Journal of Community Health

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 431–438 | Cite as

A Multisite Community-Based Health Literacy Intervention for Spanish Speakers

  • F. Soto MasEmail author
  • C. Cordova
  • A. Murrietta
  • H. E. Jacobson
  • F. Ronquillo
  • D. Helitzer
Original Paper


The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy emphasizes the importance of community-based opportunities for education, such as English as a second language (ESL) programs. It recommends collaborations among the adult literacy and ESL communities. However, limited attention has been given to researching the effectiveness of community-based interventions that combine ESL and health literacy. The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility of using different community settings for improving health literacy among adult Spanish speakers through an English language program. The study used a pre-experimental, single arm pretest–posttest design, and implemented the Health Literacy and ESL Curriculum. A collaborative was established between the community and university researchers. Participants were recruited at three distinctive sites. Health literacy was assessed using the Spanish version of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA). Analysis included descriptive and paired-group t test. Forty-nine participants completed the intervention and post-tests (92 % retention rate). Overall—all sites—posttest scores significantly improved for total TOFHLA, raw numeracy, and reading comprehension (p < 0.0001). Similarly, all three sites yielded significantly better mean differences for the total TOFHLA score while numeracy and reading comprehension significantly improved in some sites. Results suggest that community sites are viable venues for delivering health literacy/language instruction to Spanish speaking adults. The study also points to community engagement and ESL programs as two essential components of effective health literacy interventions among Spanish speakers.


Hispanics English language ESL Collaborative 



This project was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health through Grant Number 8UL1TR000041. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. The authors thank the University of New Mexico Office of Community Health for its contribution to the project. Many thanks to Mr. Frank Martinez and the Citizens Information Committee of Martineztown. We also thank the Martineztown House of Neighborly Service and Santa Barbara/Martineztown Neighborhood Association.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Soto Mas
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Cordova
    • 2
  • A. Murrietta
    • 2
  • H. E. Jacobson
    • 3
  • F. Ronquillo
    • 4
  • D. Helitzer
    • 5
  1. 1.Public Health Program, Department of Family and Community Medicine, MSC09 50601 University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Clinical and Translational Science CenterUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Linguistics, MSC 03 21301 University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  4. 4.Office of Community HealthUniversity of New Mexico Health Sciences CenterAlbuquerqueUSA
  5. 5.Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, MSC09 50401 University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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