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Fall 2007 Health Literacy Round-Up (October is Health Literacy Month!)

Editor’s Note: We have extracted and reprinted the following article about health literacy from SEA Currents, the newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region. We acknowledge the author of this article, Beth Wescott, and recognize her for receiving the MLA President’s Award at the 2007 MLA meeting for her exceptional work in health information literacy.

By Beth Wescott, Network Access Coordinator, NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

October Is Health Literacy Month
Health Literacy Month Logo
Health Literacy Month, celebrated each October, is a time when health literacy advocates around the world promote the importance of understandable health information. Started by Helen Osborne in 1999, this month is a time for all health literacy advocates to let the world know why health literacy matters. Below is a range of Health Literacy Month possibilities:

  • Health conferences for providers
  • Health Information Literacy Kit from NN/LM SE/A
    http://nnlm.gov/sea/outreach/healthlitkit/
  • Consumer health programs for patients and families
  • Websites with understandable health information
  • Research about ways to improve health communication
  • Easier-to-read health booklets and other teaching materials
  • Media attention to health literacy on radio, TV, and the press

The Health Literacy Month website has tools to help, including:

  • Events. A searchable database about recent and upcoming Health Literacy Month events. You can read what others are doing as well as post your own.
  • Health Literacy Month resources. These include a free downloadable logo plus other valuable resources to help make your event a great success.
  • Free e-newsletter. What’s New in Health Literacy Consulting is a brief monthly e-message with updates about the latest articles, tips, and resources on the Health Literacy Consulting website. From April through October, What’s New also includes information about Health Literacy Month.

To learn more about Health Literacy Month, visit http://www.healthliteracy.com/hl_month.asp or email Helen Osborne at helen@healthliteracy.com or call Helen at 508-653-1199.

Discussion of the Health Literacy Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), moderated by Cynthia Baur, Ph.D., Director, Division of Health Communication and Marketing, National Center for Health Marketing, CDC, and Mark Kutner, MD., Vice President for Workforce Research and Analysis at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). See http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Health_Literacy or http://www.nifl.gov/lincs/discussions/healthliteracy/07healthNAAL.html. More topics related to adult literacy education (ALE) are available from: http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Main_Page.

The American College of Physicians Foundation will host its Sixth Annual National Health Communication Conference, Advances in Health Literacy, on November 28, 2007 in Washington, DC. This year’s conference will feature panel presentations that focus on successful models that improve health outcomes. For conference information and to register, visit: http://foundation.acponline.org/hl/hcc2007.htm.

Health Resources and Services Administration will be rolling out a unified health communications training course which includes a health literacy module, cultural competency module and limited english proficiency module in October, which will be an online interactive 4-5 hour course. Contact: Linda Johnston Lloyd, HRSA Health Literacy Coordinator phone: 301-443-0831, fax: 301-443-9795 ljohnston-lloyd@hrsa.gov, www.hrsa.gov. For more information on HRSA’s program and the health communications training course, see http://www.hrsa.gov/healthliteracy/.

Editor’s Note: Kelli Ham, NN/LM PSR Consumer Health Coordinator, also suggests the MedlinePlus page http://www.nlm.nih.gov/services/health_literacy.html

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