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Fronteras: Health Confianza program unites local organizations to improve health literacy in San Antonio

Making informed health care decisions for yourself or your loved ones often relies on the ability to access and understand the health information you have been given.

Whether its confusion over instructions on a new medication or having to maneuver through insurance paperwork, the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system have caused everyone tostruggle with health literacy at some point.

Improving health literacy can come down to two factors: communication and trust.

UT Health San Antonio and the University of Texas at San Antonio joined efforts for the Health Confianzaproject — which translates to health “trust.” It’s a community wide effort to improve health literacy across 22 target zip codes inSan Antonio.

Melanie Stone, assistant director for community service learning at the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio, said the program aims to rebuild the broken relationship many people — especially those in underserved communities — have with the healthcare system.

“Information and digital health literacy has really come to the forefront because the pandemic has highlighted that people don't always trust the health care system,” she said.

The program welcomed 10 local organizations to its Health Literacy Pledge Program, including Empower House, SAMMinistries, YWCA San Antonio and others.

Partners will adopt health literacy policies and practices that lead to better outcomes for residents.

Angelita Negrón is the community health program manager for Empower House, a nonprofit that aims to improve reproductive health for people of color in San Antonio's East Side.

“We are the bridge between health services and our community members,” she said. “For us it is very important to go over all of our processes and provide the best information for our families … so they can decide what they want to do in order to get the services they need.”

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1