Waiting Room As a Literacy & Learning Environment (WALLE)

The Waiting Room As a Literacy & Learning Environment (WALLE) is a pediatrics initiative of the NewYork-Presbyterian Ambulatory Care Network. WALLE seeks to address the social determinants of health through a unique two-fold approach: improving health literacy by providing targeted health education, and empowering patients to seek out resource referrals to help their social needs. WALLE serves medically underserved patients who are predominantly from Washington Heights, Inwood, and the Bronx, most of whom are native Spanish speakers. Bilingual volunteers are trained in the tenets of health literacy and cultural competency to approach caregivers in a non-didactic manner.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Provide patient-centered approaches that will improve quality of care, patient satisfaction, and health education
  • Support clinical staff by providing supplemental counseling and resources to patients
  • Maximize provider-patient interaction and time spent in the waiting room by increasing patient engagement

WALLE staff aim to achieve these goals by:

  • Connecting patients to free/low cost community resources
  • Providing patients with relevant health education and improving their health literacy
  • Informing medical providers of patients’ needs as identifed by caregivers
  • Supporting medical providers in the provision of health education
  • Helping patients complete medical forms, as necessary

During a medical visit, healthcare providers identify and discuss with caregivers any social need(s) that may be interfering with their patients’ health. They may refer caregivers to the WALLE Help Desk, where they can continue their conversation with a trained volunteer and receive information about available community resources.


Emelin Martinez, Program Manager