Ms. Mary Kate Martin, an alumna of The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) School of Public Health in San Antonio, and now a research associate at there, was honored at the San Antonio Health Literacy Conference in recently with a Champion for Change award.
[Photo: Ms. Liz Lutz (left), Executive Director of the Health Collaborative and Ms. Kate Martin (right), Health Literacy Hero Award Winner 2016. ]
The award was one of three given on Oct. 6 for outstanding achievement in health literacy. Health literacy is a how well we understand, communicate and use health information to make informed decisions.
Conference organizers — the Health Collaborative and the San Antonio Health Literacy Initiative (SAHLI) — praised Martin for her advocacy, education and outreach efforts on behalf of health literacy. Martin followed through on her commitment to bring a new community organization to each SAHLI monthly meeting, and increased the initiative’s reach to communities across Texas. In November, Martin was named SAHLI committee chair.
“Kate’s selection is indicative of how much she’s done to promote the understanding of how health literacy impacts the San Antonio area,” says Dr. Melissa Valerio, regional dean of UTHealth School of Public Health in San Antonio. “She has played an important role in introducing the concept to others serving the community.”
Ms. Martin earned a Master of Public Health degree from UTHealth School of Public Health in San Antonio in 2008 and joined the campus staff in 2015. She works with community advisory boards in rural Frio County, suburban Comal County and urban Bexar County to address health priorities, in partnership with the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Currently, she’s working on team efforts investigating environmental health literacy, and improving communication between patients and health care providers to increase human papillomavirus (HPV) immunizations. Also, she helps coordinate the school’s annual Public Health Camp, which introduces area junior and senior high school students to public and population health.
Awards were also given to individuals and organizations for innovative programs, research and published materials designed to improve health literacy.
This is the 12th year for the conference. The Health Collaborative is a not-for-profit public charity that works with community coalitions to address the health needs of families in San Antonio’s Bexar County. The San Antonio Health Literacy Initiative is a group of multidisciplinary professionals and community advocates dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of health literacy.