Date of Conferral





Health Services


Diane Cortner


Health literacy, defined as the ability to understand and use health information to make informed decisions, is critical to maintaining health; however, not all U.S. states mandate strategies to improve adolescents' health literacy. Moreover, many middle school teachers are often unaware of how their roles could improve the health literacy of their students. Multimodal literacies help students to create meaning through viewing print-based resources and using digital technologies. The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' perceptions of the effectiveness of multimodal literacies on adolescents' overall health literacy via the introduction of health literacy programs into the curriculum. This qualitative research data were gathered, analyzed, and categorized using unstructured narrative interviews and the research was guided by the socioecological model. A phenomenological approach was used to conduct in-depth interviews with 6 middle school teachers. These interviews yielded 4 common themes: efficacy of multimodal literacy, health literacy, blending cultures, and responsibility. The results suggested that (a) multimodal literacies with adolescent literacy components can be used in the middle school curriculum, and that (b) these literacies can help inform policy changes. Understanding teachers' perceptions about multimodal literacy could help to improve adolescent health literacy in the middle school system. Positive social change could occur if school systems understand the utility of incorporating adolescent health literacy in the present curriculum. Doing so could help reduce future health care costs and improve the future health of students.