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Health Literacy Month October 2011

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Health Literacy has been defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (Healthy People 2010). Yet, millions of Americans have difficulty with reading and understanding basic health information, such as interpreting over-the-counter drug labels and reading a chart to determine a child’s immunization schedule.

Founded as a grassroots initiative in 1999 by Helen Osborne, Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals worldwide to promote the importance of understandable health information. Since its beginning, there have been hundreds of awareness-raising events held across the U.S. and around the world.

To spotlight this observance, 2011 marks the 2nd Annual Health Literacy Month Series on the blog Engaging the Patient.  This year, the series features a roster of national experts (including academics, clinicians and noted writers) to blog their own takes on the challenges of health literacy in America. New content will be posted every weekday during October.

More about Health Literacy and Health Literacy month can be found at:

http://www.healthliteracymonth.org/ ,

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthliteracy.html ,

 http://nnlm.gov/outreach/consumer/hlthlit.html, and

http://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/ .

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