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October is Health Literacy Month

Books and Stethoscope with notepad

October 1-31st is Health Literacy Month! Did you know health literacy goes beyond the ability to read (although reading does play a large role)? Health literacy is the ability to get the health information you need, and to understand it. It is also about using the information to make good decisions about your health and medical care.

Here are some great resources that address health literacy!

MedlinePlus Health Literacy page (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthliteracy.html)

  • This health topic page from MedlinePlus, a National Library of Medicine resource, not only gives a clear overview of health literacy but also does a nice job of breaking down some of the more specific issues that individuals face. MedlinePlus offers links to tutorials such as “Understanding Medical Words”,  ”Creating Easy-to-Read Materials”, and deciphering prescription drug labels.

National Network of Libraries of Medicine Health Literacy Page (http://nnlm.gov/outreach/consumer/hlthlit.html)

  • The NN/LM page on health literacy takes the basic information from MedlinePlus one step further. In addition to providing a clear and basic definition, this resource also gives users some statistics regarding the specific populations most affected by low health literacy. Information on research and initiatives being done to improve health literacy is also provided.

NN/LM SCR Health Literacy video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVK9_FkudmQ)

  • Created by the NN/LM SCR, this video aims to give a brief overview of health literacy as well as shed light on resources that may be useful when working with low health literacy individuals or groups.

Health Literacy Out Loud (http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/)

  • From the Health Literacy Out Loud website: “Health Literacy Out Loud (HLOL) podcasts are a lot like radio shows. You can listen in as Helen Osborne interviews those in-the-know about health literacy. You will hear why health literacy matters and learn practical ways to help. Unlike radio shows, you access Health Literacy Out Loud podcasts from the Internet. You simply download the files to a computer, iPod, or other MP3 device and then listen to the podcast whenever, wherever, and however you want.”
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