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WUN Adolescent Health Literacy Workshop- November 2013

About the WUN Public Health Global Challenge Education Group


The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Public Health Global Challenge (PHGC) Education Group was formed during the 2013 PHGC Conference. The purpose of this group is to facilitate research and collaboration across the WUN to identify, implement and measure best practice in regard to “The role of schools as a setting for reducing risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs)”. The approach will address the interplay between the school environment and the individual student in the development of health literacy to promote current and future health-enhancing behaviours, health and well-being. A key issue for this group is the lack of an agreed definition of adolescent health literacy.


About the Workshop


The workshop is designed to enable participants from the compulsory education, health and science sectors to develop a shared understanding of health literacy, scientific literacy, and key competencies for life, and define strategies for assessment of competencies that support the development of health-promoting behaviours which in turn support NCD risk reduction.


Saturday November 30 - Sunday December 1, 2013


The workshop will be available to participants in person or via a video-conference link.

In person: The Liggins Institute, University of Auckland

Via video-conference: Please register to participate via VC to receive connection details. The connection simply requires a computer with an internet connection. 


Members of the compulsory education, health and science sectors involved or interested in school-based interventions addressing issues of health and/or scientific literacy development in relation to a life-course approach to NCD risk reduction associated with an understanding of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD).


There is an increasing interest in the potential for learning programmes within the compulsory education sector to contribute to improved health and wellbeing. In particular it is recognised that adolescence offers a physical, social and emotional transitional point where current and later life health can be positively influenced. This requires collaboration between education, science, and health communities within the context of the society in which the proposed intervention action is set. Such intervention programmes should be co-constructed by collaboration partners, ensuring that they support strategic goals relevant to the education setting, as well as those of the health sector. For this to be effective, shared understanding of educational, science and health priorities, context, purpose and setting is required. Definition and assessment of science and health literacies, and the competencies (subject specific and generic) associated with the ability of adolescents to apply these literacies are key issues that could benefit from discussion between collaborating sectors. While there is a significant body of literature relating to the development of key competencies and scientific literacy in adolescence, this is lacking for health literacy and for the complex interaction of competencies to support long-term wellbeing for the individual as well as for society at large.

Anticipated workshop outcomes 

  • A definition of health literacy development suitable for application in the compulsory education sector across a range of social, cultural and geographic settings.
  • Development of principles that can be applied to enable assessment of health literacy capability across a range of social, cultural and geographic settings.[Peer review of (a) and (b) by February 2014]
  • A paper outlining the role of measurement of science and health literacy capability development in determining the impact of school-based health interventions intended to support a life-course approach to NCD risk reduction. [April-May 2014]

Registration and Contact Information


We invite you to register here for the workshop by 26 November.

Participation via videoconference will be available throughout the event.

Event contact

Usha Bhatia ( The University of Auckland



Workshop Programme

Saturday 30 November: Defining Health Literacy Capabilities for Adolescents
8:00am Coffee and Registration
8:30am Introduction:
Workshop background and purpose; Working in partnership
Jacquie Bay

Session 1: Development of health literacy through a socio-ecological approach by use of structural, organisational and individual components: Review of key issues of relevance from education, health and science 

Chair: Professor Michael Heymann
Rapporteur: Jackie Gunn, Gravida - National Centre for Growth and Development

NCD Risk Reduction: The Potential of Adolescent Intervention
Health Literacy
Scientific Literacy
Key Life Competencies: International Perspectives
Professor Sir Peter Gluckman
Dr Katie Fitzpatrick
Jacquie Bay
Dr Rose Hipkins
11:00am Break  

Session 2:Defining Health Literacy for Adolescents

Chair: Prof. Oddrun Samdal, Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen
Rapporteur: Bill MacIntyre, Liggins Institute
Discussion Group Leads: Ally Bull; Louise Rowling, Rose Hipkins


Break Out Session – Discussion Questions (40 minutes) 

  1. What form could a definition of health literacy appropriate for use in the compulsory education sector take?
  2. Should this definition link to accepted definitions of scientific literacy? If so, how?
  3. What are the developmental markers relating to Health Literacy Capability development during schooling?

Group Responses and Discussion (40 minutes)

1:00pm  Lunch break  

Session 3: Perspectives on Assessment

Chair: Mrs Soana Pamaka, Principal, Tamaki College, Auckland
Rapporteur: Mrs ‘Emeli Pouvalu, Director of Education, Kingdom of Tonga

This session is intended to stimulate discussion around principles of assessment by presenting examples of assessment strategies and challenges from active programmes across a range of educative settings.  Each presentation is 7 minutes

Case 1: Assessing Key Competencies
Case 2: Health Promoting Schools: Assessing correlates of health literacy
Case 3: Context embedded inquiry: Evidence of health literacy
Case 4: Progressive Assessment Testing: Ensuring cultural relevance
Case 5: Smoke Free Homes Bangladesh: Evidence of impact in the family
Case 6: NGO programmes in schools: The evaluation challenge
Discussion (30 minutes)

Ally Bull
Oddrun Samdal
Jacquie Bay,
Ina Hermann
Kamran Siddiqi (via video)
Darryl Bishop

3:30pm  Summaries from rapporteurs  
6:30pm Workshop Dinner   
Sunday 1 December The Challenge of Assessment of Complex Competencies  
12:30pm Lunch  
1:00pm Session 4: More complex than measuring change in BMI: The value of evidence for the education & health sectors

Chair: Hon. Ass. Prof. Louise Rowling, University of Sydney
Rapporteur: Mrs Ina Hermann, Director of Learning and Teaching, Cook Islands Ministry of Education

Panel Discussion - Representatives from Science, Health, Education and Government

  • Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, NZ
  • Mrs ‘Emeli Pouvalu, Director of Education, Tonga
  • Mrs Deidre Shea, Principal, Onehunga High School, Auckland
  • Mrs Nicky Taggart, School Nurse, Onehunga High School, Auckland
  • Dr Rose Hipkins, Chief Researcher, New Zealand Council for Education Research
  • Professor Oddrun Samdal, Professor of Health Promotion/Health Psychology, University of Bergen - Vice Rector of Education
2:30pm Break  

Session 5: Defining Principles of Assessment

Chair: Ally Bull, New Zealand Council for Education Research
Rapporteur: Ass. Prof. Robyn Dixon, School of Nursing, University of Auckland
Discussion Group Leads: Bill MacIntyre, Rose Hipkins, Ina Hermann

Break Out Session – Discussion Questions 45 minutes

  1. What types of strategies offer the potential to demonstrate evidence of application of health literacy competencies at different levels and at different ages during adolescent development?
  2. How can these strategies/tools be used by teachers to establish baseline data prior to teaching, and measure the impact of learning experiences, thereby providing a tool to inform the on-going development of teaching?
  3. How can the design of these tools allow for the essential process of social and cultural adaptation to ensure appropriate application

Group Responses and Discussion 45 minutes


 Overview: Review from rapporteurs | Next steps

Jacquie Bay and Oddrun Samdal