCHL training is necessary and not an option in healthcare,” explained Kimberly Backey, Millennium Manager of Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives.

“Evidence shows that providing training to both clinical and non-clinical staff on Cultural Competency and Health Literacy can reduce medical errors, improve adherence, improve health outcomes, reduce the disparities in the community and most importantly, improve the patient’s experience. When patients feel heard and understood by their healthcare providers, they are more likely to participate in preventive health care and less likely to miss health appointments. This can reduce medical errors and improve health outcomes for patients.

“Clinical and non-clinical staff must be informed about the cultural factors that influence people’s health beliefs and behaviors, and must be provided with the tools they need to serve a multi-cultural patient community,” Kimberly added. “Partnering with ENAHEC allows us to effectively provide the high-quality training across the eight counties of WNY to our partners. The training, ultimately contributes to and improves the quality of care and the health outcomes to our community as a whole.”

Millennium, Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center Collaborate on ‘Health Literacy Toolkit’

In addition to the CCHL training, Millennium and ENAHEC have also collaborated on publishing and distributing a new, easy-to-use “Health Literacy Tool Kit” for the community. (Please see booklet pictured as follows.)

Please click here for a copy of the “Health Literacy Toolkit” 


Health Literacy Importance and Benefits

Health literacy is important because it affects people’s ability to:
• Navigate the healthcare system.
• Share personal information with providers.
• Engage in self-care and chronic disease management.
• Adopt healthy behaviors.
• Act on health-related news and announcements.

The Benefits of Health Literacy include:
• Improved communication.
• Better treatment adherence.
• Improved self-care.
• Improved health status.
• Improved efficiency.
• Cost savings.
• Does not necessarily require additional resources.
• Better health and treatment outcomes.

Danise C. Wilson, MPH, serves as Executive Director of Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC), the lead contractor in Millennium’s CCHL training initiative.

The ENAHEC Team includes: Denise O. Walden, Program Manager; Shealyn McCoy, MPH, Program Coordinator; Brittany Mitchell, MSW, Program Coordinator; Mignon Otis, Office Administrator;Tajé K. Jenkins-Jones, BS, Program Coordinator


For further information on ENAHEC, please contact:

Danise C. Wilson, MPH
Executive Director
Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center
77 Goodell St.
Buffalo, NY 14203
Phone: 716-835-9358


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The Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC) is the parent organization of Millennium Collaborative Care

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