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The Baltimore Sun

Coaching imparts knowledge that saves resources

The story in the July 21 issue headlined "Healthy Howard wins award for its health coaching" implied that the value of health coaching is questioned by some of our consumers and leaders.

The article failed to mention that the top submissions for this award were selected by 46 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services panel members prior to the public vote.

Health coaching helps improve health literacy, which is defined as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic information and services needed to make appropriate decisions regarding their health," (Institute of Medicine, 2004. Health Literacy: "A Prescription to End Confusion"). Low health literacy is a factor in the lack of health screenings and the overuse of emergency-room care, which escalates health-care costs in the county.

The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy calls for additional research in this area (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2010).

The fact that the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is conducting a formal evaluation study of Healthy Howard health coaching adds to the accountability of this program.

Congratulations to Healthy Howard.

Linda Johnston Lloyd

Hickory Ridge

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