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About Valerie A. Ubbes, PhD, MCHES

Email: ubbesva@miamioh.edu

Hello, I am Dr. Valerie Ubbes, and I am the project director and designer of the Digital Literacy Partnership which houses three databases and one oral health literacy curriculum. I am a Master Certified Health Education Specialist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. My scholarship advances health literacy by giving people access to valid and reliable health information so they will be able to read, write, and talk about their health as they learn to practice their daily health habits and routines.

After 15 years of developing the Children's Picture Book Database at Miami University as a tool for designing literature-based thematic units for all academic subjects, I adopted a Web II approach to my teaching and scholarship. In my classes with education and health students, I began to craft templates for Electronic Texts for Health Literacy© that more specifically promoted health-related skills and behaviors through interwoven visual and textual themes. Social cognitive theory (Bandura,1983) informed my design of the Electronic Texts for Health Literacy© because authentic environments and social interactions play significant roles in whether individuals have the personal knowledge, motivation, and beliefs to be healthy. Later, I integrated salient beliefs into the message design so that learners would practice and understand how health outcome beliefs, normative beliefs, and efficacy beliefs play an integral role in thinking patterns that lead to the intentional practice of a healthy behavior.

Miami University students engage in academic service learning when they use my design templates to craft and share their own Electronic Texts for Health Literacy© and Public Service Announcements which are housed in two new websites accessed by clicking "Other Databases" above. My undergraduate students are encouraged to "serve as they learn" the complexities of health communication and health literacy by working through an extensive editorial process with me - similar to a peer-review process that teacher scholars experience when writing for publication or tailoring educational messages to a specific audience or learner. Ultimately, through my constructivist inquiry-based approach (Vygotsky, 1978; Ubbes et al, 1999; Ubbes, 2008), future education and health professionals gain an appreciation for how written, oral, and body language inform health literacy, the number one predictor of our quality of life and health status (Ubbes, 2014).

I hope you enjoy and promote the print materials on the Children's Picture Book Database and the electronic materials on the eBook for Oral Health Literacy, the Health Literacy Database and the Health Advocacy Database - all at Miami University (Oxford, OH). Please let me know how my design templates and student co-productions have enhanced your own work, use, and enjoyment of the materials from the Digital Literacy Partnership (DLP), which promotes the contributions of literacy, health, and technology on learning.


Ubbes, V.A., Black, J.M., & Ausherman, J.A. (1999). Constructing knowledge for understanding in health education: The role of critical and creative thinking skills within constructivism theory. Journal of Health Education, 30(1), 32-38.

Ubbes, V.A. (2008). Educating for health: An inquiry-based approach to preK-8 pedagogy. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Ubbes, V.A. (2014 to present). Children's Picture Book Database at Miami University. Accessed at http://dlp.lib.miamioh.edu/picturebook

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society (M. Cole, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
In partnership with the Center for Digital Scholarship at Miami University Libraries
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