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Table 3 Summary of qualitative data from student journals

From: Out of the classroom and into the community: medical students consolidate learning about health literacy through collaboration with Head Start

Themes Sample quotations
Perceptions of families’ health literacy/numeracy “I think some of the parents had trouble understanding the nutrition label exercise and I repeated myself in different ways slowly, but you can’t force it. I think most people understood the words I was using, but did not know how to go about finding the answer.”
“I think some of the math, like understanding the percentages, was hard for the parents. The concept of a portion being part of a whole was difficult.”
Surprising experiences
 • Parents’ existing knowledge
 • Parents’ motivation
 • Parents’ health-promoting behaviors
“I…was surprised to see how much they knew.”
“Many of the parents were much more willing to work on their goals than I had previously expected.”
“I was pleasantly surprised how many parents were ahead in planning and goal making. All of the parents I met with already had plans for eating healthy and staying active that they had already begun to implement.”
Personal interactions
 • Confidence
 • Empathy
 • Concerns about families feeling judged
“I felt confident speaking with families, mainly because they were willing to speak with me and it was more a conversation rather than a lecture or a teaching.”
“…even though these were low-income individuals, they had the same priorities [for their families] seen in higher-income class individuals.”
“I’m concerned that the mothers felt I was accusing them of being overweight, rather than sharing the results of the BMI with them.”