7 EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Public and Patient Education
Support and promotion
of health education is a necessary step to establish links between
basic science and clinical outcomes, and to facilitate the translation
of research findings to address public health concerns such
as those outlined in the Department of Health and Human Services
'Healthy People 2010' initiative. Health education initiatives
support primary prevention and increase recognition of sleep
disorders in the general community, as well as broaden the scope
of secondary and tertiary prevention efforts in patients with
diagnosed sleep disorders. Public education campaigns provide
information to increase knowledge, to enable modification of
health risks, and also to help foster a supportive social environment
for facilitating positive behavioral change. In order to accomplish
these goals, effective teaching tools and strategies need to
be developed, and mechanisms need to be implemented for evaluation
of sleep educational materials for the general public.
It is important to
delineate the educational needs of the target audience, define
and prioritize the educational messages, and identify potential
opportunities and barriers related to behavioral health-related
change. Specific topics that have been identified as key components
in public and patient sleep education programs include those
related to basic regulation of sleep and circadian rhythms,
sleep deprivation (extent, signs, causes, and consequences)
and sleep hygiene. Sleep disorders that are prevalent, serious,
and/or frequently under recognized are another key component,
including SDB, insomnia, narcolepsy, and Restless Legs Syndrome/Periodic
Limb Movement Disorder (RLS/PLMD). Target audiences may be defined
by high risk for sleep disorders and/or sleep deprivation by
virtue of age (elderly, adolescents), demographics (minority,
medically underserved), gender (pregnant and menopausal women,
young adult males), other health risks (obesity), and work schedules
(shift workers, commercial drivers).
directed towards high risk populations (e.g., adolescents) and
toward receptive audiences (e.g., elementary school children)
may be efficient and cost-effective ways to enhance prevention
and early detection of sleep problems. These campaigns also
need to include groups that can facilitate behavioral change
but may hard to reach, including teachers, coaches, school nurses/health
educators, parents, and pediatricians). Specific educational
strategies should include culturally sensitive materials appropriate
for a range of literacy levels and novel methods of translation
and dissemination of information, (e.g., web-based products).
Finally, outcome measures to assess the effectiveness of educational
interventions include changes in knowledge, attitudes, health-related
behaviors, and ultimately in the health of the target audience.
Process measures describing the extent to which information
is disseminated, programs are utilized, and target audiences
are reached, may be surrogate measures for evaluating impact.
Progress In The Last
The National Center
on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), part of the National Heart,
Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), coordinates public and patient
sleep disorders education in collaboration with the Office of
Prevention, Education, and Control (OPEC) to facilitate the
translation and dissemination of research and scientific consensus
to the general public, patients, and health professionals. Recent
sleep education programs include:
- Initiation of a
5 year media-based public awareness campaign on Sleep-Disordered
- Development of
fact sheets for the public and patients on sleep disorders including
SDB, Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Restless Legs Syndrome, and problem
sleepiness. Companion booklets for primary care physicians have
been developed, and published in the American Family Physician
journal. Partnerships with professional organizations such as
the American Academy of Family Practice, the American Academy
of Pediatrics, the American Sleep Apnea Association, the American
Academy of Sleep Medicine, and other national sleep disorder
organizations, have enabled wider dissemination of these materials
than would otherwise have been possible.
- Development of
the NCSDR web site, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sleep, where educational
materials are available and can be viewed and downloaded.
- Development of
a 'Sleep IQ' quiz to raise public awareness of the signs of
sleep deprivation and the symptoms of sleep disorders.
- Development of
drowsy driving educational campaign targeted at high school
students in partnership with the National Highway Traffic and
- Initiation of Latino
sleep education efforts, including translation of selected materials
into Spanish and development of lay health educator programs.
Implementation of school-based interventions to encourage awareness
of sleep as a health issue and to foster healthy sleep habits
in children and adolescents. These include the "Sleep well.
Do well. Star Sleeper" campaign for 7 to 11 year old children,
and a high school supplemental curriculum on the biology of
sleep, "Sleep, Sleep Disorders, and Biological Rhythms."
The school-aged intervention highlights Garfield as the "spokescat"
for healthy sleep and includes classroom activities, national
and local media components, and a website with separate content
for children, teachers, and pediatricians
- Develop effective
and innovative educational approaches based on needs assessments
of high risk and target groups that include both quantitative
and qualitative research methodologies. These approaches should
identify specific educational opportunities and barriers, target
sleep health educational interventions, and improve strategies
for dissemination of educational materials to patients and the
- Evaluate the effectiveness
> public sleep
education initiatives on public health outcomes in high risk,
minority, and medically underserved populations.
sleep education programs on knowledge, attitudes, and sleep
practices of children and adolescents, parents, and teachers.
efforts directed to relevant state regulatory agencies (e.g.,
departments of motor vehicles) and related to adverse consequences
of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders on safety including
drowsy driving, and to identifying education efforts that have
positive impact on public education and safety.