Health Literacy for Teachers in Training

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Health Literacy for Teachers in Training: Developing Health Literacy in a National Program through Dialogue Education

Tehran, IranTehran, Iran
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Teacher Education programs in Iran didn't consider future teachers as health promoters in their classrooms and schools. In order to change that,we have created a national program in 91 Teacher Education colleges using Dialogue

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we would live in a world in which every teacher was health literate and aimed to develop health literate students?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Noncommunicable diseases(NCDs)like heart disease,cancer,diabetes, etc. are responsible for more than 75% of deaths worldwide.They are largely preventable via behavior change and healthy lifestyle, which may be best established during school years.Since little health education has been provided in Teacher Training to promote teachers’ health literacy and enable them to educate healthy students,the present national program was set in place in 2015.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Schools are major settings for health promotion and teachers are frontline professionals who have a significant impact on cultivating healthy habits in students.To achieve this , all 91 teacher education colleges of Iran are working now to make70,000pre-service teachers health literate through this DE program. It means making them competent in accessing, understanding, evaluating, applying and communicating health information and services to address social determinants of health for themselves and student. As formal program is broad we use informal and nonformal learning opportunities. By using DE we held an on-line health competition open to all colleges and identified health representatives from each college and have trained them.


Not Yet.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

These health representatives across the country have now (November 2015) been working for three months with their target groups: their peers and community. Last week, one of the representatives said “By establishing this center,I really enjoy being at the college. My Learning about health issues is changing both my own life and the life of my friends and soon, my future students. By my efforts in the school setting where I am doing practice teaching, now a healthy breakfast time is happening daily.”. Another teacher-in–training wrote to me “I am surprised at the abundant resources in my city which are ready to support health in future teachers. The authorities are learning that a healthy country is impossible without healthy teachers."

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

These health representatives have established a center for health education in their 91 Teacher Education colleges which is called Health Literacy Centers, recruited volunteers from their colleagues, teacher candidates, assessed their felt and expressed needs for health literacy, discovered their learning needs identified many resources that would facilitate their educational endeavor toward promoting the health literacy. We teach our health representatives how to use the identified learning needs and resources as well as the participation of their colleges to develop appropriate programs in their colleges based on Dialogue Education. This experience has showed me again that that DE is an effective and reliable means to develop the potential of teachers – in –training.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The project will result in health literate teachers who are sharing their concerns for health,vitality and wellness in their own lives with their peers and their students.They passionately advocate policies in health education and school safety,integrate health concepts and basic health literacy skills into other subjects,ensure that health resources are available and will establish over time a healthy school climate.These teachers train health literate men and women who have adopted a healthy lifestyle and carefully avoid common risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use & unhealthy eating.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

In addition to the money that the government has allocated to the Health Literacy Centers,we are establishing partnership with some food plants to advertise their healthy products on our educational materials.These companies will sponsor the program.We also receive donations from different sectors that deal with health.We aim to sell our health education materials to other organizations and in time, to share our impact results with other nations.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

CHENTA India and Primarily healthcare centers are doing similar work using traditional education models. The method that we use is Dialogue Education. That involves a learning needs and resources assessments before starting teaching. The produced materials for teaching will be informed by this assessment. The educational sessions use small groups and learning tasks (Vella, 2008). The teaching process starts with focusing on each group’s existing knowledge , respecting the learners’ context.

Founding Story

By applying Dialogue Education (DE) in field and general university teaching in Uganda and Iran, I recognized its effectiveness as a new way of promoting health literacy. So I started a PhD program in Curriculum Studies at TMU to explore the theory and practice of Dialogue Education in detail. There I found that health education was not included in teacher education programs. My research showed that many pre-service teachers had not developed health literacy.


Six people are included in our team: a physician, an experienced elementary school teacher, a curriculum designer specialist, an instructional technologist, a health educator, and a teacher educator. All of these individuals have more than 10 years experience in health care or education.
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

Boehringer Ingelheim has “a long empowering people to manage their health”.We both have the same goal.By achieving this goal the additional health care expenditures which is the result of limited health literacy and estimated in a range of $143–7,798 per person/year would be dramatically reduced.With the help of BI we can use DE more effectively to educate more health literate teachers whose role as social change agents is proven.Instead,as we have strong partnership with important sectors in Iran we can foster the economic and cultural bond between Germany and Iran and provide opportunities for BI to develop its market in Iran and neighbor countries.We can perform various surveys across Iran to evaluate BI’s market acceptance.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Distribution Channels, Research and Development, Relationships/New Contacts, Marketing/Communications Support, Technology Expertise, Public Policy Knowledge, Access to Capital, Other.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

By the help of BI we can launch awareness campaigns across the globe to raise awareness on the huge contribution health literate teachers can make to society.We also can set up an online health education portal in English and Persian for teacher candidates, applicable in Iran and Afghanistan.Our health representatives will befit from different workshops held by BI with the aim of capacity building.The mentorship of BI’s educators and researchers & their assistance to us to have support from GLP will lead us to develop more health educational materials tailored to teacher colleges based on DE.

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context, Insights into marketing, Insights into distribution, Insights into behavior change.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Improving the affordability of healthcare (e.g., microinsurance, reducing the economic cost of care), Increasing physical access to healthcare to people with restricted mobility or restricted access (senior people, people with disability, remote or difficult areas, etc.), Holistic solutions that work across the entire care continuum (including education, prevention, detection, treatment, management, follow-up), Packaging of health products and services to address needs currently unmet.

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together
Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea
How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?
Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?
What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?
Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.
What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?
Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?
How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?