Our Story: Advancing Health Equity Through Health Literacy for All Families

Aug 09, 2021 by Donica' Beckett, founder

Hi, I'm Donica', health communications expert, family health literacy advocate and founder of Complete Package Publishing and Communications (CPPC), where we advance health equity through family health literacy. I'm an 18-year+ public health veteran, and graduate of one of the nation's top health promotion departments, at the University of Houston. I have worked in various roles within academia, non-profits, corporate and government across multiple cities. As an epidemiologist, I helped ease the burden of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, serving over 1,700 families across three different counties. I am also an award-winning researcher, having been recognized by the public health authority, the American Public Health Association (APHA), as well as the National Conference on Health Disparities. In my vast experience, I witnessed how differing health literacy and detached health communication can negatively impact family health. In addition to my work at CPPC, I expand my expertise to local and national organizations.

So what is health literacy? Health literacy is defined as "the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others" within the US healthcare system (Healthy People 2030).

Did you know that approximately 80 million Americans have differing health literacy? Here are more health literacy facts: overall, low health literacy costs the United States $236 billion a year. Furthermore, the average person reads at an 8th grade level; and for Black and Latino populations, 50% read at or below a 5th grade level.

Research tells us that lower parental literacy is related to worse health outcomes, particularly for young children. We need more, and earlier investments in health literacy, especially while youth are developing health behaviors. Additionally, health education, including health literacy building skills is also diminishing in schools; and no comprehensive intervention exists to address health literacy for the entire family unit. This, among other factors, can greatly improve health equity in the United States.

This is where we come in. Research also shows us that health equity improves with effectively written materials, especially when people can "see themselves" in them. Therefore, we publish research-based children's books for all families to improve health literacy and ultimately health legacies. In doing so, we advance health equity through family health literacy.

Our public health and educational expertise guides us in providing engaging books that promote: 1) self-esteem; 2) social-emotional skills; and 3) STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) topics.

The idea for our first published picture book, Brave Like Me! Courageous Lessons About the COVID-19 Coronavirus and Healthy Coping for Children and Families Anytime came at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to help combat the widespread, inaccurate and misleading information about coronaviruses and how they are spread, as well as address emotional challenges we were seeing on social media and hearing from families.

Considering my scientific background and knowledge, and the ongoing community need, I knew that I couldn't stop with one book. Therefore, Complete Package Publishing and Communications, LLC was established in September 2020 to utilize my communications skill set, and public health expertise to increase health literacy, and deliver necessary information in a way that reaches and represents all families.
Using a social justice lens, our books and company:

►Increases access to family health literature
  • Meet various adaptive needs: multiple languages, large print, braille and dyslexia
  • Rooted in evidence-aligned educational and health promotion theory and practice
  • Partner with libraries, schools, corporate and community organizations

►Narrows gaps in health communication and literacy
  • Embrace family members of all ages
  • Written at appropriate reading levels
  • Partner with health care leaders and institutions 

►Promotes diversity and inclusion in media and beyond
  • Incorporate cultural relevance, diversity and inclusion
  • Boost confidence among all children and families
  • Partner with media outlets and influencers 

We stand by our company core values {The Complete Package 7™}:

  • Joy
  • Community
  • Respect for Persons
  • Justice & Equity
  • Authenticity
  • Wellness
  • Legacy

Our Vision: Empowering diverse communities to collectively cultivate healthier and more equitable legacies for all families is highly important to us. We envision a nation and world where health equity is achieved through innovative and inclusive partnerships, literary works and effective communication strategy.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Join our mailing list (add your email address, first name and last name to the subscription box located on the left sidebar). Our mailing list receives announcements about goodies first!
  • Follow us on Facebook and engage with our Family Health is Lit™ family health literacy campaign.
  • Stay tuned in to our company website to read our blog, and purchase new books as they are published.  #AddUsToYourFavorites :)
  • Purchase our books and Family Health is Lit™ merchandise (online store coming soon). *Ultimately, a percentage of proceeds will support the forthcoming Donica Gives Back (DGB) family wellness foundation.
  • Tell your friends, family and other communities about us. We want to spread as many words about building healthier legacies as possible.

Additionally, in the near future, we will offer consultation and training in the areas of health communication and advocacy for professionals and youth.

Tackling health equity through family health literacy is a team sport. Let's level this field together!

Until next time, 

To learn a little more about me click here.