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August 16, 2023

Nova’s Podcast Discusses How Literacy Levels Impact Health

Podcast features guest from Jericho Road Community Health Center

Lower levels of literacy, English as a second language, transitioning to the United States from a foreign country – all these factors make it more difficult to understand and use medical benefits. This week’s “Under Coverage” podcast focuses on the unique challenges the U.S. health care system poses for individuals who are new to our country.

The latest episode, “Literacy Levels Impact Health,” features guest Abby Grainge, who works as a family nurse practitioner at Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo, NY and serves as the medical director of Vive, Jericho Road’s shelter for asylum seekers. Jericho Road Community Health Center provides medical care with a particular focus on serving people living in poverty, refugees and immigrants.

Most of Grainge’s patients are refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world, so they do not know English. Tasks such as getting health insurance, routine physicals and immunizations before they can even begin to enroll their children in school can be a huge barrier, according to Grainge.

“There's just so many things to know and to learn to get to the point where you know they feel like they understand even an ounce of what this the health care system is like here,” she said.

Interpreters play a big role in helping these individuals start to navigate health care. Grainge sometimes has patients bring her mail and ask her to read it for them. But while her work has many unique challenges, it also rewards, including building relationships with patients and watching them grow as new Americans. And at the end of the day, she hopes people understand there are organizations like Jericho Road that can help them navigate health needs.

To hear more insights from Grainge, listen to “Literacy Levels Impact Health.”

In 2022, Nova launched “Under the Coverage,” a podcast featuring people who spend their working days focused on health benefits and health care, to share their insider tips and information they wish every health care consumer knew.

How to Listen

New episodes – each 15 minutes or less! – are added regularly and are available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pandora, Amazon Music and TuneIn. You can also listen via digital assistants like Alexa, Google and Cortana. Just ask Alexa to, “play the Under the Coverage podcast on Apple Podcasts” (or wherever you get your podcasts).

Have an idea for a future episode or a question you’d like answered? Find Under the Coverage on Twitter @UndrTheCoverage or email