Skip to main content
URMC / National Center for Deaf Health Research / Research / Past Research / Adolescent Cardiovascular Health Literacy Project


Adolescent Cardiovascular Health Literacy Project

General Information

The goal of the Adolescent Cardiovascular Health Literacy Project is to assess and compare the cardiovascular health knowledge and health literacy of deaf adolescents with the cardiovascular health knowledge and health literacy of hearing adolescents. Because deaf adolescents are likely to be at risk for not being able to access health information from their environment, this project strives to identify what gaps might exist in deaf adolescents’ cardiovascular health knowledge and literacy skills. This knowledge will help to design and implement future health education interventions to address those gaps so that deaf adolescents will have the necessary cardiovascular health knowledge and literacy skills to maintain healthier lives.

back to top

Study Design, Status of the Project, and Data Collection

A new cardiovascular health knowledge and health literacy survey has been designed and produced to be accessible to a wide range of deaf adolescents with questions and response choices provided in both sign language and English. This computer-based “Health Literacy Survey for Young People” will be administered to deaf adolescents in the following year. Deaf adolescents will be recruited to take this survey at the “Explore Your Future” program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology as well as through the Rochester School for the Deaf and other New York state specialized schools for the deaf. A comparable version of this survey will also be produced and administered to a control group of hearing adolescents through the Rochester City School District. Subsequent data analyses will focus on identifying gaps in deaf adolescents’ health knowledge and health literacy skills and evaluating various social and deafness-related factors that might be contributing to these gaps.

back to top


Smith, S. R., & Samar, V. J. (2016). Dimensions of deaf/hard-of-hearing and hearing adolescents’ health literacy and health knowledge.Journal of Health Communication, 22(sup2), 141-154. Epub 2016 Aug 22.

Smith, S. R., Kushalnagar, P., & Hauser, P. C. (2015).  Deaf adolescents’ learning of cardiovascular health information: sources and access challenges. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 20(4), 408-18. doi: 10.1093/deafed/env021.

Smith S, Chin N. Social determinants of health disparities: deaf communities. (Chapter)Chapter in Public Health - Social and Behavioral Health (Maddock J, ed.). InTech. 2012 Mar. ISBN: 979-953-307-499-2.

back to top


Smith SR, Thew D. Pilot validation of the Short form of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA) in deaf college students who use sign language. Presented at the Health Disparities at the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Disability: A National Conference. Washington, DC; 2013 April 25.

Smith S. Health Knowledge and Literacy of Deaf Adolescents who use Sign Language: Formative Research Findings. [Abstract (page 30)] Presented at the 3rd Annual Health Literacy Research Conference, Chicago, IL; 2011, October 17.

back to top

This project is supported by grant K1-HL101373 from the National Institute of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).