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College of Public Health

Pfizer names ETSU’s College of Public and Allied Health as winner of visiting professorship

JOHNSON CITY – The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has selected the College of Public and Allied Health at East Tennessee State University as the recipient of the prestigious Visiting Professorship in Health Literacy/Clear Health Communication Award.

The funding will allow ETSU to bring Dr. Nathan Stinson, President of the Health Literacy Foundation, to campus during the 2007-08 academic year. Plans are for Dr. Stinson to spend several days on campus interacting with faculty and students and also meeting with many of ETSU’s community partners who are working to address the health challenges facing the region.

Based in Chicago, the Health Literacy Foundation was established in 2003 to increase the availability of reliable and relevant health information for medically vulnerable and underserved populations, including diverse ethnic minorities, the elderly, and children.

“Health literacy is the process by which individuals gather and comprehend new health information and use this knowledge to make appropriate health decisions,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, ETSU Dean of Public and Allied Health. “Leaders now recognize health literacy as an important element that is necessary for improving the health care system of the United States.”

Wykoff says ETSU has been very involved with community-based efforts to understand and improve health literacy in Northeast Tennessee and Southern Appalachia, and that leaders have raised concerns regarding the lack of clarity of health information exchanged between health care providers and patients.

The dean and Dr. Stinson worked together for almost four years when both were Deputy Assistant Secretaries for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Wykoff was the Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and Dr. Stinson served as Director of the Office of Minority Health.

The Pfizer Visiting Professorship in Health Literacy/Clear Health Communication Award is a nationally competitive educational grant that brings prominent medical experts to universities and hospitals. Winners are selected by an independent review panel.

In addition to the ETSU College of Public and Allied Health, other recipients include: Baylor College of Medicine; Columbia University Medical Center; Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health; University of Oklahoma College of Medicine; and Yale University School of Medicine.


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