Planned Parenthood awarded $50,000 grant

PLATTSBURGH - Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York Inc. was recently awarded the 2010 Robyn Menin Grant for Promoting Ingenuity in Risk and Quality Management from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The $50,000 grant is given annually to an affiliate for "innovative work in risk and quality management."

Martha E. Stahl, vice president of external affairs for PPNCNY, said the grant will be used to create "an interactive health literacy software tool that will assess the accessibility of the organization's written materials to patients with limited literacy."

"The whole purpose of it is to make sure that our written materials are accessible and are written at a reading level that's appropriate for our general population," said Stahl. "It's as simple as instead of using a medical term for a growth, for example, calling it a 'bump' or something like that. It will be a more comprehensive format."

Over the past few years, PPNCNY has been working with a statewide organization called Family Planning to assess how PPNCNY has been doing in terms of cultural competency, said Stahl. With other Planned Parenthood affiliates, issues such as bilingual signage or reading materials are more prevalent issues. However, in the North Country, patient reading comprehension was found to be among chief concerns.

"We self-identified that as an area where we needed to do some work," said Stahl.

Amy Valentine, coordinator of quality assurance and risk management for PPNCNY, said the organization will work locally with a software designer to create the program, which will be utilized in Microsoft Word much like a spell check or grammar check program. The software will search for and replace difficult terms - both health-related and otherwise - as well as calculate readability and create detailed reports. In the end, PPNCNY will own the rights to the program and create a style guide so it will be able to share both across the Planned Parenthood federation.

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