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Faith Nurse Program Health Literacy Seminar

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

FORT ATKINSON – The Fort HealthCare Faith Nurse Program invites pastors, congregational and parish leaders, and healthcare-minded members of faith communities to attend an informational presentation about managing the challenges that exist with low health literacy, and an overview of resources available to help. The seminar will take place on Thursday, April 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Fort Memorial Hospital First Floor Classroom, accessed easiest through the Sherman Avenue entrance in Fort Atkinson.

The featured speaker is Jill Ottow, vice president for Wisconsin Literacy, Inc., and executive director of the Jefferson County Literacy Council (JCLC). The JCLC’s mission is to develop a better community through literacy with a vision to help learners defeat literacy challenges. Ottow states, “When we say the word ‘literacy,’ to most people it just means knowing how to read. For the most part, that is true, but in the world of healthcare, sometimes it feels like a whole other language is being used.”

The presentation will provide an overview of health literacy, resources and tools available to help individuals that need assistance, and discuss the prevalence of literacy challenges in our communities. Ottow continues, “Many people are affected by low health literacy, and that challenge is much greater for our friends and neighbors that do have other literacy challenges. Additionally, low literacy is a barrier to adequate job performance and how engaged and contributing a person is in their community, which has a negative impact on our taxes and the cost of healthcare. Not one of us is unaffected by low literacy.”

The JCLC serves hundreds of adults each year with instructional and family programs. More information about literacy and health literacy can be found at,, or

Lisbeth Cloute, RN, is a patient care coordinator at Fort Memorial Hospital, and a founding member of the Fort HealthCare Faith Nurse Program. Cloute states, “We are so grateful to have such compassionate people in our communities that truly want to reach out and help others. The presentations that we’ve been offering for free every month are just one way to provide outreach and education about the services that are available right here in our hometowns. By sharing the services available through the JCLC with area congregations, we are fulfilling part of our mission a little bit at a time.”

A faith nurse program can improve awareness of available services, increase utilization of existing healthcare delivery systems, and promote health and healing by empowering individuals to incorporate key elements from their belief systems into their healthcare plan. Faith nurse programs can also educate congregations on healthcare issues and offer opportunities for outreach ministry into surrounding communities.

The Fort HealthCare Faith Nurse program aims to assist congregations in improving the health and spiritual well-being of its members by providing a central resource for information, education, networking and support for serving area churches throughout Cambridge, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Whitewater, Palmyra, Milton, Edgerton and beyond.

For more information, please contact either Rosemary Berger at (920) 568-6501 ( or Betty Cloute at (920) 568-5285 (   Please also visit and view “Faith Nursing Program” details under the “Services” tab.