Looking Inside AF4Q – South Central PA’s Leaders

Most of us have heard the expression, “She wears many hats.” This expression definitely fits AF4Q – South Central PA Leader and Executive Director of the York County Literacy Council, Bobbi Cavanaugh.  When Bobbi isn’t assisting her employees with developing new programs, volunteering for the YWCA, participating in the Healthy York County Coalition, or focusing on her role as mom and wife, she’s advocating for improving quality care in our community through AF4Q – South Central PA.

We spoke to Bobbi to learn about her involvement, and gain an understanding of why she is so passionate about improving quality care.

“York County Literacy Council provides literacy services to adults of York County. We define literacy as the ability to read, write, and speak English in everyday life situations. Literacy affects every aspect of a person’s life, including the person’s health, so this was one of the reasons I became involved with AF4Q,” stated Bobbi.

“Not understanding how to read a medication bottle can lead to potential problems for a person. Some individuals may not understand the term poison or emergency, and to me this can be prevented. We have to address the problem – on all fronts – from the patient, to the provider, to the employer,” she said.

Bobbi chairs the Health Literacy Task Force, developed through AF4Q – South Central PA, to help make the community aware of the impact literacy has on health care. Limited health literacy is associated with medication errors, increased health costs, and inadequate knowledge and care for chronic health conditions.

According to Bobbi, there are many benefits AF4Q offers to York and Adams counties. “It brings together medical personnel and non-medical personnel. It gets everyone around one table so we can listen to each other. The non-medical individuals can express their thoughts to the medical-personnel, and vice versa. It allows us to communicate, and sometimes that’s a missing factor when it comes to health care.”

Bobbi’s organization is setting an example of how employers and community organizations can take action. “It’s about immersing those around you in language pertaining to good health. Through the task force we provide patient empowerment trainings, and incorporate health literacy into York County Literacy Council’s curriculum,” she said.

No matter what Bobbi’s involved in, she’s devoting herself one hundred percent. When she’s not at the office or volunteering, she’s either spending some time with the book club, “Bookies” or doing Zumba to get rid of some stress.

She’s been married for 29 years, and she and her husband have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law, a puggle, and a cat.
Our final question to Bobbi was “What’s your favorite TV show?” and with a smile, she responded, “The Daily Show – it’s the only news I want to see before going to bed.”

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